- Health staff working ‘around the clock’
- Newly designed Indigenous health journal
- ACCHO access linked to more pap tests
- Reducing ACT health inequalities – urgent
- Cultural considerations in SEWB support
- Plan needed for elective surgery backlog
- Australian Cancer Plan 2023-2033
- New process for job advertising
- Save the date
Health staff working ‘around the clock’
The community of Lajamanu has been working together to slow the spread of COVID-19, but the health staff on the ground are struggling with an ever-increasing workload and ever-decreasing resources. The remote community and its surrounding homelands, located around six hours SW of Katherine, went into a 7-day lock-in on Monday afternoon this week to stop the spread of the virus following discussions between NACCHO, Katherine West Health Board the NT Government.
The lock-in means residents can move freely within the community but cannot leave without an authorised reason, and entry to the area is also restricted. CEO of Katherine West, Sinon Cooney, said there were now 27 active cases in Lajamanu, with drastic action needed to stop the spread. “[With] the infectivity of Omicron and that sort of perfect storm of minimal public health measures, high movement of population and overcrowded housing, it spreads very quickly,” he said. “I think people [in Lajamanu] expect that’s a sensible option to stop people from coming into their community and also to protect other communities locally.”
To view the Katherine Times news article in full click here.
Newly designed Indigenous health journal
The first issue of the re-named and newly designed Journal of the Australian Indigenous Health InfoNet for 2022 is available via the Edith Cowan University (ECU) institutional repository here. This is the first published issue since the online peer-reviewed journal was separated from the HealthBulletin website.
The journal aims to facilitate access to information that supports those working in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector. Reflecting the wide range of readers – policy makers, service providers, researchers, students and the general community – the Journal of the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet keeps people informed about recent research and promotes knowledge exchange.
Submissions are welcome all year round from researchers, practitioners and health workers about research, strategies and programs related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, that have the potential to inform and support everyday practice. For more details about the submission process visit the Contributions page of the Journal of the Australian Indigenous Health InfoNet website here.
The current edition of the journal, is available here.
ACCHO access linked to more pap tests
A Menzies School of Health Research study has Found Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from North Queensland (versus) Rest of Queensland had higher odds of screening at ACCHOs after adjusting for age and area-level variables. The population of North Queensland has a higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, a greater population coverage of ACCHOs, and higher cervical screening participation than the Rest of Queensland.
A conclusion of the study is that improving access to primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, especially through ACCHOs, may reduce existing disparities in cervical screening participation. Further gains will require greater levels of local community engagement and understanding of the experiences of screened Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to inform effective interventions.
To view the article in full click here.
Reducing ACT health inequalities – urgent
The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has called on the ACT and federal governments to do more to reduce ongoing health inequalities experienced by people facing disadvantage in the ACT. The Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services, available here, released yesterday highlights the relatively low availability of GPs, low bulk billing rates, and high out-of-pocket expenses as significant barriers to accessing primary and mental health services for people on low incomes in the ACT.
Gulanga Program Manager, Rachelle Kelly-Church, stated: “If we are to take the Close the Gap Campaign seriously, then urgent action is required to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes, throughout the lifecycle from pregnancy and birth onwards. “To provide a strengths-based system of early supports, such as prevention campaigns as well as ongoing treatment, there needs to be a broad range of culturally safe and appropriate services for Aboriginal people with chronic and complex health needs. To achieve this, both the federal and ACT governments need to increase investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations.”
To view the article in full click here.
Cultural considerations in SEWB support
Emerging Minds has produced a webinar called: Cultural considerations in the social and emotional wellbeing support provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. The webinar aims to increase health practitioners’ understanding of the significance of cultural identity when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
The webinar was facilitated by Dana Shen, Aboriginal Cultural Consultant, with an interdisciplinary panel of experts including Adele Cox, SNAICC Sector Development Manager, and Tricia Nagel, Psychiatrist and Senior Researcher.
Plan needed for elective surgery backlog
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) are calling on all levels of Government to develop a national plan to address the growing and increasingly critical backlog of elective surgeries. The call comes as new Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) data shows Australians are waiting longer than ever for essential surgery, across a range of categories and conditions.
While the AMA and RACS have both supported state government postponement of some elective surgeries to prevent the COVID surge from overwhelming public hospitals, this approach is increasingly unsustainable. An urgent plan is needed to restore reasonable and acceptable access to elective surgery, as well as a long-term funding arrangement to ensure this backlog is cleared.
RACS President Dr Sally Langley said, “Elective surgery is not an optional procedure that a patient or doctor elects to have – it is essential surgery. It is surgery to address often life-threatening conditions and conditions that prevent patients from living a normal life because of severe pain or dysfunction. For many patients waiting in line in pain to have a critical operation, the delays in surgery can be devastating. Further, the lack of screening procedures has resulted in patients presenting with more advanced cancers, and in some cases, it has dramatically altered their prognosis,” she said.
To read the AMA and RACS joint media release in full click here.
Australian Cancer Plan 2023-2033
Cancer Australia has been appointed by the Australian Government to develop the Australian cancer plan 2023–2033. The Plan will help to identify and address critical issues in cancer control that require collaborative, coordinated and national action. As part of this process, Cancer Australia has established a consultation hub, inviting input from the Australian community to inform the development of the resource.
Cancer Australia welcomes ideas and feedback from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, communities and organisations.
Feedback can be submitted via two methods:
Please note: submissions close Friday 18 February 2022.
New process for job advertising
NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.
Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.
COVID-19 vaccine update for Primary Care
The latest in the series of COVID-19 vaccine updates for Primary Care, providing the latest information on the vaccine rollout, will be held from 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM (AEDT) Thursday 3 February 2022.
The panel this week will be: Professor Michael Kidd AM (Chair), Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health and Dr Lucas de Toca, First Assistant Secretary, COVID-19 Primary Care Response, Department of Health.
GPs and all health professionals are welcome to attend the webinar and can join using this link. If you’re unable to view this webinar live, you can view it on-demand using the same link, within a few hours of the live stream ending.