NACCHO #WorldHealthDay Aboriginal Health and #MyHealthRecord : @AuDigitalHealth #BetterConnected : @tkelsey1 a national conversation begins on a roadmap for a more modern, digitally connected health system : Features @TheRealPearl03 @DeadlyChoices

 

“Today is about ensuring the road to a better digitally connected system is a two-way conversation.”

“Best use of data and technology is key to sustainable, high quality and person-centred health care,” said Agency chief executive officer Tim Kelsey.

“We’ve made progress since the National Digital Health Strategy was launched in 2018 – including creating a My Health Record for 9 out of 10 Australians, and developing standards for secure digital messages to replace letters and fax machines in healthcare. We are now developing the plan to move Australia to the next stage of connected care.

“Improving the interoperability of health and care services so that the right information is available at the right time for the right person is fundamental to improving the outcomes and experience of healthcare.”

Australian Digital Health Agency Chief Executive officer Tim Kelsey.

Picture above : On the final stop of the Central Queensland tour, The CEO and Chief Medical Adviser Meredith Makeham meet with early adopters of MHR, the Bidgerdii Community Health Service (ACCHO) , and chat about how it has benefited their community 

 NACCHO endorses and supports the My Health Record system initiative provided patient information and privacy is protected. The patient is in control of what information is placed in their electronic record and who else has access to it.

But want an assurance from the Health Minister that all patient records will be protected and if that requires further legislation then so be it.’

Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)  See NACCHO Previous Press Release 

Read over 40 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and MY Health Record Articles HERE

The Australian Digital Health Agency has today opened an online consultation for all Australians, including frontline clinicians, consumers, healthcare organisations and the technology sector to have their say on a more modern, digitally connected health system.

The online consultation is part of a nationwide series of discussions used to co-design the National Health Interoperability Roadmap, which will agree the standards and priorities required to achieve a more modern digitally connected health system in Australia.

The survey is open until Friday 14 June 2019.

The Roadmap is a key priority of the National Digital Health Strategy, which was approved by all states and territories through the Council of Australian Government (COAG) Health Council in 2017.

The National Digital Health Strategy highlights the importance of connected health services and calls for the definition of standards to support interoperability that will support clinicians, patients and citizens make the best health and care decisions.

“Industry clinical software supports millions of digital transactions daily through public and private health systems,” said Emma Hossack, Chief Executive Officer of the Medical Software Industry Association.

“A collaborative consensus on standards will increase confidence of all users and make a more interconnected health system possible for patients and their healthcare providers.”

In addition to the online consultation, the Agency will be facilitating over 50 digital health community conversations over coming months with members of the healthcare sector, health technology industry and consumer representatives to collaborate on how digital technology can best support the delivery of a person-centred healthcare system that prevents disease and empowers personal wellbeing.

Sharing the right health information at the right time is critical to high quality, sustainable health and care. Currently, many digital health systems in separate healthcare locations are unable to talk to each other. Information collected about a patient – for example in a hospital or a GP practice – often isn’t made available to others involved in a patient’s care.

“Based on my experience as a patient, having a better-connected system will ensure I can have more control over my own health information and greater access to more efficient and safer services,” said patient advocate Harry Iles-Mann.

“It means knowing that when it matters most, the management of my health and wellbeing by the system is being supported by a network of information sharing tailored to my own needs and expectations.”

In almost every part of our lives, whether it’s banking, transport, travel or maintaining social or business connections, technology has changed the way we do things. Just as people expect technology to seamlessly support them in their everyday lives, both consumers and healthcare professionals expect digital technology to support the delivery of high-quality healthcare.

Interoperability holds the potential to bring patients’ records together from a range of systems and to provide access to information from disparate sources, give consumers and providers greater visibility and enable research and innovation.

For example, 20% of Australians have a confirmed allergy. Hospital admissions for anaphylaxis have increased five-fold over the past 20 years, and drug allergy induced anaphylaxis deaths have increased by 300%. In clinical situations where a patient is deteriorating and requires immediate intervention, knowing whether a drug may cause life‐threatening anaphylaxis is vital.

This first consultation, hosted by Agency chief executive officer, Mr Tim Kelsey, was held on 18 March 2019 at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney and brought together leaders from medical colleges, innovation experts, privacy advocates.

At the launch, President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners said: “A better-connected healthcare system will allow doctors to spend less time ringing around and searching for faxes and more time talking with patients.”

“Today is about ensuring the road to a better digitally connected system is a two-way conversation.”

“Best use of data and technology is key to sustainable, high quality and person-centred health care,” said Agency chief executive officer Tim Kelsey.

“We’ve made progress since the National Digital Health Strategy was launched in 2018 – including creating a My Health Record for 9 out of 10 Australians, and developing standards for secure digital messages to replace letters and fax machines in healthcare. We are now developing the plan to move Australia to the next stage of connected care.

“Improving the interoperability of health and care services so that the right information is available at the right time for the right person is fundamental to improving the outcomes and experience of healthcare.”

The online consultation survey is now available.

The Agency also welcomes written submissions by email or mail.

Email: yoursay@digitalhealth.gov.au

Address: L25/175 Liverpool Street, Sydney NSW 2000.

About the Australian Digital Health Agency

The Agency is tasked with improving health outcomes for all Australians through the delivery of digital healthcare systems, and implementing Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy – Safe, Seamless, and Secure: evolving health and care to meet the needs of modern Australia in collaboration with partners across the community.

The Agency is the System Operator of My Health Record, and provides leadership, coordination, and delivery of a collaborative and innovative approach to utilising technology to support and enhance a clinically safe and connected national health system.

These improvements will give individuals more control of their health and their health information, and support healthcare providers to deliver informed healthcare through access to current clinical and treatment information.

Further information: www.digitalhealth.gov.au.

Aboriginal Health #Budget2019 night on #NACCHOTV #SaveADate @AuDigitalHealth @MyHealthRec 3 and 4 April Webinar ‘Privacy obligations post-opt out for #MyHealthRecord Plus Conferences @2019WIHC @NATSIHWA @IAHA_National @CATSINaM @LowitjaInstitut

This weeks featured NACCHO SAVE A DATE events

NACCHO TV #Budget2019 Live coverage on our NACCHO FACEBOOK

3 and 4 April Webinar ‘Privacy obligations post-opt out for My Health Record – Healthcare organisations’. Noting 

Download the 2019 Health Awareness Days Calendar 

9 April Webinar : What will #Budget2019 mean for health consumers?

20 -24 May 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference. Gold Coast

18 -20 June Lowitja Health Conference Darwin

2019 Dr Tracey Westerman’s Workshops 

7 -14 July 2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round opens

23 -25 September IAHA Conference Darwin

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

Featured Save a dates date

 

NACCHO TV #Budget2019 Live coverage on our NACCHO FACEBOOK from 8.30 PM features our Acting Chair Donnella Mills broadcasting from Parliament House Canberra

“Aboriginal community controlled health organisations (ACCHO’S ) are improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We need to continue to invest in, and expand, these services as they have proven time and time again to be the best model of primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people”

Watch live HERE

3 and 4 April Webinar ‘Privacy obligations post-opt out for My Health Record – Healthcare organisations’.

The Australian Digital Health Agency will be holding the following national webinar, ‘Privacy obligations post-opt out for My Health Record – Healthcare organisations’.

Do you work within a GP clinic, Community Pharmacy, Public or Private Hospital? Is your organisation registered for My Health Record?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to either of these questions this webinar will be a must attend.

This interactive webinar will inform healthcare providers of their privacy obligations when interacting with the My Health Record. Learning outcomes of this webinar include:

  • Governing access to My Health Record system and how this applies to your organisation
  • Ensuring appropriate policies are in place to adhere to legalisation requirements
  • Complying with consumer wishes in regard to accessing and uploading information

This webinar will be held live twice, please register for the date & time that is most suitable for you. You are only required to attend one session. Please feel free to forward the below details to your colleagues and stakeholders:

Webinar – Privacy obligations post-opt out for My Health Record – Healthcare organisations: 

Webinar #1

Or

Webinar #2

Please note, registrations close 24hrs prior to each webinar event. Presentation slides will be made available following the event to individuals who have registered to attend the webinar.

Download the NACCHO 2019 Calendar Health Awareness Days

For many years ACCHO organisations have said they wished they had a list of the many Indigenous “ Days “ and Aboriginal health or awareness days/weeks/events.

With thanks to our friends at ZockMelon here they both are!

It even has a handy list of the hashtags for the event.

