14 February 2011
Welcome to this year's first edition of Health Alert. The Health Alert is transmitted on Monday of each week (unless there is a public holiday on Monday).
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The DLA Phillips Fox Health Team
Australian Institute of Health & Welfare
Substance use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people - The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the prevalence of substance use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as well as the use of services ... Published 8 February 2011.
Review of the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set - The purpose of this Review of the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set (AODTS-NMDS) was to assess the collection as an information source for alcohol and ... Published 7 February 2011.
Pathways in Aged Care: program use after assessment - Analysis of care pathways provides information that is useful to both policy planners and service providers alike. The Pathways in Aged Care (PIAC) cohort study linked aged care assessment data ... Published 2 February 2011.
Australian health expenditure by remoteness: a comparison of remote, regional and city health expenditure - The report looks at selected health services for the financial years 2001-02, 2004-05 and 2006-07 and examines the way these services were delivered across Australia. This analysis was performed using ... Published 14 January 2011.
Calculating screening rates for bowel cancer: Methodologies for the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and the National healthcare Agreement performance indicators explained - Although similar concepts, the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program participation monitoring indicator and the National Healthcare Agreement key performance indicator for bowel cancer screening (PI-12) are different measures. Consequently, they ... Published 22 December 2010.
Australia. Private Health Insurance Ombudsman
04 February 2011 - Quarterly Bulletin 57 - The bulletin for 1 October to 31 December 2010 is now online....READ MORE
Australian Capital Territory. Department of Health
Official opening of the new ACT Health Village Creek Centre Katy Gallagher, MLA February 9 2011
Community views sought on mental health charter of rights Katy Gallagher, MLA February 8 2011
Minister marks World Cancer Day Katy Gallagher, MLA February 4 2011
ACT Health Minister welcomes Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Katy Gallagher, MLA February 1 2011
10,000th client treated at Walk-in Centre Katy Gallagher, MLA February 1 2011
97.3% of Graduate Nurses to stay with ACT Health Katy Gallagher, MLA January 19 2011
ACT organ donations highest in country Katy Gallagher, MLA January 18 2011
ACT students continue healthy trends Katy Gallagher, MLA January 18 2011
New UC occupational therapy degree builds ACT Health local workforce Katy Gallagher, MLA January 18 2011
ACT Bone Bank joins DonateLife network Katy Gallagher, MLA January 4 2011
Avoid heat-stress this summer Katy Gallagher, MLA January 1 2011
Maintain health goals with Get Healthy Service Katy Gallagher, MLA January 1 2011
Remember the dangers of sunburn Katy Gallagher, MLA December 31 2010
Changes to law for specialist tobacconists Katy Gallagher, MLA December 31 2010
New health infrastructure on target Katy Gallagher, MLA December 30 2010
ACT Minister for Health, Katy Gallagher MLA has released for public comment the draft ACT Charter of Rights for Mental Health Consumers as an important step towards publically recognising the rights of those affected by mental illness. The Charter is an important component of the Labor Party mental health platform being implemented during the term of this Legislative Assembly. Download: - Brief outline of the Charters development and consultation process (PDF File - 9k) - Draft ACT Charter of Rights for Mental Health Consumers (PDF File - 93k) - Questions to support the ACT Charter of Rights (PDF File - 37k)
Student alcohol and drug report (18 January 2011) - This ACT Secondary student alcohol and drug report examines the prevalence of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use.
