Premier Anna Bligh has announced that the new Queensland Mental Health Commission will be the most powerful agency of its type in Australia following receipt of the First Report of the Queensland Mental Health Commission Advisory Committee.

“This report sets out a blueprint to create a stronger and more responsive mental health system in Queensland and that is what we intend to do,” the Premier said.

“It contains 14 key recommendations to ensure the new Queensland Mental Health Commission can serve as a strong champion for people with mental illness.

The Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS), Monash University,  has signed a collaborative agreement with European pharmaceutical company, Les Laboratoires Servier, covering drug discovery and research on G Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs), the largest drug target family in the human genome.

The Victorian Minister for Health David Davis has released the Victorian Population Health Survey 2009 which provides a snapshot, based on a detailed survey of around 7,500 adults, of the general health and physical fitness of Victorians.             

The Menzies Research Institute Tasmania is looking for a new Director, following the resignation of Professor Simon Foote who has taken up his new position as Dean of the Australian School of Advanced Medicine at Macquarie University, Sydney.

The Queensland Government has committed to establishing a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit in Townsville, expected to commence operation in July.


Premier Anna Bligh said recurrent funding for the unit was estimated to be $8.75 million over the next two years.


The unit will initially operate as an integrated unit within the adult ICU before building up to a stand-alone unit. Two paediatric beds will be established in 2012-13, an additional bed in 2013-14, with more beds to follow as services ramp up in response to demand and as recruitment and training continue.


Two independent paediatric intensive care specialists currently reviewing paediatric demand at Townsville Hospital, as well as a doctor and a nurse from the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, will head a steering committee to oversee implementation of the new service.


About 30 new staff will be hired including paediatric intensive specialists, new nurses and other staff.

The Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy has streamlined the planning process for a new $447 million teaching and research hospital adjacent to Deakin University, located in the major growth corridor of Waurn Ponds.

Scientists at The Royal Melbourne Hospital and the University of Melbourne have discovered the cells that cause a common type of childhood leukaemia – T cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (T-ALL). Targeting of these cells may lead to improved treatments for this disease and help prevent relapse.

The ACT Government has reallocated half a billion dollars earmarked for the purchase of the Civic Government office block for investment in public health infrastructure in  Canberra, including building a new sub-acute hospital in northern Canberra.

The Queensland Government is recruiting Chief Executive Officers to head up its 17 local health networks which will commence on 1 July 2012.  Each local network will have a CEO who reports to a local Governing Council.  

An international agreement to develop and commercialise the world’s first vaccine to prevent and treat severe gum disease periodontitis, has been announced.

NSW Minister for Mental Health Kevin Hump has announced that the NSW Mental Health Commission, to be established by July this year, will work with the National Mental Health Commission to drive mental health reform in the State .


Speaking at the first meeting of the National Mental Health Commission in Sydney, Mr Humphries said, once established, the NSW Mental Health Commission will collaborate with the National Commission to implement a more accountable and efficient mental health system in NSW.


“The NSW Government has significantly advanced its key election commitment to establish a Mental Health Commission, with the Mental Health Commission Bill 2011 being introduced into Parliament in November last year,” Mr Humphries said.


“I expect the work of the NSW Commission will complement and enhance the work of the National Commission, with the Commissions working collaboratively together to ensure their efforts to improve mental health outcomes are coordinated.


“In particular, there is now an opportunity for both Commissions to develop a single plan for the future of mental health delivery in NSW that the State and Federal Governments can invest in.


"The establishment of the NSW Mental Health Commission will be one of the most important mental health reforms in the State’s history.


“We are on track to establish a best practice Mental Health Commission by July 2012 that reflects the views of Australian and international experts, and is responsive and focused on delivering better outcomes for the people of NSW.”


Mr Humphries congratulated Federal Minister for Mental Health, Mark Butler, and National Mental Health Commission Chair, Allan Fels, for their work in establishing the independent National Commission.


“It is extremely encouraging to see that at both a State and a Federal level, mental health is finally coming close to getting the attention it deserves,” Mr Humphries said.


“This independent body will play a crucial role in giving mental health national prominence while monitoring and reporting on how the mental health system is performing and what can be done to improve outcomes for people affected by mental illness.”


The Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA), a national coalition of health care groups, has released findings that disproves any correlation between wind power and decreased human health.

Scientists from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) in Melbourne, in collaboration with local and international scientists, have found a potential ‘achilles heel’ for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) which could lead to a possible treatment.

The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, has launched Australia’s first National Mental Health Commission.

The Commission is led by the Chair, Professor Allan Fels and eight Commissioners, and will formally meet for the first time on Tuesday January 24 to begin work on Australia’s first National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

The eight Commissioners are:

ACT Chief Minister and Minister for Health, Katy Gallagher, has released a report on possible sites for a new north Canberra sub-acute hospital, which identifies the University of Canberra as the preferred site.

The quarterly overview of Tasmania’s public hospital performance, the Your Health and Human Services Progress Chart, has shown that all four of the State’s hospitals had median wait times of less than the benchmark 48 days.

Recruitment specialist Hays has released its January to March quarterly report into labour and skills demand, examining the ‘current hotspots of recruitment activity and trends’.

The final report on Queensland’s health system, which sets out the process for the abolition of Queensland Health and its replacement by a number of smaller agencies, has been released.

Charles Sturt University (CSU) has called for a fundamental overhaul of strategies to address the chronic shortage of doctors in rural and remote Australia, questioning whether increasing incentive payments or forcing doctors to work in rural areas is the long-term answer.

A new $20.6 million telehealth program utilising the National Broadband Network (NBN) will provide in-home telehealth services to older Australians, people living with cancer and those requiring palliative care.

The Victorian Minister for Health, David Davis, has invited applications for sessional appointment to the Victorian Health Services Review Council for terms of up to three years.

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