Download the 53 Page 2019 Health days and events calendar HERE

naccho zockmelon 2019 health days and events calendar

We hope that this document helps you with your planning for the year ahead.

Every Tuesday we will update these listings with new events and What’s on for the week ahead

To submit your events or update your info

Contact: Colin Cowell www.nacchocommunique.com

NACCHO Social Media Editor Tel 0401 331 251

Email : nacchonews@naccho.org.au

9 April What will #Budget2019 mean for health consumers?

What will mean for health consumers? Join us next Tuesday for our webinar to learn more.

Register here

20 -24 May 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference. Gold Coast

Thank you for your interest in the 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference.

The 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference will bring together Indigenous leaders, government, industry and academia representing Housing, health, and education from around the world including:

  • National and International Indigenous Organisation leadership
  • Senior housing, health, and education government officials Industry CEOs, executives and senior managers from public and private sectors
  • Housing, Healthcare, and Education professionals and regulators
  • Consumer associations
  • Academics in Housing, Healthcare, and Education.

The 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference #2019WIHC is the principal conference to provide a platform for leaders in housing, health, education and related services from around the world to come together. Up to 2000 delegates will share experiences, explore opportunities and innovative solutions, work to improve access to adequate housing and related services for the world’s Indigenous people.

Event Information:

Key event details as follows:
Venue: Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
Address: 2684-2690 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach QLD 4218
Dates: Monday 20th – Thursday 23rd May, 2019 (24th May)

Registration Costs

  • EARLY BIRD – FULL CONFERENCE & TRADE EXHIBITION REGISTRATION: $1950 AUD plus booking fees
  • After 1 February FULL CONFERENCE & TRADE EXHIBITION REGISTRATION $2245 AUD plus booking fees

PLEASE NOTE: The Trade Exhibition is open Tuesday 21st May – Thursday 23rd May 2019

Please visit www.2019wihc.com for further information on transport and accommodation options, conference, exhibition and speaker updates.

Methods of Payment:

2019WIHC online registrations accept all major credit cards, by Invoice and direct debit.
PLEASE NOTE: Invoices must be paid in full and monies received by COB Monday 20 May 2019.

Please note: The 2019 WIHC organisers reserve the right of admission. Speakers, programs and topics are subject to change. Please visit http://www.2019wihc.comfor up to date information.

Conference Cancellation Policy

If a registrant is unable to attend 2019 WIHC for any reason they may substitute, by arrangement with the registrar, someone else to attend in their place and must attend any session that has been previously selected by the original registrant.

Where the registrant is unable to attend and is not in a position to transfer his/her place to another person, or to another event, then the following refund arrangements apply:

    • Registrations cancelled less than 60 days, but more than 30 days before the event are eligible for a 50% refund of the registration fees paid.
    • Registrations cancelled less than 30 days before the event are no longer eligible for a refund.

Refunds will be made in the following ways:

  1. For payments received by credit or debit cards, the same credit/debit card will be refunded.
  2. For all other payments, a bank transfer will be made to the payee’s nominated account.

Important: For payments received from outside Australia by bank transfer, the refund will be made by bank transfer and all bank charges will be for the registrant’s account. The Cancellation Policy as stated on this page is valid from 1 October 2018.

Terms & Conditions

please visit www.2019wihc.com

Privacy Policy

please visit www.2019wihc.com

18 -20 June Lowitja Health Conference Darwin


At the Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2019 delegates from around the world will discuss the role of First Nations in leading change and will showcase Indigenous solutions.

The conference program will highlight ways of thinking, speaking and being for the benefit of Indigenous peoples everywhere.

Join Indigenous leaders, researchers, health professionals, decision makers, community representatives, and our non-Indigenous colleagues in this important conversation.

More Info 

2019 Dr Tracey Westerman’s Workshops 

More info and dates

7 -14 July 2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round opens 

The opening of the 2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round has been moved forward! The National NAIDOC Grants will now officially open on Thursday 24 January 2019.

Head to www.naidoc.org.au to join the National NAIDOC Mailing List and keep up with all things grants or check out the below links for more information now!

https://www.finance.gov.au/resource-management/grants/grantconnect/

https://www.pmc.gov.au/indigenous-affairs/grants-and-funding/naidoc-week-funding

23 -25 September IAHA Conference Darwin

24 September

A night of celebrating excellence and action – the Gala Dinner is the premier national networking event in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health.

The purpose of the IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards is to recognise the contribution of IAHA members to their profession and/or improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards showcase the outstanding achievements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health and provides identifiable allied health role models to inspire all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to consider and pursue a career in allied health.

The awards this year will be known as “10 for 10” to honour the 10 Year Anniversary of IAHA. We will be announcing 4 new awards in addition to the 6 existing below.

Read about the categories HERE.

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

 

 

The 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference will be held in Sydney, 24th – 26th September 2019. Make sure you save the dates in your calendar.

Further information to follow soon.

Date: Tuesday the 24th to Thursday the 26th September 2019

Location: Sydney, Australia

Organiser: Chloe Peters

Phone: 02 6262 5761

Email: admin@catsinam.org.au

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

SAVE THE DATE for the 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference!!!

We’re so excited to announce the date of our 10 Year Anniversary Conference –
A Decade of Footprints, Driving Recognition!!! 

NATSIHWA recognises that importance of members sharing and learning from each other, and our key partners within the Health Sector. We hold a biennial conference for all NATSIHWA members to attend. The conference content focusses on the professional support and development of the Health Workers and Health Practitioners, with key side events to support networking among attendees.  We seek feedback from our Membership to make the conferences relevant to their professional needs and expectations and ensure that they are offered in accessible formats and/or locations.The conference is a time to celebrate the important contribution of Health Workers and Health Practitioners, and the Services that support this important profession.

We hold the NATSIHWA Legends Award night at the conference Gala Dinner. Award categories include: Young Warrior, Health Worker Legend, Health Service Legend and Individual Champion.

Watch this space for the release of more dates for registrations, award nominations etc.

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

The University of Melbourne, Department of Rural Health are pleased to advise that abstract
submissions are now being invited that address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and
wellbeing.

The Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference is an opportunity for sharing information and connecting people that are committed to reforming the practice and research of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health and celebrates Aboriginal knowledge systems and strength-based approaches to improving the health outcomes of Aboriginal communities.

This is an opportunity to present evidence-based approaches, Aboriginal methods and models of
practice, Aboriginal perspectives and contribution to health or community led solutions, underpinned by cultural theories to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.
In 2018 the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference attracted over 180 delegates from across the community and state.

We welcome submissions from collaborators whose expertise and interests are embedded in Aboriginal health and wellbeing, and particularly presented or co-presented by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and community members.

If you are interested in presenting, please complete the speaker registration link

closing date for abstract submission is Friday 3 rd May 2019.
As per speaker registration link request please email your professional photo for our program or any conference enquiries to E. aboriginal-health@unimelb.edu.au.

Kind regards
Leah Lindrea-Morrison
Aboriginal Partnerships and Community Engagement Officer
Department of Rural Health, University of Melbourne T. 03 5823 4554 E. leah.lindrea@unimelb.edu.au

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

This years  whakatauki (theme for the conference) was developed by the Scientific Committee, along with Māori elder, Te Marino Lenihan & Tania Huria from .

To read about the conference & theme, check out the  website. 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Pre- #Budget2019 -2020 : #RefreshTheCTGRefresh :The following #ClosingTheGap policy proposals are informed by NACCHO’s consultations with its Affiliates and our 145 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services:

 

The proposals included in this submission are based on the extensive experience NACCHO member services have of providing many years of comprehensive primary health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We have long recognised that closing the gap on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and disadvantage will never be achieved until primary health care services’ infrastructure hardware is fit for purpose; our people are living in safe and secure housing; culturally safe and trusted early intervention services are available for our children and their families; and our psychological, social, emotional and spiritual needs are acknowledged and supported.=

If these proposals are adopted, fully funded and implemented, they provide a pathway forward where improvements in life expectancy can be confidently predicted. “  

Pat Turner AM NACCHO CEO on behalf of our State and Territory Affiliates and 145 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services operating 302 ACCHO Clinics

Download this 20 Page NACCHO Submission

NACCHO Budget Submission 2019-20 FINAL

NACCHO is the national peak body representing 145 ACCHOs across the country on Aboriginal health and wellbeing issues.

In 1997, the Federal Government funded NACCHO to establish a Secretariat in Canberra, greatly increasing the capacity of Aboriginal peoples involved in ACCHOs to participate in national health policy development. Our members provide about three million episodes of care per year for about 350,000 people. In very remote areas, our services provide about one million episodes of care in a twelve-month period.