New South Wales. Department of Health
New look website to help children live healthy and active lives [07 February 2011]
NSW Health Urges Caution During Hot Weather [31 January 2011]
Contract Awarded For Queen Victoria Memorial Home [31 January 2011]
SPANS school student survey released [12 January 2011]
First Baby Born in NSW in 2011 [01 January 2011]
Local Health Networks Up and Running [01 January 2011]
Policy directives & guidelines
Disclosure of Contract Information PD2011_011 07/02/2011
Visiting Medical Officer (VMO) Performance Review Arrangements PD2011_010 07/02/2011
Honorary Medical Officer (HMO) Model Contracts PD2011_009 02/02/2011
Dental Amalgam - Its Clinical Use and Disposal GL2011_002 02/02/2011
Kidney Donation - Living (including Directed and Non-Directed Donation) PD2011_007 25/01/2011
Research Governance in NSW Public Health Organisations GL2011_001 25/01/2011
Clinical Trials - Insurance and Indemnity PD2011_006 25/01/2011
Occupational Assessment, Screening and Vaccination Against Specified Infectious Diseases PD2011_005 21/01/2011
NSW Health & Civil Chaplaincies Advisory Committee NSW Memorandum of Understanding PD2011_004 19/01/2011
Electroconvulsive Therapy: ECT Minimum Standard of Practice in NSW PD2011_003 18/01/2011
Industrial Consultative Arrangements PD2011_002 18/01
Aboriginal Deaths in Custody - Family Counselling Protocol - Obsolete Policy IB2011_006 07/02/2011
Leave Entitlements and Flexible Work Arrangements to Observe Religious Duties 2011 IB2011_005 04/02/2011
Oral Health Fee for Service Schedule of Fees IB2011_004 02/02/2011
National Health & Medical Research Council Research Staff Salary Rates 1 January 2011 IB2011_003 25/01/2011
Guidelines for Rural and Remote Incentives Scheme IB2011_002 24/01/2011
Northern Territory. Department of Health & Families
Queensland. Department of Health
04/02/2011 PROTECT YOUR HEALTH IN THE CYCLONE CLEAN-UP
01/02/2011 QUEENSLAND HEALTH PREPARES FOR CYCLONE YASI
28/01/2011 MAJOR RESEARCH CENTRE FOR NEW SCUH ANNOUNCED
21/01/2011 LOOK AFTER YOUR HEALTH IN THE FLOOD CLEAN-UP
South Australia. Department of Health
09 Feb 11 - Statement from SA Health re Salmonella update
07 Feb 11 - Meningococcal case
04 Feb 11 - Custard filled bakery product recall
02 Feb 11 - Lunch box food safety
01 Feb 11 - Increase in mozzie infection cases across SA
28 Jan 11 - Stay cool and keep hydrated
18 Jan 11 - Increase in mozzies infection cases
07 Jan 11 - Mozzie warning for Riverland during floods
06 Jan 11 - X-Box and games donated to children's ward
State-wide Cancer Control Plan 2011-2015 - The SA State-wide Cancer Control Plan 2011–2015 was developed as a guide to providing coordinated cancer control and care in SA. The first plan, released in 2007, combined high-level aspirational targets with actions designed to prevent lifestyle-attributed cancers and improve the cancer journey for people diagnosed with cancer. This new plan is, again, a collaborative effort between Cancer Council SA and the SA Cancer Clinical Network.
South Australia. Health & Community Services Complaints Commissioner
HCSCC's 5th annual report 8 February 2011 - HCSCC's fifth annual report 2009-10 was provided to the Minister for Health on 12 November 2010. The Minister tabled the report in the SA Parliament on 8 February 2011. The full annual report and a Buzz summary of HCSCC's work in 2009-10 are now available. 2009 - 10 Buzz Annual Report Summary: PDF RTF & 2009 - 10 Full Annual Report: PDF
Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services
Agenda for Children and Young People | 01 Feb 2011
Victoria. Department of Health
Extension for hospital board applications - Wednesday 9 February 2011 - Victorian Health Minister David Davis has extended the deadline for applications to part time board chair and director positions of public health services, Ambulance Victoria, and rural public hospitals.
Applications open for 2011 Premier's Award for Health and Medical Research - Thursday 3 February 2011 - Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu today opened the state wide call for applications for the 2011 Premier's Award for Health and Medical Research.
22 Dec 2010 Preparing Victorians for the mosquito season
Riskwatch Newsletter Current Issue - Retained instrument or other material following surgery associated with labour and delivery - Case 1 - Lessons in the emergency department from a Coroners case - Case 2 - Open disclosure e-learning package - The Victorian Health Incident Management (VHIMS) update - Quality use of medicines – oral cancer treatments alert - Risk Watch, Volume 9, Issue 1 (132kb, pdf)
Project seeks to protect fertility of cancer patients - 4 February 2011 - The Royal Women's Hospital, with Melbourne IVF, is leading a national trial to help protect the fertility of young women undergoing chemotherapy for non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Premier's Award for Health and Medical Research - 4 February 2011 - Victoria plays a leading role in health and medical research in Australia.
Community feedback sought on mental health changes - 28 January 2011 - The Minister for Mental Health, Mary Wooldridge, has extended the deadline for public comment on the Exposure Draft of the Mental Health Bill.
