NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Embedding pharmacists in ACCHOs

The NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health News is platform we use to showcase the important work being done in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, focusing on the work of NACCHO, NACCHO members and NACCHO affiliates.

We also share a curated selection of news stories that are of likely interest to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, broadly.

Embedding pharmacists in ACCHOs

The Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) has announced it supports funding for embedding pharmacists in ACHHOs. NACCHO Chair Donella Mills said, “MSAC’s support confirms ACHHOs can better ensure safe and effective use of medicines when pharmacists are present.”

“Our member services have been calling for support and funding for non-dispensing pharmacists integrated into ACCHOs for years… This endorsement further validates their requests and demonstrates the impact of team-based community-controlled healthcare,” she said.

The recommendation from Australia’s principal medical advisory group is based on a joint submission by NACCHO, PSA, and James Cook University, which found compelling evidence in the Integrating Pharmacists within Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to improve Chronic Disease Management (IPAC) project. Pharmacists were proven to be valuable in improving the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; this includes a significant improvement in self-reported adherence to medicines, clinically significant improvements in the control of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes, and reduced risk of chronic disease patients developing CVD.

Read NACCHO’s media release here. Read the Australian Pharmacist article here.

Mandatory alcohol labelling – what’s next?

An expert panel including NACCHO Deputy CEO, Dr Dawn Casey will come together next month, Wednesday 2 August for the FASD Australia Mandatory Alcohol Labelling: A long fought battle. Now what’s next? webinar. From Tuesday 1 August labels identifying the harms of alcohol during pregnancy will be mandatory on all packaged alcoholic beverages with more than 1.15% alcohol by volume sold in Australia and NZ. Label messaging will state: “Alcohol can cause lifelong harm to your baby.”

The event will celebrate the landmark policy and the successful collaboration between researchers, advocates, community, and government. The panel will hear from a mother with lived experience of raising a child with FASD. The webinar will also explore the impact of the changes and other policies in reducing alcohol harms in communities, before looking at what’s next for reducing the risk of prenatal alcohol exposure and FASD across Australia.

Learn more here.

Image source: FASD Hub Australia.

Remote supervision keeps GP doors open

Remote supervision aims to get more GPs training and working in remote communities and communities in need across Australia. Regional NSW town, Armidale has been contending with workforce shortages in recent months, with clinics relying on telehealth services as a stopgap since its onsite GP moved away. A Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) remote supervision placement will see a new registrar practice at West Armidale Medical Clinic, supported by two remote supervisors.

“Remote supervision enables a GP to train in a community with limited or no onsite supervisor available – it’s an innovative way to get more GP registrars into communities in need and improve access for patients,” said RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins.

RACGP Senior Local Medical Educator, Head of Training New England Northwest, Dr Donna Quinn said the program in Armidale is an example of improving and expanding access to care for patients, “the fact that a registrar will be able to practice with remote supervision means that the patients at the clinic can continue to access care, and that makes a huge difference for a community.”

Read more here. More information about the RACGP’s remote supervision placements can be found here.

Image source: Unspalsh.

Ongoing impacts of COVID-19

Healthcare leaders are concerned about a lack of information and awareness about the ongoing risks of COVID-19. NACCHO Medical Advisor, Megan Campbell said, “COVID-19 continues to spread and affect many people across the country, including ACCHO clients and staff.” Victoria Allied Health Professionals Association, Executive Officer Andrew Hewat says across the board, COVID-19 continues to put pressure on the healthcare system and it’s important to recognise the ongoing efforts of health workers.

“COVID has taken regular healthcare workload pressures and put it on steroids,” he said.

Meanwhile, Professor Lesley Russell said national COVID data is lacking, and Australia has “no effective national surveillance or no standardised national collection of epidemiological and genetic data.” This makes it difficult to determine how many Australians are affected, plan for future waves, identify accurate prevalence of Long COVID, and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and treatments.

Lung Foundation Australia says not many people are aware of the impacts of Long COVID.  The Foundation is urging people to “remain vigilant as COVID continues to be a major health concern” and to ensure they are up to date with COVID and other vaccinations, particularly during winter while other respiratory viruses are circulating.

Read the full Croakey Health Media article here.

Image source: Unsplash.

Improving mental health literacy of young men

Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men aged between 1425 will be at the centre of new mental health research in Stirling. The Curtin University research project will aim to understand how young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men perceive mental health and their current approaches to promoting mental wellbeing, as well as the barriers and facilitators to fostering wellbeing and resilience. The research team will develop and test culturally appropriate mental health messages that will resonate with young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.

“We will conduct co-design workshops to develop new strengths-based approaches to increase mental health literacy and mental health promotion grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing and being, which might include social media campaigns or mass media campaigns,” said Curtin’s School of Population Health, Professor Penelope Hasking.

“We will soon be recruiting our research team to guide the project… comprising young Aboriginal [and Torres Strait Islander] men and Elders before we commence an initial pilot within the City of Stirling early next year,” she said.

Read the full West Australian article here.

Curtin University. Image Source: The West Australian.

Palliative Care Conference registrations near 1,000

Registrations for the 2023 Oceanic Palliative Care Conference (23OPCC) are now open with registrations climbing towards 1,000 delegates. Running between Wednesday 13 September and Friday 15 September, the conference centres around the theme, ‘With the end in mind, shaping stronger health systems, delivering quality palliative care.’ Topics on the agenda include building and sustaining the workforce, caring for diverse populations, future models of care and primary health reform. Palliative Care Australia CEO, Camilla Rowland said, “our sector is very passionate about the care they provide and OPCC really energises innovative thinking, not just in the palliative care sector but also its connection with aged care, disability services and the wider health system.”

“We were blown away by the strength of the abstract submissions we received, the best and brightest speakers are lining up to share their work and knowledge at OPCC,” said Ms Rowland.

Speakers include geriatrician Dr Sue Kurrle, Canadian researcher and podcaster Dr Hsien Seow, former Health Secretary Professor Brendan Murphy, Aboriginal nurse practitioner Kat Hooper, and renowned researcher and leader Professor David Currow. Registrations are open until Thursday 17 August, a late fee will apply from Friday 18 August.

For further registration details click here.

To view the medianet. article Strong conference program and passion for reform draws palliative care sector to Sydney this September in full click here.

Image Source: Palliative Care Australia Twitter.

Sector Jobs

Sector Jobs – you can see sector job listings on the NACCHO website here.

Advertising Jobs – to advertise a job vacancy click here to go to the NACCHO website current job listings webpage. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find a Post A Job form. You can complete this form with your job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

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