Collectively, we employ about 6,000 staff (56 per cent whom are Indigenous), which makes us the single largest employer of Indigenous people in the country.

The following policy proposals are informed by NACCHO’s consultations with its Affiliates and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services:

  1. Increase base funding of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services;
  2. Increase funding for capital works and infrastructure;
  3. Improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing and community infrastructure;
  4. Reduce the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in out-of-home care and detention; and
  5. Strengthen the Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

NACCHO is committed to working with the Australian Government to further develop the proposals, including associated costings and implementation plans and identifying where current expenditure could be more appropriately targeted.

1. Increase base funding of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services

Proposal:

That the Australian Government:

  • Commits to increasing the baseline funding for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to support the sustainable delivery of high quality, comprehensive primary health care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.
  • Works together with NACCHO and Affiliates to agree to a new formula for the provision of comprehensive primary health care funding that is relative to need.

Rationale: 

The Productivity Commission’s 2017 Indigenous Expenditure Report found that per capita government spending on Indigenous services was twice as high as for the rest of the population. The view that enormous amounts of money have been spent on Indigenous Affairs has led many to conclude a different focus is required and that money is not the answer. Yet, the key question in understanding the relativities of expenditure on Indigenous is equity of total expenditure, both public and private and in relation to need.

The Commonwealth Government spends $1.4 for every $1 spent on the rest of the population, while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have 2.3 times the per capita need of the rest of the population because of much higher levels of illness and burden of disease. In its 2018 Report Card on Indigenous Health, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) states that spending less per capita on those with worse health, is ‘untenable national policy and that must be rectified’.1 The AMA also adds that long-term failure to adequately fund primary health care – especially Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) – is a major contributing factor to failure in closing health and life expectancy gaps.

Despite the challenges of delivering services in fragmented and insufficient funding environments, studies have shown that ACCHSs deliver more cost-effective, equitable and effective primary health care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and are 23 per cent better at attracting and retaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients than mainstream providers.2 ACCHSs continue to specialise in providing comprehensive primary care consistent with clients’ needs.

This includes home and site visits; provision of medical, public health and health promotion services; allied health, nursing services; assistance with making appointments and transport; help accessing child care or dealing with the justice system; drug and alcohol services; and providing help with income support.

                                                        

1https://ama.com.au/system/tdf/documents/2018%20AMA%20Report%20Card%20on%20Indigenous%20Heal th_1.pdf?file=1&type=node&id=49617, page 6.

2 Ong, Katherine S, Rob Carter, Margaret Kelaher, and Ian Anderson. 2012. Differences in Primary Health Care

Delivery to Australia’s Indigenous Population: A Template for Use in Economic Evaluations, BMC Health

Services Research 12:307; Campbell, Megan Ann, Jennifer Hunt, David J Scrimgeour, Maureen Davey and

Victoria Jones. 2017. Contribution of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to improving Aboriginal

There are limits, however, to the extent that ACCHSs can continue to deliver quality, safe primary health care in fragmented and insufficient funding environments. This is particularly challenging to meet the health care needs of a fast-growing population.3 There is an urgent need to identify and fill the current health service gaps, particularly in primary health care, and with a focus on areas with high preventable hospital admissions and deaths and low use of the Medical Benefits Scheme and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

An appropriately resourced Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector represents an evidence-based, cost-effective and efficient solution for addressing the COAG Close the Gap and strategy and will result in gains for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health and wellbeing.

Strengthening the workforce

NACCHO welcomes COAG’s support for a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Medical Workforce Plan. A long-term plan for building the workforce capabilities of ACCHSs is overdue. Many services struggle with the recruitment and retention of suitably qualified staff, and there are gaps in the number of professionals working in the sector.

NACCHO believes that the plan will be strengthened by expanding its scope to include:

  • metropolitan based services;
  • expanding the range of workforce beyond doctors and nurses; and
  • recognising that non-Indigenous staff comprise almost half of the workforce. While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health staff are critical to improving access to culturally appropriate care and Indigenous health outcomes, consideration to the non-Indigenous workforce who contribute to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health outcomes should also be given.

An increase in the baseline funding for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, as set out in this proposal will enable our sector to plan for and build workforce capabilities in line with the Health and Medical Workforce Plan objectives.

2. Increase funding for capital works and infrastructure upgrades

Proposal:

That the Australian Government:

  • Commits to increasing funding allocated through the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme for capital works and infrastructure upgrades, and  Telehealth services; noting that at least $500m is likely to be needed to address unmet needs, based on the estimations of 38.6 per cent of the ACCHO sector, and we anticipate that those needs may be replicated across the sector (see Table A below).

Rationale: 

There is a current shortfall in infrastructure with a need for new buildings in existing and outreach locations, and renovations to increase amenities including consultation spaces. Additional funding is required for additional rooms and clinics mapped against areas of highest need with consideration to establishing satellite, outreach or permanent ACCHSs.

Many of the Aboriginal health clinics are 20 to 40 years old and require major refurbishment, capital works and updating to meet increasing population and patient numbers. The lack of consulting rooms and derelict infrastructure severely limits our services’ ability to increase MBS access.

Further, whilst there may be some scope to increase MBS billing rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, this cannot be achieved without new services and infrastructure. A vital priority is seed funding for the provision of satellite and outreach Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will access, and which provide the comprehensive services needed to fill the service gaps, to boost the use of MBS and PBS services to more equitable levels, and to reduce preventable admissions and deaths.

Improvements to the building infrastructure of ACCHSs are required to strengthen their capacity to address gaps in service provision, attract and retain clinical staff, and support the safety and accessibility of clinics and residential staff facilities. However, the level of funding of $15m per annum, under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme allocated for Capital Works – Infrastructure, Support and Assessment and Service Maintenance, is not keeping up with demand.

In our consultations with Affiliates and ACCHSs, NACCHO is increasingly hearing that

Telehealth services,[1] including infrastructure/hardware and improved connectivity, is required to support the provision of NDIS, mental health and health specialist services. A total of 22 out of 56 survey responses (see Table A below) identified the need for Telehealth to support service provision.

NACCHO believes that insufficient funding to meet capital works and infrastructure needs is adversely impacting the capacity of some ACCHSs to safely deliver comprehensive, timely and responsive primary health care; employ sufficient staff; to improve their uptake of Medicare billing; and to keep up with their accreditation requirements. In January 2019, we surveyed ACCHSs about their capital works and infrastructure needs, including Telehealth services. We received 56 responses, representing a response rate of 38.6 per cent.

 

Survey respondents estimated the total costs of identified capital works and infrastructure upgrades (see Table A below). The estimated costs have not been verified; however, they do

suggest there is a great level of unmet need in the sector. Please note that not all respondents were able to provide estimates.

Table A. Estimated costs of capital works and infrastructure upgrades identified by ACCHSs

Type Number of respondents Percentage of respondents Total estimated costs
Replace existing building 43 76.7% 207,559,043
New location/satellite clinic 21 37.5% 53,480,000
Extension 24 42.8% 18,310,000
Refurbishment 29 51.7% 35,251,000
Staff accommodation 25 44.6% 39,450,000
Telehealth services 22 39.2% 6,018,763
Total estimated costs of capital works and infrastructure upgrades $361,068,806

 

37 survey respondents applied for funding for infrastructure improvements from the Australian Government Department of Health during 2017 and/or 2018. Of the 11 that were successful, four respondents stated that the allocated funds were not sufficient for requirements.

ACCHSs believe that the current state of their service infrastructure impedes the capacity of their services as depicted in Table B, below:

Table B: Impact of ACCHSs’ infrastructure needs on service delivery

Infrastructure impeding service delivery Highly affected Somewhat affected
Safe delivery of quality health care 48.1% 51.9%
Increase client numbers 74.1% 25.9%
Expand the range of services and staff numbers 83.3% 16.7%
Increase Medicare billing 66% 34%

 

An extract of feedback provided by ACCHSs relating to their capital works and infrastructure needs is at Appendix A.

3. Improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing and community infrastructure

Proposals:

That the Australian Government:

  • Expand the funding and timeframe of the current National Partnership on Remote Housing to match AT LEAST that of the former National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing.
  • Establish and fund a program that supports healthy living environments in urban, regional and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, similar to the Fixing Houses for Better Health program. Ensure that rigorous data collection and program evaluation structures are developed and built into the program, to provide the Commonwealth Government with information to enable analysis of how housing improvements impact on health indicators.[2]
  • Update and promote the National Indigenous Housing Guide, a best practice resource for the design, construction and maintenance of housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.[3]

Rationale: 

Safe and decent housing is one of the biggest social determinants of health and we cannot overlook this when working to close the gap in life expectancy.

