Thursday, 15 February 2018

NSW Cannabis Medicines Advisory Service

The NSW Cannabis Medicines Advisory Service provides expert clinical guidance and support to NSW doctors considering prescribing a cannabis medicine for their patient.Based at John Hunter Hospital at Hunter New England Local Health District, the Service offers expert clinical advice to NSW doctors on whether cannabinoids may be an appropriate treatment option for their patient, available clinical evidence, known contraindications and risks, available products, and monitoring requirements.

The Service is part of the NSW Government $21 million commitment to advance our understanding for the safe and appropriate use of cannabis medicines to treat serious and debilitating symptoms. It is available to NSW doctors and health care professionals. It is operational Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm snd can be contacted by email<> or by telephone (02) 4923 6200.

The Service can assist with:

* understanding the latest evidence around cannabis medicines
* understanding the regulatory requirements for cannabis prescription
* considering tools to monitor a patient's progress whilst using cannabis medicines
* provision of protocols to facilitate cannabis medicine prescribing
* information about dosing and titration in individual patients

NSW Mothers and Babies Report 2016

This nineteenth annual report documents findings on the number of births across NSW and provides information on recent trends in the health of mothers and babies in NSW, maternity services provided by hospitals, clinical indicators and the health of Aboriginal mothers and babies.​

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

10,000 steps a day keeps the blues away

New research published in BMC Psychiatry reveals that walking 10,000 steps a day, over the course of 100 days, can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing, weight loss, blood pressure and cardiovascular health.

In one of the largest health studies carried out at a workplace, two thousand participants in the Stepathlon, a corporate wellness challenge dedicated to achieving better physical and mental health outcomes, reveals consistent and positive impacts on all measures of mental health.

Read more at:

Brain scans show why people get aggressive after a drink or two

Researchers have used magnetic resonance imaging scans that measure blood flow in the brain to better understand why people often become aggressive and violent after drinking alcohol.

After only two drinks, the researchers noted changes in the working of the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the part normally involved in tempering a person's levels of aggression.

The study, led by Associate Professor Thomas Denson of the UNSW School of Psychology, is published in the journal Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, which is an official journal of the Psychonomic Society and is published by Springer.

In this study, Denson and his team recruited 50 healthy young men. The participants were either given two drinks containing vodka, or placebo drinks without any alcohol. While lying in an MRI scanner, the participants then had to compete in a task which has regularly been used over the past 50 years to observe levels of aggression in response to provocation.

Read more at:

Gonorrhoea 'super-superbugs' triple in six months

Cases of a strain of gonorrhoea impervious to an antibiotic have almost tripled in six months, the latest report from the National Alert System for Critical Antimicrobial Resistance (CARAlert) reveals.

The result was a “warning shot across the bow” for doctors and public health officials fighting antibiotic resistance, CARAlert’s senior medical adviser said.A total of 742 reports of critically resistant bacteria were collected by the early-warning system from 65 laboratories nationwide between April and September last year, a 75 per cent rise on the 423 cases reported in the same period during 2016.

Read more at:

Friday, 9 February 2018

All complications should count (Grattan Institute)

1 in 9 patients who go into hospital suffers a complication, and the risk varies dramatically depending on the hospital. An extra 250,000 patients would leave hospital complication-free each year if all hospitals lifted their performance to match the best 10 per cent of hospitals.

This report exposes the flaws in Australian hospitals' safety and quality monitoring regime, and recommends reforms that could result in an extra 250,000 patients leaving hospital each year free of complications.

At the moment, hospital safety policies focus on only a small subset of complications classified by government as being 'preventable'. Instead policy should be directed towards reducing all complications to the best rate achievable. This requires building up a comprehensive picture of patient outcomes, and understanding how some hospitals and clinical teams reduce all complications and achieve excellent outcomes.

Report: All complications should count.

Media release.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

10-year review of the Closing the Gap Strategy released

This review assesses the most significant national effort to date to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health: the 2008 Council of Australian Governments' (COAG) Closing the Gap Strategy with its target to achieve life expectancy (health) equality by 2030.10-years after its commencement, it is time to critically reflect on why Australian governments have not yet succeeded in closing the health gap to date, and why they will not succeed by 2030 if the current course continues.

In fact, a December 2017 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report found the mortality and life expectancy gaps are actually widening due to accelerating non-Indigenous population gains in these areas.

The COAG Closing the Gap Strategy was developed by Australian governments following their signing of the Close the Gap Statement of Intent from March 2008 onwards. The Close the Gap Statement of Intent is, first, a compact between Australian governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Second, it embodies a human right to health-based blueprint for achieving health equality referred to hereon as the 'close the gap approach'.

CTG 10 year review and Executive Summary.

Royal Australasian College of Physicians response.

Public Health Association of Australia: Close the Gap Strategy continues to fall short.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Hospitalised farm injury, Australia: 2010-11 to 2014-15 [AIHW]

Hospitalised farm injury, Australia: 2010-11 to 2014-15.