Publication Number 02 / 2011 - 5 January 2010 - Subject: Tuberculosis Services
Publication Number 01 / 2011 - 5 January 2010 - Subject: Highly Specialised Drugs Program
Victoria. Office of the Health Services Commissioner
Western Australia. Department of Health
8 February 2011 - Release of Perinatal and Infant Mortality Committee Report
3 February 2011 - Updated disease warning for Bali travellers
2 February 2011 - Individual care plans available for all cancer patients
1 February 2011 - New asthma card put into action
31 January 2011 - Ian Smith appointed chief of WA Country Health Service
31 January 2011 - New tobacco campaign can save lives
27 January 2011 - Keep cool this summer
20 January 2011 - Baby boom for WA
17 January 2011 - Assistant in Nursing Traineeship applications now extended
10 February 2011Barnett, Morton Premier turns soil to start work on $11million autism facility
09 February 2011Hames, Waldron New research points to better health for Kimberley residents
08 February 2011Hames CT scanner installed at Narrogin Hospital
04 February 2011Grylls Land transfer allows expansion of Aboriginal health centre
03 February 2011Hames WA hospitals welcome influx of new nurses
27 January 2011Hames, Porter Shortlisted providers announced for $360million Midland Health Campus
New Zealand. Ministry of Health
11 Feb: Disability Support Services - Behaviour Support project information published - Background information and updates on the project to improve the delivery of Behaviour Support services.
7 January: Health Impact Assessment reports published - Reports on completed HIAs and HIA training in 2010 have been published.
23 December: Implementing the New Zealand Health Strategy 2010 - This report details the actions taken throughout 2010 to progress the following priority areas that have been signalled to the sector: financial management and sustainability; clinical workforce and leadership; and ensuring quality.
23 December: Methodology Report for the 2009 New Zealand Oral Health Survey - The 2009 New Zealand Oral Health Survey (NZOHS) is the first nationwide survey of oral health in New Zealand in over 20 years.
22 December: Researching with Whānau Collectives - Researching with Whānau Collectives is a project which examines research methods that could be used to gather information from whānau collectively, rather than relying on the aggregation of individual data or on individual whānau informants.
21 December: Cancer patient survival covering the period 1994 to 2007 - This publication supersedes the Cancer patient survival covering the period 1994 to 2003 publication released by the Ministry of Health in 2006.
20 December: Suicide Facts: Deaths and intentional self-harm hospitalisations 2008 - This annual statistical publication presents and summarises suicide information received from the New Zealand Mortality Collection, and admissions to hospital for intentional self-harm sourced from the New Zealand National Minimum Dataset.
20 December: Health Expenditure Trends in New Zealand 1998-2008 - This report is the latest in a regular series prepared by the Ministry of Health. The primary purpose of the series is to provide information on expenditure in the New Zealand health and disability sector. This document focuses on the 2007/08 expenditure
Canada. Health Canada
United States. Department of Health & Human Services
ONC to provide additional funding to accelerate critical access and rural hospitals' switch to electronic health records - Dr. David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, national coordinator for health information technology in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today announced an additional $12 million in new technical support assistance to help critical access hospitals (CAHs) and rural hospitals adopt and become meaningful users of certified health information technology. Today's funding announcement will come through ONC's Regional Extension Center (REC) program to provide a wide range of support services to the 1,777 critical access and rural hospitals in 41 states and the nationwide Indian Country, headquartered in the District of Columbia, to help them qualify for substantial EHR incentive payments from Medicare and Medicaid. This funding is in addition to the $20 million provided to RECs in September 2010 to provide technical assistance to the CAHs and Rural Hospitals.
Australian Medical Association
Long-term commitment needed to close the gap 9 February 2011 - 4:00pm - AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, today agreed with the Government that a long-term commitment is needed to eliminate the health and mortality gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Dr Pesce said that the AMA also agreed with the Prime Minister that achieving improvements in the lives of Indigenous Australians is not just the responsibility of governments.