1. Remote Indigenous Housing

The National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing 2008-2018 was a COAG initiative that committed funding of $5.4b towards new builds, refurbishments, housing quality, cyclical maintenance, and community engagement and employment and business initiatives.

In 2016, the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing was replaced by the National Partnership on Remote Housing. Under this new partnership, the Commonwealth Government committed:

  • $776.403m in 2016, to support remote housing in the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory over a two-year period; and
  • $550m in 2018, to support remote housing in the Northern Territory, over a five-year period.

New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania are not part of discussions with the Commonwealth Government on housing needs.

A review of the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing (2018) found that:

  • An additional 5,500 homes are required by 2028 to reduce levels of overcrowding in remote areas to acceptable levels
  • A planned cyclic maintenance program, with a focus on health-related hardware and houses functioning, is required.
  • Systematic property and tenancy management needs to be faster.
  • More effort is required to mobilise the local workforces to do repairs and maintenance work.[4]

There is currently a disconnect between the levels of government investment into remote housing and the identified housing needs of remote communities. This disconnect is increasingly exacerbated by population increases in Aboriginal communities.[5]

There is a comprehensive, evidence-based literature which investigates the powerful links between housing and health, education and employment outcomes.[6] Healthy living conditions are the basis from which Closing the Gap objectives may be achieved. Commonwealth Government leadership is urgently needed to appropriately invest into remote housing.

2.Environmental health

The importance of environmental health to health outcomes is well established. A healthy living environment with adequate housing supports not only the health of individuals and families; it also enhances educational achievements, community safety and economic participation.10

Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments have a shared responsibility for housing. Overcrowding is a key contributor to poor health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In addition to overcrowding, poor and derelict health hardware (including water, sewerage, electricity) leads to the spread of preventable diseases for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Healthy homes are vital to ensuring that preventable diseases that have been eradicated in most countries do not exist in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and homes.

4. Reduce the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in out-of-home care and detention

Proposals:

That the Australian Government:

  • Establishes an additional elective within the existing Aboriginal Health Worker curriculum, that provides students with early childhood outreach, preventative health care and parenting support skills
  • Waives the upfront fees of the first 100 Indigenous students to undertake the Aboriginal Health Worker (Early Childhood stream) Certificate IV course.
  • Funds an additional 145 Aboriginal Health Worker (early childhood) places across ACCHSs.

Rationale:

The overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in the child protection system is one of the most pressing human rights challenges facing Australia today.[7]

Young people placed in out-of-home care are 16 times more likely than the equivalent general population to be under youth justice supervision in the same year.[8]

Government investment in early childhood is an urgent priority to reduce the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out of home care and youth detention. Research reveals that almost half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who are placed to out of home care are removed by the age of four[9] and, secondly, demonstrates the strong link between children and young people in detention who have both current and/or previous experiences of out of home care.[10] There is also compelling evidence of the impact of repetitive, prolonged trauma on children and young people and how, if left untreated, this may lead to mental health and substance use disorders, and intergenerational experiences of out-of-home care and exposure to the criminal justice system.15

Despite previous investments by governments, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people remain overrepresented in the children protection and youth detention systems. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Protecting Children is Everyone’s Business National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009–2020 (‘National Framework’) was established to develop a unified approach for protecting children. It recognises that ‘Australia needs a shared agenda for change, with national leadership and a common goal’.

One of the six outcomes of the National Framework is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are supported and safe in their families and communities, with this overarching goal:

Indigenous children are supported and safe in strong, thriving families and communities to reduce the over-representation of Indigenous children in child protection systems. For those Indigenous children in child protection systems, culturally appropriate care and support is provided to enhance their wellbeing.16

Findings presented in the 2018 Family Matters Report reveal, however, that the aims and objectives of the National Framework have failed to protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children make up just over 36 per cent of all children living in out-of-home care; the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-ofhome care is 10.1 times that of other children, and disproportionate representation continues to grow (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [AIHW], 2018b). Since the last Family Matters Report over-representation in out-of-home care has either increased or remained the same in every state and territory.17

Furthermore, statistics on the incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in detention facilities reveal alarmingly high trends of overrepresentation:

  • On an average night in the June quarter 2018, nearly 3 in 5 (59%) young people aged 10– 17 in detention were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, despite Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people making up only 5% of the general population aged 10–17.
  • Indigenous young people aged 10–17 were 26 times as likely as non-Indigenous young people to be in detention on an average night.
  • A higher proportion of Indigenous young people in detention were aged 10–17 than non-Indigenous young people—in the June quarter 2018, 92% of Aboriginal and Torres

Strait Islander young people in detention were aged 10–17, compared with 74% of non-

Indigenous Islander young people.18

towardtraumainfo/Orygen_trauma_and_young_people_policy_report.aspx?ext=.; https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/421531/FACS_SAR.pdf

NACCHO believes an adequately funded, culturally safe, preventative response is needed to reduce the number and proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in child protection and youth detention systems. It is vital that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families who are struggling with chronic, complex and challenging circumstances are able to access culturally appropriate, holistic, preventative services with trusted service providers that have expertise in working with whole families affected by intergenerational trauma. The child protection and justice literature are united in that best practice principles for developing solutions to these preventable problems begin with self-determination, community control, cultural safety and a holistic response.[11] For these reasons, we are proposing that the new Aboriginal Health Worker (Early Childhood) be based within the service setting of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service.

The cultural safety in which ACCHSs’ services are delivered is a key factor in their success. ACCHSs have expert understanding and knowledge of the interplays between intergenerational trauma, the social determinants of health, family violence, and institutional racism, and the risks these contributing factors carry in increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ exposure to the child protection and criminal justice systems.

Our services have developed trauma informed care responses that acknowledge historical and contemporary experiences of colonisation, dispossession and discrimination and build this knowledge into service delivery.

Further, they are staffed by health and medical professionals who understand the importance of providing a comprehensive health service, including the vital importance of regular screening and treatment for infants and children aged 0-4, and providing at risk families with early support. Within the principles, values and beliefs of the Aboriginal community controlled service model lay the groundwork for children’s better health, education, and employment outcomes. The addition of Aboriginal Health Workers with early childhood skills and training will provide an important, much needed role in preventing and reducing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young peoples’ exposure to child protection and criminal justice systems.

 

Aboriginal Peak Organisations of the Northern Territory, Submission to the Royal  

Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory, 2017

NACCHO supports the position and recommendations of Aboriginal Peak Organisations in the NT, that:

•        Aboriginal community control, empowerment and a trauma informed approach should underpin the delivery of all services to Aboriginal children and their families. This applies to service design and delivery across areas including early childhood, education, health, housing, welfare, prevention of substance misuse, family violence prevention, policing, child protection and youth justice.

•        The Australian Government develops and implements a comprehensive, adequately resourced national strategy and target, developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care.

•        There is an urgent need for a child-centred, trauma-informed and culturally relevant approach to youth justice proceedings which ultimately seeks to altogether remove the need for the detention of children.

•        Early childhood programs and related clinical and public health services are provided equitably to all Aboriginal children (across the NT) through the development and implementation of a three-tiered model of family health care – universal, targeted and indicated – to meet children’s needs from before birth to school age. Services should be provided across eight key areas:  o quality antenatal and postnatal care;

o clinical and public health services for children and families; o a nurse home visiting program; o parenting programs; o child development programs; o two years of preschool; o targeted services for vulnerable children and families; and o supportive social determinants policies.

•        These services need to be responsive to, and driven by, the community at a local level.

5. Strengthen the mental health and social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Proposal:

That the Australian Government:

  • Provide secure and long-term funding to ACCHSs to expand their mental health, social and emotional wellbeing, suicide prevention, alcohol and other drugs services, using best practice trauma informed approaches.
  • Urgently increase funding for ACCHSs to employ staff to deliver mental health and social and emotional wellbeing services, including psychologists, psychiatrists, speech pathologists, mental health workers and other professionals and workers; and
  • Urgently increase the delivery of training to Aboriginal health practitioners to establish and/or consolidate skills development in mental health care and support, including suicide prevention; and
  • Return funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention, health and wellbeing and alcohol and other drugs from the Indigenous Advancement Strategy to the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme.