This injury report provides information on hospitalisations as a result of injury which occurred on a farm.

The report finds:

* Almost 22,000 people were hospitalised in the period 2010-11 to 2014-15 as a result of injury which occurred on a farm
* Injuries involving motorcycles and quad bikes on farm accounted for 42% of all hospitalisations in children aged 0-14
* Injuries involving horses accounted for 16% of hospitalisations in children aged 0-14, 80% of which involved girls

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

AMA 2017 Report Card on Indigenous Health (Otitis media focus)

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is reported to suffer the highest rates of otitis media in the world. This unacceptably high prevalance has been known for at least 60 years.

The 2017 Report Card on Indigenous Health identifies chronic otitis media as a 'missing piece of the puzzle for Indigenous disadvantage' and calls for an end to the preventable scourge on the health of Indigenous Australians.

Otis media is a build up of fluid in the middle ear cavity, which can become infected. While the condition lasts, mild or moderate hearing loss is experienced. Otitis media is very common in children and for most non-Indigenous children, is readily treated. But for many Indigenous people, otitis media is not adequately treated. It persists in chronic forms over months and years.

This Report Card calls for a national, systematic approach to closing the gap in the rates of chronic otitis media between Indigenous and non-Indigenous infants and children in Australia, and a response to the lasting, disabling effects and social impacts of chronic otitis media in the Indigenous adult population.

2017 Report Card on Indigenous Health

Press release.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Rural Suicide and its Prevention (CRRMH)

In 2016, the number of suicides per 100,000 people in rural and remote Australia was 50% higher than in the cities. This rate gets higher as areas become more remote and has been growing more rapidly than in the cities. The rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is twice that for non-Indigenous people.

The Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health believes that 5 focus areas are needed to address this situation. Two are for immediate action to prevent suicide deaths (now and into the future) and three are designed to prevent deaths in the future. The prevention of rural suicide is not the sole responsibility of health services or of mental health services. There are important roles for governments, private sector, health and welfare institutions, rural and remote communities, and individuals.

Rural Suicide and its Prevention: a CRRMH position paper.

Summary - Rural Suicide and its Prevention: a CRRMH Prevention Paper.

Towards an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander violence prevention framework for men and boys

Towards an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander violence prevention framework for men and boys was developed by a knowledge circle of recognised experts, including health workers, researchers and community members. It was supported by White Ribbon Australia and published by the Healing Foundation.

The report found higher than average rates of family violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities can be linked to specific factors such as Intergenerational Trauma, the destruction of positive cultural practices and ongoing disadvantage.

The report promotes 6 critical factors proven to lead to long term success for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, by studying programs at Dardi and others in WA, NSW and the Northern Territory. The report also calls for programs to involve an historic context and focus on healing families and communities collectively, co-designing programs with community and supporting strong men into mentoring roles.


Press release.

Trends in Indigenous mortality and life expectancy 2001–2015: evidence from the enhanced mortality database

This report examines Indigenous mortality and life expectancy during the period 2001 to 2015, based on evidence from the Enhanced Mortality Database. The study observed increases in life expectancy during the study period for both Indigenous males and females across most jurisdictions. Life expectancy however increased faster among non-Indigenous than among Indigenous males and females. As a result, there was little change in the life expectancy gap.

Report page.

Monday, 22 January 2018

WayAhead: Access more than 5000 mental health and related services for free

The WayAhead Directory is a searchable online database that anyone in the community can use to access local mental health and related services. These services also include community support organisations, legal, employment and recreation services and information resources when and where they're needed.

Currently, the WayAhead Directory lists information on more than 5,600 mental health and other related services. Search results are determined by location and can be filtered by demographic subgroups, types of services and more.

The WayAhead Directory.

Spinal cord injury, Australia:7 new AIHW reports:

Spinal cord injury from traumatic causes imposes a heavy physical, psychological and economic burden on the injured people, their families and society, because it often results in a high level of long-term disability and morbidity and in increased mortality risk.

This collection of reports provides data from 2008-09 to 2013-14 on the incidence of traumatic spinal cord injury, the people injured, the care provided to them, and the causes of the injuries. Each reporting year is covered in its own report, and, in addition, the older years of data are summarised in Spinal cord injury, Australia: summary 2008-09 to 2012-13.

The latest report shows that in 2013-14, 236 new incident cases of spinal cord injury due to external causes were reported to the Australian Spinal Cord Injury Register. Males accounted for 81% of traumatic spinal cord injury cases. Land transport crashes (46%) were the leading mechanism of injury followed by falls (32%). Nearly half (45%) occurred while the person was engaged in a sport or leisure activity.

Spinal cord injury, Australia: summary 2008-09 to 2012-13.

Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2008-09.

Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2009-10.

Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2010-11.

Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2011-12

Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2012-13.

Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2013-14.

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