GP Super Clinics – another example of failing to consult with the medical profession 9 February 2011 - 3:00pm - AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said today that the admission by the Government that it established GP Super Clinics in certain locations before assessing the medical service needs of the areas is another example of making big health policy decisions without proper consultation with the medical profession and local communities. Read more
Ban junk food advertising to young people 9 February 2011 - 2:00pm - The AMA today called on the Government to ban junk food advertising to young people. AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said that a survey released today confirms that advertising has a direct impact on the foods and drinks that older children and adolescents choose to consume. Read more
The ABCD2 score, if used alone, is a poor predictor for stroke after a transient ischaemic attack 6 February 2011 - 12:00pm - MJA release - A widely used method for predicting stroke in patients following a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) has limited predictive value, according to a study published in the latest Medical Journal of Australia. According to the researchers, TIA carries a high risk of subsequent stroke, and it is desirable to identify TIA patients at high risk of stroke. The ABCD2 score (Age, Blood pressure, Clinical features, Duration and Diabetes), which was developed for this purpose, has poor predictive value for early stroke after transient ischaemic attack (TIA) in patients presenting to Australian tertiary hospitals if used alone. Read more
Aboriginal Australians are more likely to have vitamin D insufficiency 6 February 2011 - 12:00pm - MJA release - Aboriginal Australians are more likely to have low vitamin D levels than non-Indigenous Australians, according to a study published in the latest Medical Journal of Australia. Dr Simon Vanlint, Lecturer in the Discipline of General Practice at the University of Adelaide, and co-authors, investigated the vitamin D status of a population of Aboriginal Australians in South Australia, and examined the relationship between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) levels and biochemical variables of calcium and bone mineral homeostasis, as well as other factors that may influence vitamin D synthesis, storage and metabolism. Read more
Australian medical schools need to improve conflict-of-interest policies 6 February 2011 - 12:00pm - MJA release: Australian medical schools need to improve their conflict-of-interest policies to ensure quality medical student education, medical research and patient care, according to a study in the latest Medical Journal of Australia. Dr Paul Mason, Intern at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and co-author Prof Martin Tattersall, Professor of Cancer Medicine from the Central Clinical School at the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, examined the adequacy of policies at Australian medical schools for managing and declaring potential conflicts-of-interest with the pharmaceutical industry. Read more
Iodine deficiency in Aboriginal teenagers may be causing ill health and disability 6 February 2011 - 12:00pm - MJA release: Iodine deficiency may be a significant contributor to ill health and disability among the Northern Territory Indigenous population, according to a study in the Medical Journal of Australia. Dr Dorothy Mackerras, Principal Research Fellow, Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin, and co-authors, determined the iodine status of participants in the Aboriginal Birth Cohort Study who resided in the Darwin Health Region in the Northern Territory before the introduction of mandatory iodine fortification of bread in October 2009. Read more
AMA submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing Inquiry 4 February 2011 - 10:00am - In its submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing Inquiry into registration processes and support for Overseas Trained Doctors, the AMA calls for removal of the 10 year International Medical Graduates (IMG) moratorium and greater support for IMGs trying to achieve specialist registration through access to other GP training, courses. Read more
AMA warns women not to get complacent about cervical screening 4 February 2011 - 8:10am - AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said today – World Cancer Day – that there is an emerging risk of women becoming complacent about cervical cancer screening, particularly women who have been vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV). "A study published last month in Women's Health Issues showed that many young women believe that they do not need to continue having Pap smears if they have the HPV vaccine," Dr Pesce said. "Even though vaccination protects women against the type of HPV that causes about 70 per cent of all cervical cancers, it is vital for women who have been vaccinated to continue regular cervical screening to ensure that any cervical abnormalities which might develop into cancer are detected early whilst still easily treatable." Read more
AMA urges governments to adopt food labelling recommendations 28 January 2011 - 3:00pm - The AMA today urged all Australian governments to act quickly and adopt the key recommendations of the Labelling Logic report. The Labelling Logic report was prepared by the Independent Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy, which was chaired by Dr Neal Blewett. AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said that Australia is facing a growing epidemic of chronic disease and obesity. "It is important that food products are all appropriately labelled so that Australian families have all the relevant information they need to make healthy choices about what they eat," Dr Pesce said. Read more