Rationale: 

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has estimated that mental health and substance use are the biggest contributors to the overall burden of disease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Indigenous adults are 2.7 times more likely to experience high or very high levels of psychological distress than other Australians.[12] They are also hospitalised for mental and behavioural disorders and suicide at almost twice the rate of non-Indigenous population and are missing out on much needed mental health services.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Aboriginal people aged 5-34 years, the second leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men. In 2016, the rate of suicide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was 24 per 100,000, twice the rate for non-Indigenous Australians.[13] Aboriginal people living in the Kimberley region are seven times more likely to suicide than non-Aboriginal people.

Many Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services deliver culturally safe, trauma informed services in communities dealing with extreme social and economic disadvantage that are affected and compounded by intergenerational trauma and are supporting positive changes in the lives of their members. The case study provided by Derby Aboriginal Health Service demonstrates not only the impact that this ACCHS is having on its community. It also illustrates the rationale for each of the proposals described in this pre-budget submission.

Case Study: Derby Aboriginal Health Service, WA

Derby Aboriginal Health Service’s Social and Emotional Wellbeing Unit (SEWB) have partnered with another organisation to employ someone in our SEWB unit to work directly with families on issues that contribute to them losing their children to Department of Child Protection (DCP). This program is designed to help prevent the children from being removed by DCP by working one to one with families on issues such as budgeting, education, substance misuse, a safe and healthy home etc.

Our SEWB unit has a community engagement approach which involves working directly with clients and their families, counselling with the psychologist and mental health worker, the male Aboriginal Mental Health Worker taking men out on country trips as part of mental health activities for men, the youth at risk program (Shine), the Body Clinic, the prenatal program working directly with mums, dads and bubs around parenting, relationships between mums, dads and children etc. The team work directly with the community.

We are now introducing a new SEWB designed program into the Derby prison which focuses on exploring men and women’s strengths and abilities rather than looking at their deficits. Using a strengths based program was very successfully delivered with a group of 22 Aboriginal men and 16 Aboriginal women where, for many of the participants, they were told for the first time in their lives that they matter and that they have good things about them and they are strong men and women (this naturally brought in some behavior modification that they could attempt in making changes in their lives; e.g. one participant said that when he went home, he was going to make his wife a cup of tea instead of expecting her to make him tea – he said he had never thought of that before). The SEWB team presented this at the National Mental Health Conference in Adelaide, August last year.

Given the deep and respectful footprint the SEWB team has in the town and surrounding communities, they, and the people, deserve and need a new building in which to continue their important work. If we can help people deal with the issues above, then they will be much more empowered to prevent/deal with their own health issues – perhaps then we can Close the Gap.

Given the burden of mental, psychological distress and trauma that our communities are responding to and the impact this has on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ life expectancy, educational outcomes, and workforce participation, NACCHO believes it is imperative that a funded implementation plan for the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing

2017-2023 (‘the Framework’) be developed as a priority. The following Action Areas of the Framework relate to this proposal:

  • Action Area 1 – Strengthen the foundations (An effective and empowered mental health and social and emotional wellbeing workforce);
  • Action Area 2 – Promote wellness (all outcome areas);[14] and
  • Action Area 4 – Provide care for people who are mildly or moderately ill (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with a mild or moderate mental illness are able to access culturally and clinically appropriate primary mental health care according to need).

As the above case study suggests, our trusted local Aboriginal community controlled services are best placed to be the preferred providers of mental health, social and emotional wellbeing, and suicide prevention activities to their communities. Australian Government funding should be prioritised to on the ground Aboriginal services to deliver suicide prevention, trauma and other wellbeing services. Delivering these much-needed services through ACCHSs, rather than establishing a new service, would deliver economies of scale and would draw from an already demonstrated successful model of service delivery.

Further, NACCHO believes that the current artificial distinction between separating mental health, social and emotional wellbeing and alcohol and drug funding from primary health care funding, must be abolished. Primary health care, within the holistic health provision of ACCHS, provides the sound structure to address all aspects of health care arising from social, emotional and physical factors. Primary health care is a comprehensive approach to health in accordance with the Aboriginal holistic definition of health and arises out of the practical experience within the Aboriginal community itself having to provide effective and culturally appropriate health services to its communities.

The current artificial distinction, as exemplified by program funding for ACCHS activities being administered across two Australian Government Departments, does not support our definition of health and wellbeing. It also leads to inefficiencies and unnecessarily increases red tape, by imposing additional reporting burdens on a sector that is delivering services under challenging circumstances.     

APPENDIX A

Qualitative feedback from Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services  capital works and infrastructure needs 

The following comments from ACCHSs have been extracted from a survey administered by NACCHO in January 2019:

  • Currently at capacity and as the government focusses more on Medicare earnings and less on funding we need the ability to expand into this area as well as the NDIS in order to meet our client service needs and build sustainability.
  • The facility that our service currently occupies is state government owned, on state crown land, is over 40 years old and is ‘sick’ – it is not fit for purpose with an irreparable roof, significant asbestos contamination, water ingress, mould and recurrent power outages. The maintenance costs are an unsustainable burden, it is unreliable, unsuitable and unsafe for clients and staff, and there is no room for expansion for program and community areas. We applied for funding from the Australian Government Department of Health, but the application was not successful. This figure is inclusive of early works transportable – temporary accommodation, building works, demolition works, services infrastructure, external works, design development contingency, construction contingency, builder preliminaries and margin, loose furniture and equipment, specialist/medical equipment, ICT & PABX, AV equipment, professional including.

disbursements (to be confirmed), statutory fees, locality loading, and goods and services tax.

  • We are in need of kitchen renovations to each of our community care sites that do meals on wheels. The WA Environmental Health unit has informed us that we need to upgrade all our kitchens to meet Food Safety requirements or they will enforce closure of some of our kitchens, which would then mean we are unable to do our Meals on Wheels service in some communities
  • Currently limited by space to employ support staff and increase our GP’s, our waiting room is around 3x4m and we are always having clients standing up or waiting outside until there is space for them. We currently have three buildings in the one township with two being rentals, if we could co-locate all services, we could offer a higher level of integrated care and save wasted money on rent.
  • Not currently enough space to house staff and visiting clinicians.
  • Have been applying for grants in infrastructure and included in Action Plan for quite a few years and still not successful.
  • We need a multi-purpose building to bring together our comprehensive range of services in a way that enables community to gather, express their culture and feel safe and welcome whilst receiving a fully integrated service delivery model of supports. We have more than doubled in staffing and program delivery and are still trying to operate out of the same space. The need for further expansion is inevitable and the co-operative welcomes the opportunity to bring more services to our community, but infrastructure

is a barrier and we have taken the strategic decision to acquire vacant land near our main headquarters with the view to obtaining future infrastructure funding – it is much needed.

  • The three sites we currently lease are all commercial premises and we have to make our business fit, the buildings are not culturally appropriate nor are they designed for a clinical setting.
  • For eight years we have struggled to grow in line with our community service needs and the requirement to become more self-sufficient in the face of a funding environment which is declining in real terms (not keeping pace with CPI and wages growth). Further to this, every time we add a building our running costs go up so even capital expansion comes at a cost to the organisation as it takes time to build up to the operating capacity that the new/improved buildings provide. This is the ongoing struggle in our space.
  • Our service was established in 1999 and has been operating from an 80 year old converted holiday house, with a couple of minor extensions. The clinic does not meet the contemporary set up for an efficient clinic from viewpoint of staff, medical services and for community members. Space is very limited, and service delivery is also limited due to room availability. Demand for services both for physical and mental health/SEWB is growing strongly. We have 425 Community Members (with 70 currently in prisons in our region) and our actual patient numbers accessing services over 12 months have increased 50%.
  • We never received support or funding to acquire a purpose-built facility from the outset and as there was no suitable accommodation for rent or lease, we acquired two small houses to deliver our services from. These were totally inadequate but all we could acquire at the time. We have 31 staff accommodated through three locations and require a purpose-built facility to deliver quality primary health care to our Community.
  • Over the last two years we have been able to purchase the site it is currently located on. This site is based on five contiguous residential properties, with each property containing a 2-3 bedroom, approximately 40 year old house. Two of these houses have been joined together to form the Medical Clinic, the other three houses have all been renovated and upgraded to various levels in order to make them usable by the service. The next step in the plan is to redevelop the entire site to build an all-in-one centre to replace the current four separate buildings. In our 12 years of service we have moved from renting at a number of locations to being able to purchase our current site. The current site of old, converted residential buildings while viable in the short term, does not allow for efficient use of the site nor capacity for growth. Parking is scattered around the site, staff are scattered and continually moving from building to building to serve clients. There is no excess accommodation capacity to allow for growth of services. Our intention is to re-develop the site to house all staff in one building, which will be configured for growth over the long term and allow efficient use of the available grounds for parking, an Elders shed, and so on.
  • We have run out of room. Every office is shared, including the CEO’s office. We can’t hire any staff – nowhere to house them. Whenever a visiting service is operating – GP clinic, podiatry, optometry, audiology, chiropractor etc, offices have to be vacated to house

them, displaced staff basically have nowhere to go. Fine balancing act to schedule things to displace as few people as possible.

  • We are currently located in two refurbished community buildings as there is no suitable accommodation for lease. Our organisation is growing very quickly, and we need all services located under one roof – one identity, one culture.
  • Rapidly reaching the point where services will be diminished because of failing infrastructure or insufficient housing for the nursing staff required.
  • Some clinical rooms are not fit for purpose. Clinicians working from rooms without hand washing facilities. Medical Clinic is old, out of date, some rooms not fit for purpose, ineffective air conditioning, clinical staff sharing rooms, no room for expansion, difficult to house students due to lack of appropriate space.
  • We have made a number of applications to improve infrastructure, and to replace current infrastructure, all have been unsuccessful, in some cases we have purchase buildings & land to try and demonstrate a commitment to ongoing growth and servicing of clients. We get little feedback in relation to funding applications.
  • Spread across three sites with some providers having to share rooms and staff being required to work outside on laptops at times. Desperately needing to build a purposebuilt facility in order to stop paying high amounts of rent and allow effective primary health care to an increasing client number.

Derby Aboriginal Health Service

The Derby Aboriginal Health Service (DAHS) Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) unit is housed in a 60+ year old asbestos building that was originally a family home. It has an old and small transport unit connected to the house by an exposed verandah. There are 6 staff working from the house who provide individual and family counselling and support. The clients who come to SEWB experience mental health issues, family violence, poverty, Department of Child Protection (DCP) issues around removal of children, alcohol and other drug issues and supporting those released from the Derby local Prison (approx. 200 prisoners). It is difficult to safely secure SEWB to the extent it is required given the age and asbestos nature of the building (security alarms etc). In the photos, you can see the buildings are old and are of asbestos. The transportable out the back houses the manager who is also the psychologist – this means she is in a vulnerable position when counselling should the session not go as planned (potential for a violent situation – see photo showing external verandah connecting to the donga).

The size of the house means that counselling clients privately is difficult as everything happens in close quarters. The number of clients the team work with exceeds the capacity of the building which impacts on the number of Aboriginal clients the team can help. The SEWB building has been broken into a number of times the last being during the long weekend in September 2018 where significant damage was done. Given the age of the house, during the past 18 months, parts of the internal ceiling including cornices have been falling away from the structures creating potential issues of asbestos fibre being released into the air. In addition, there are plumbing problems and the wooden floor is becoming a safety issue in one area of the building.

SEWB runs a vulnerable youth programme (the Shine Group) and a Body Shop clinic for youth who will not attend the main clinic for shame and fear reasons (special appointments are made with a doctor so that the young person doesn’t have to wait in the waiting area. In addition, a doctor runs a monthly session at the SEWB building with youth around health education and also sees them if there is a clinical need). These programmes run out of another 60+ year old asbestos family house some distance from the main SEWB house. Not only is the house not suitable but there may be security risks for the staff member working with vulnerable youth.  The Shine House was also broken into in September 2018 where significant damage was done (see photos).

The DAHS main building has no further office or other space to house staff.  This is particularly the case for 2019 as DAHS takes on new programmes (e.g. 2 staff for the new Syphilis Programme).  DAHS is acutely aware of the need to source funding to build new administration offices in order to release current admin offices for clinical and programme purposes.

DAHS requires a new or upgraded SEWB building. DAHS first applied for service maintenance funding in March 2017 but were unsuccessful. DAHS applied in June 2018 for Capital Works but were unsuccessful because it didn’t fit in with IAHP Primary Health Care as it was about mental health. DAHS also paid for an Architect to draw up the plans for a new SEWB building.  It is my view that one of the main issues is that the government separates SEWB from primary health care.

Social and emotional wellbeing issues CANNOT be separated from primary health care.  As is well known, a person’s SEWB impacts on the physical health of an individual.  Physical illhealth is frequently caused by the SEWB condition of an individual (i.e. historical and current experiences of trauma frequently commencing in the pre-natal phase of a child’s life, family violence, alcohol and other drug use, smoking, anxiety, removal of children, mental health issues etc). Aboriginal people suffer greatly from SEWB issues which impacts on their overall physical health.  Mental health in all its forms is part and parcel of physical health so it must be included in primary health care.

However, both state and commonwealth governments do not seem to prioritise or even support funding for SEWB (such as service and maintenance work, capital works or funding to continue key positions in the SEWB team – in fact, the government actively separates funding for SEWB and primary health care).  DAHS also provides clinical services to 7 remote communities most of whom are up to 400 kms away with Kandiwal Community 600kms away where we supply a fly in/fly out clinical service. There are many demands placed on a team of SEWB workers stationed in a working environment that does not allow them to function to the best of their abilities or offer increased services to our clients. Passion for the cause alone does not help in Closing the Gap. Working with one hand tied behind one’s back is not effective in reducing mental health issues and chronic diseases.

Part of an upgrade we requested was to renovate reception to make it safer for receptionist staff and to increase confidentiality when clients speak with reception staff (it also doesn’t meet the needs of disabled clients). There are a number of times throughout the year when receptionist staff are verbally abused with threats of physical harm. The current reception was designed prior to more recent events of aggression exhibited by clients under the influence of drugs.  The design now enables abusive clients to quite easily reach across the reception counter and hurt staff or can jump over the same counter to gain access to staff.  In addition, given there is no screen and the current open nature of the reception area, sharing confidential information can be compromised. DAHS applied for services and maintenance funding to make the changes but were unsuccessful.

[1] ACCHSs may apply for Telehealth funding through the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme, Governance and System Effectiveness: Sector Support activity.

[2] https://www.anao.gov.au/work/performanceaudit/indigenoushousinginitiativesfixinghousesbetterhealthprogram  

[3] http://web.archive.org/web/20140213221536/http://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/05_201 2/housing_guide_info_intro.pdf  

[4] https://www.pmc.gov.au/resourcecentre/indigenousaffairs/remotehousingreview, page 3.

[5] https://www.caac.org.au/uploads/pdfs/CongressHousingandHealthDiscussionPaperFinalMarch2018.pdf

[6] https://www.pmc.gov.au/resourcecentre/indigenousaffairs/healthperformanceframework2017report; https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2011/195/11/closinggapandindigenoushousing;  https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2016/02/housingkeyclosinggap/; https://ama.com.au/positionstatement/aboriginalandtorresstraitislanderhealthrevised2015; https://www.caac.org.au/uploads/pdfs/CongressHousingandHealthDiscussionPaperFinalMarch2018.pdf. 10 https://www.anao.gov.au/work/performanceaudit/indigenoushousinginitiativesfixinghousesbetterhealthprogram  

[7] Australia Human Rights Commission Social Justice and Native Title Report 2015, cited in the Australian Law

Reform Commission publication, Pathways to JusticeInquiry into the Incarceration Rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (ALRC Report 133)https://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/crossoverouthomecaredetention.

[8] https://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/crossoverouthomecaredetention; https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/06341e00a08f4a0b9d33d6c4cf1e3379/aihwcsi025.pdf.aspx?inline=true  

[9] https://www.snaicc.org.au/ensuring-fair-start-children-need-dedicated-funding-stream-aboriginal-torresstrait-islander-early-years-sector/

[10] https://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/crossoverouthomecaredetention;

https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/intersectionbetweenchildprotectionandyouthjusticesystems 15 https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/sites/default/files/publicationdocuments/cfcapracticebraindevelopmentv6040618.pdf; https://www.orygen.org.au/PolicyAdvocacy/PolicyReports/TraumaandyoungpeopleMoving

[11] http://www.familymatters.org.au/wpcontent/uploads/2018/11/FamilyMattersReport2018.pdf; Thorburn, Kathryn and Melissa Marshall. 2017. The Yiriman Project in the West Kimberley: an example of justice reinvestment? Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse, Current Initiatives Paper 5; McCausland, Ruth, Elizabeth McEntyre, Eileen Baldry. 2017. Indigenous People, Mental Health, Cognitive Disability and the

Criminal Justice System. Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse. Brief 22; AMA Report Card on Indigenous Health 2015. Treating the high rates of imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a symptom of the health gap: an integrated approach to both; Richards, Kelly, Lisa Rosevear and Robyn Gilbert. 2011.