Lead Clinician Groups discussion paper an insult to clinicians 28 January 2011 - 2:00pm AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said today that the Government's proposed Lead Clinician Groups are doomed to fail if arrangements set out in a recently-circulated discussion paper are to proceed. Dr Pesce said the fact that the discussion paper - Lead Clinicians Groups: enhancing clinical engagement in Australia's health system - was circulated to stakeholder groups after business hours on the eve of Australia Day suggests there is some nervousness within the Government and the bureaucracy about the proposed arrangements. Read more
AMA Submission on Connecting Health Services with the Future: Modernising Medicare by Providing Rebates for Online Consultations 28 January 2011 - 1:15pm - The AMA submission on Medicare funding for online consultations calls for funding not to be limited to video consultations only, but include telephone calls, emails and other non-video online consultations that are necessary for providing care to patients who are remote to the specialist caring for them. The submission also says that the MBS items should be drafted broadly to enable treating doctors to use their clinical judgment to determine when an online consultation is clinically relevant for their patient and the clinically appropriate technology to use to provide the service. Read more
GP Network News, Issue 11, Number 4 - 4 February 2011 4 February 2011 - 12:00pm - AMA Council of General Practice Executive Policy Day; AMA Council of General Practice meeting; Health Practitioner Registration; International Medical Graduates; World Cancer Day – Cervical Screening; Celebrate the benefits of AMA Membership; Find the best I.T. deal and then beat it by up to 20% with PowerBuy. Read more
Too little focus on medical care for the elderly in Productivity Commission's Aged Care draft report 27 January 2011 - 1:00pm - AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, today called on the Government to place a higher priority on medical care for the elderly in its response to the recommendations in the Productivity Commission's draft report, Caring for Older Australians, and its final report in June. Dr Pesce said that although the Commission made occasional reference to medical care needs and the AMA's submission in its 500-plus page draft report, ongoing access to medical care was given low priority and little urgency in the recommendations to Government. Read more
AMA's Indigenous Health Trailblazer appointed OAM 26 January 2011 - 4:15pm - AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, today paid tribute to his friend and colleague, Dr Paul Bauert, who has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). Dr Bauert is the current President of the AMA Northern Territory, a member of the Federal AMA Executive, Chair of the Federal AMA's Public Health and Youth Health Committee, co-Chair of the Federal AMA Rural Medical Committee, and a member of the AMA's Taskforce on Indigenous Health. Dr Bauert is Director of Paediatrics at Royal Darwin Hospital and has worked in Darwin and visited Aboriginal communities for more than 25 years providing specialised health care and advice and leadership. Dr Pesce said that Dr Bauert has worked tirelessly to improve Indigenous health throughout his professional career and made it his personal mission to ensure that the AMA at the Territory and Federal level constantly champions the cause of improving the health of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders. Read more
Pharmaceutical, tobacco companies use trade deal to threaten public health legislation 16 January 2011 - 12:00pm - MJA release - US-based multinational pharmaceutical companies are lobbying for Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) provisions similar to those in the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, which would reduce cost-effective government regulatory control of pharmaceuticals, threatening equitable access to medicines, according to an article in the Medical Journal of Australia. Read more
Mandatory folic acid fortification has reduced the prevalence of folate deficiency in Australians 16 January 2011 - 12:00pm - MJA release - The prevalence of folate deficiency in Australians has significantly reduced since the introduction of mandatory fortification with folic acid of wheat flour used in bread making, according to a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia. Read more
Australia would benefit from academic health science centres 16 January 2011 - 12:00pm - MJA release - Despite strong advocacy for academic health science centres (AHSCs) to be introduced in Australia, they have been ignored, according to an article in the Medical Journal of Australia. An AHSC is a partnership between a tertiary health care provider and a university. Together they drive a care continuum from innovation, to bedside, to the community, aiming to deliver the latest advances and highest standards to patients.
British Medical Association
Health Committee inquiry into revalidation takes on board BMA concerns - The BMA is pleased that the Health Committee's inquiry into the General Medical Council's (GMC) proposed revalidation processes, published today (Tuesday 8 February 2011), has taken on some of the BMA concerns. (Tue 8 February 2011)
Public health reorganisation could cause 'lasting damage' - Head of faculty warns peers of consequences of staff exodus.
Juniors fear blighted careers - Doctors leaders criticise proposed training reforms as risky and ill-conceived.
Speak no evil? - Do aid organisations have a responsibility to speak out when they witness human rights abuses?
American Medical Association
AMA and 100 Other Organizations Voice Support for HEALTH Act - AMA Press Release, January. 25, 2011 - The AMA and 100 medical and physician organizations sent a letter to the sponsors of H.R. 5, the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011. Read More
Canadian Medical Association
02/07/2011 - New insurance forms expected to ease MD paper burden
02/01/2011 - Toronto MD honoured for e-care work
01/20/2011 - Bigger is better, CMA says of new tobacco warnings
01/12/2011 - CMA's "crown jewel" turns 100
01/04/2011 - Health literacy targeted in new CME course
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