Promising interventions for reducing Indigenous juvenile offending. Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse, Brief 10.

[12] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2018. Australia’s Health 2018. Australia’s health series no. 16. AUS 221. Canberra: AIHW.

[13] Ibid

[14] Outcome areas: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and cultures are strong and support social and emotional wellbeing and mental health; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families are strong and supported; Infants get the best possible developmental start to life and mental health; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people get the services and support they need to thrive and grow into mentally healthy adults.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #SaveADate 29 January : Download the 53 page @Zockmelon 2019 Health awareness days/weeks/events calendar HERE : plus @NRHAlliance @LowitjaInstitut Conferences #HealthyLunchboxWeek #MyHealthRecord Opt out closes 31 Jan

Download the 2019 Health Awareness Days Calendar 

Jan 20-31 Healthy Lunchbox Week

24 January :  2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round opens

31 January 2019 The opt-out period for My Health Record ends 

14 February Aboriginal Men’s Gathering 

20 February IAHA 2019 Special General Meeting Web Conference.

14 – 15 March 2019 Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 – National Conference 2019

24 -27 March National Rural Health Alliance Conference

18 -20 June Lowitja Health Conference Darwin

2019 Dr Tracey Westerman’s Workshops 

 

Download the 2019 Health Awareness Days

For many years ACCHO organisations have said they wished they had a list of the many Indigenous “ Days “ and Aboriginal health or awareness days/weeks/events.

With thanks to our friends at ZockMelon here they both are!

It even has a handy list of the hashtags for the event.

Download the 53 Page 2019 Health days and events calendar HERE

naccho zockmelon 2019 health days and events calendar

We hope that this document helps you with your planning for the year ahead.

Every Tuesday we will update these listings with new events and What’s on for the week ahead

To submit your events or update your info

Contact: Colin Cowell www.nacchocommunique.com

NACCHO Social Media Editor Tel 0401 331 251

Email : nacchonews@naccho.org.au

Jan 20-31 Healthy Lunchbox Week

Healthy Lunchbox Week is a Nutrition Australia initiative that aims to inspire parents and carers across Australia to create healthy lunchboxes their children will enjoy.

Did you know children consume around 30% of their daily food intake at school? Most of this comes from the contents of their lunchbox. What children eat during their day at school plays a crucial role in their learning and development.

Healthy Lunchbox Week helps families prepare healthy lunchboxes by:

  • inspiring healthy lunchbox ideas and recipes
  • ensuring a healthy lunchbox balance across core food groups
  • awareness of lunchbox food hygiene and safety

Why 20 – 26 January?

We know each state starts their school year at a different time. Healthy Lunchbox Week dates are based on the week before the first state goes back to school.

Check out our #HealthyLunchboxWeek website for recipes, inspo and more! https://www.healthylunchboxweek.org/

24 January :  2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round opens 

The opening of the 2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round has been moved forward! The National NAIDOC Grants will now officially open on Thursday 24 January 2019.

Head to www.naidoc.org.au to join the National NAIDOC Mailing List and keep up with all things grants or check out the below links for more information now!

https://www.finance.gov.au/resource-management/grants/grantconnect/

https://www.pmc.gov.au/indigenous-affairs/grants-and-funding/naidoc-week-funding

31 January 2019 The opt-out period for My Health Record ends 

Did you know that is already helping millions of Australians manage their health information? 6.45 million Australians already have a record, with 10 million clinical records uploaded.

The opt-out period for My Health Record ends on 31 January 2019

Our thanks to the Consumer Health Forum for sharing this info

The My Health Record website is a good resource, and the help line is available 24/7 on 1800 723 471. The help line can answer many general questions, as well as assist with opting out or making changes to your record if you already have one: https://myhealthrecord.gov.au

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) also have a number of good resources on My Health Record, particularly on privacy and how to make a complaint:https://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy-law/other-legislation/my-health-records

State and territory health departments also have some further location specific information available on how My Health Record works. While the number of hospital systems and health providers connected to the system is rapidly increasing, not all of those who are connected are able to access the full range of information held in a person’s record yet.

If you are interested in what the experience of using My Health Record will be like in your area, below are good places to start.

If you choose not to opt-out then a record will be created for you in February. More information about how to opt-out is available on the My Health Record website or through their help line, 1800 723 471. In some areas, mostly rural, physical forms are also available from Australia Post outlets.

If you don’t opt-out, or already have a record, and decide you no longer want it you can cancel your record. To cancel a record you can call the help line above, or access your My Health Record through MyGov and finding the right option under your ‘Profile and Settings’ tab. More information on cancelling a record is available here:

https://www.myhealthrecord.gov.au/for-you-your-family/howtos/cancel-my-record

 

14 February Aboriginal Men’s Gathering 

15 February NACCHO RACGP Survey closes 

Survey until 15 Feb 2019 : To participate in a short survey, please CLICK HERE

Please tell us your ideas for

-improving quality of 715 health checks

-clinical software -implementation of the National Guide

-culturally responsive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

In 2018–19, NACCHO and the RACGP are working on further initiatives and we want your input!

More info 

20 February IAHA 2019 Special General Meeting Web Conference.

The Indigenous Allied Health Australia Ltd (IAHA) Board would like to thank you for your continued support of IAHA and invite you to participate in the special General Meeting of IAHA to be held at 1:00 pm (Canberra time) on Wednesday 20 February 2019 at Units 3-4, Ground Floor, 9-11 Napier Close, Deakin ACT 2600.

Attending General Meeting using Zoom conferencing

Members have the option to attend the General Meeting using “Zoom” remote conferencing services by video or voice link.  Instructions to help use Zoom are available here and detailed below.

To join the meeting go to:
https://zoom.us/j/313336712

OR One tap mobile
+61280152088,,313336712# Australia
+61871501149,,313336712# Australia

Dial by your location
+61 2 8015 2088 Australia
+61 8 7150 1149 Australia
Meeting ID: 313 336 712

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/adnswZr8cW

Agenda for General Meeting

The key items for the General Meeting are to consider and vote on resolutions to:

  • remove IAHA’s current auditor and appoint a replacement auditor; and
  • amend IAHA’s company constitution.

Documents for the meeting

The documents for the meeting are:

  • A letter to Members from the Company Secretary with details of the special General Meeting and how to participate click here
  • Notice of General Meeting (including the Explanatory Notes and Proxy Form) click here;
  • a letter from an IAHA Member nominating a new company auditor click here; and
  • a copy of IAHA’s company constitution, with marked-up text to show the proposed changes to be considered by Members, click here.

Members will be required to use their own computer hardware and software to access this facility and are solely responsible for connecting to the conference by 1:00 pm (Canberra time) on the meeting day.

RSVP if you intend to attend/participate
in the special General Meeting

Members who plan to attend the meeting either in person or through Zoom are asked to register for the meeting.

Please email the Company Secretary at secretary@iaha.com.au to register, preferably by 1:00pm Monday 18 February 2019.

14 – 15 March 2019 Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 – National Conference 2019

Indigenous Eye Health (IEH) at the University of Melbourne and co-host Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT), are pleased to invite you to register for the Close the Gap for Vision by 2020:Strengthen & Sustain – National Conference 2019 which will be held at the Alice Springs Convention Centre on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 March 2019 in the Northern Territory. This conference is also supported by our partners, Vision 2020 Australia, Optometry Australia and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.

The 2019 conference, themed ‘Strengthen & Sustain’ will provide opportunity to highlight the very real advances being made in Aboriginal and Torres Strait eye health. It will explore successes and opportunities to strengthen eye care and initiatives and challenges to sustain progress towards the goal of equitable eye care by 2020. To this end, the conference will include plenary speakers, panel discussions and presentations as well as upskilling workshops and cultural experiences.

Registration (including workshops, welcome reception and conference dinner) is $250. Registrations close on 28 February 2019.

Who should attend?

The conference is designed to bring people together and connect people involved in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye care from local communities, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, health services, non-government organisations, professional bodies and government departments from across the country. We would like to invite everyone who is working on or interested in improving eye health and care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Speakers will be invited, however this year we will also be calling for abstracts for Table Top presentations and Poster presentations – further details on abstract submissions to follow.

Please share and forward this information with colleagues and refer people to this webpage where the conference program and additional informationwill become available in the lead up to the conference. Note: Please use the conference hashtag #CTGV19.

We look forward to you joining us in the Territory in 2019 for learning and sharing within the unique beauty and cultural significance of Central Australia.

Additional Information:

If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact us at indigenous-eyehealth@unimelb.edu.au or contact IEH staff Carol Wynne (carol.wynne@unimelb.edu.au; 03 8344 3984 email) or Mitchell Anjou (manjou@unimelb.edu.au; 03 8344 9324).

Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: Strengthen & Sustain – National Conference 2019 links:

– Conference General Information

– Conference Program

– Conference Dinner & Leaky Pipe Awards

– Staying in Alice Springs

More information available at: go.unimelb.edu.au/wqb6 

24 -27 March National Rural Health Alliance Conference

Interested in the health and wellbeing of rural or remote Australia?

This is the conference for you.

In March 2019 the rural health sector will gather in Hobart for the 15th National Rural Conference.  Every two years we meet to learn, listen and share ideas about how to improve health outcomes in rural and remote Australia.

Proudly managed by the National Rural Health Alliance, the Conference has a well-earned reputation as Australia’s premier rural health event.  Not just for health professionals, the Conference recognises the critical roles that education, regional development and infrastructure play in determining health outcomes, and we welcome people working across a wide variety of industries.

Join us as we celebrate our 15th Conference and help achieve equitable health for the 7 million Australians living in rural and remote areas.

Hobart and its surrounds was home to the Muwinina people who the Alliance acknowledges as the traditional and original owners of this land.  We pay respect to those that have passed before us and acknowledge today’s Tasmanian Aboriginal community as the custodians of the land on which we will meet.

More info 

20 -24 May 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference. Gold Coast

Thank you for your interest in the 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference.

The 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference will bring together Indigenous leaders, government, industry and academia representing Housing, health, and education from around the world including:

  • National and International Indigenous Organisation leadership
  • Senior housing, health, and education government officials Industry CEOs, executives and senior managers from public and private sectors
  • Housing, Healthcare, and Education professionals and regulators
  • Consumer associations
  • Academics in Housing, Healthcare, and Education.

The 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference #2019WIHC is the principal conference to provide a platform for leaders in housing, health, education and related services from around the world to come together. Up to 2000 delegates will share experiences, explore opportunities and innovative solutions, work to improve access to adequate housing and related services for the world’s Indigenous people.

Event Information:

Key event details as follows:
Venue: Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
Address: 2684-2690 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach QLD 4218
Dates: Monday 20th – Thursday 23rd May, 2019 (24th May)

Registration Costs

  • EARLY BIRD – FULL CONFERENCE & TRADE EXHIBITION REGISTRATION: $1950 AUD plus booking fees
  • After 1 February FULL CONFERENCE & TRADE EXHIBITION REGISTRATION $2245 AUD plus booking fees

PLEASE NOTE: The Trade Exhibition is open Tuesday 21st May – Thursday 23rd May 2019

Please visit www.2019wihc.com for further information on transport and accommodation options, conference, exhibition and speaker updates.

Methods of Payment:

2019WIHC online registrations accept all major credit cards, by Invoice and direct debit.
PLEASE NOTE: Invoices must be paid in full and monies received by COB Monday 20 May 2019.

Please note: The 2019 WIHC organisers reserve the right of admission. Speakers, programs and topics are subject to change. Please visit http://www.2019wihc.com for up to date information.

Conference Cancellation Policy

If a registrant is unable to attend 2019 WIHC for any reason they may substitute, by arrangement with the registrar, someone else to attend in their place and must attend any session that has been previously selected by the original registrant.

Where the registrant is unable to attend and is not in a position to transfer his/her place to another person, or to another event, then the following refund arrangements apply:

    • Registrations cancelled less than 60 days, but more than 30 days before the event are eligible for a 50% refund of the registration fees paid.
    • Registrations cancelled less than 30 days before the event are no longer eligible for a refund.

Refunds will be made in the following ways:

  1. For payments received by credit or debit cards, the same credit/debit card will be refunded.
  2. For all other payments, a bank transfer will be made to the payee’s nominated account.

Important: For payments received from outside Australia by bank transfer, the refund will be made by bank transfer and all bank charges will be for the registrant’s account. The Cancellation Policy as stated on this page is valid from 1 October 2018.

Terms & Conditions

please visit www.2019wihc.com

Privacy Policy

please visit www.2019wihc.com

 

18 -20 June Lowitja Health Conference Darwin


At the Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2019 delegates from around the world will discuss the role of First Nations in leading change and will showcase Indigenous solutions.

The conference program will highlight ways of thinking, speaking and being for the benefit of Indigenous peoples everywhere.

Join Indigenous leaders, researchers, health professionals, decision makers, community representatives, and our non-Indigenous colleagues in this important conversation.

More Info 

2019 Dr Tracey Westerman’s Workshops 

More info and dates

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #MyHealthRecord : Report from the @AuDigitalHealth : Navigating digital health – where we’ve been 2018 , and where we’re going 2019 and beyond

 ” On 26 November 2018, the Australian Parliament passed the My Health Records Amendment (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018.

The measures allow Australians to opt in or opt out of having a My Health Record at any time during their life. Records will be created for every Australian who wants one after 31 January 2019. After this date, a person can delete their record permanently at any time.

These changes are in response to the Australian community’s calls for even stronger privacy and security protections for people using My Health Record.

These changes are summarised Part 2 below 

Part 1 Australian Digital Health Agency News

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

This special report shares some insights about what’s on the horizon for digital health in Australia.

The Agency is tasked with improving health outcomes for all Australians through the delivery of digital healthcare systems, and implementing Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy – Safe, Seamless, and Secure: evolving health and care to meet the needs of modern Australia. in collaboration with partners across the community.

The Agency is the System Operator of My Health Record, and provides leadership, coordination, and delivery of a collaborative and innovative approach to utilising technology to support and enhance a clinically safe and connected national health system.

These improvements will give individuals more control of their health and their health information, and support healthcare providers to deliver informed healthcare through access to current clinical and treatment information.

Further information: www.digitalhealth.gov.au

Where we’ve been…2018

2018 has been a watershed year for digital health in Australia. The transition of the My Health Record system to opt out, and the national conversation that ensued, has well and truly brought the topic of digital health into the public consciousness.

As we look ahead to next year, we project that over 90% of Australia’s population will have a My Health Record from February onwards. This will mean that health and care providers can implement safe and efficient digitally enabled clinical workflows on the safe assumption that most of their patients will have their own shared digital health record. The My Health Record system will become a focal element of Australia’s digital health infrastructure, as well as providing a platform for additional innovations into the future.

Other notable milestones from 2018 include the inaugural Global Digital Health Partnership Summit and Symposium in February, the secure messaging industry collaboration workshops in June and November, the official launch of the National Digital Health Strategy in July, and the release of the Digital Health Evidence Review in October. Many other projects are underway in various stages of development; we look forward to announcing their outcomes as they come to fruition.

We also celebrated our second birthday and took feedback from our team on how we should operate into the future, with a new structure and changes in our governance that we’ll implement shortly. We completed our second OCI staff survey and achieved over a 70% completion rate, and are currently analysing the results to help us become an even more effective organisation.

… And where we’re going 2019

The Agency’s work plan for the coming year builds upon the results of previous initiatives in multiple streams, adhering to the long term vision laid out in the National Digital Health Strategy.

As the foundations of Australia’s digital health ecosystem are put into place, it becomes possible to develop and implement new models of care that leverage the capabilities of these foundations. One of these projects is the Children’s Digital Health Collaborative, a joint venture between the Agency, eHealth NSW and the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network. As Steve Badham reports in this issue of #Share, the Collaborative is now establishing pilot sitesin Western NSW and the Blacktown region of Sydney to connect with local families and discover their needs.

Interoperability between clinical systems is a theme that will gain prominence in the coming year. As Brad McCulloch explains in this issue, interoperability is never achieved in a single step. But like the proverbial journey of a thousand miles, that is where it begins.

Progress towards a national secure clinical messaging system is well underwaySari McKinnon reports. June’s industry workshop laid the foundations for further collaboration and agreement, and the recent follow-up workshop in November built upon this groundwork.

Implementing digital health is about more than just technologies, workflows and industry standards. Above all, it’s about people. In this issue Rodney Ecclestone tells us about the Agency’s Clinical Reference Leads, our cohort of clinical experts who help to ensure that our policies, programs and their outputs deliver maximum value to Australia’s clinicians and the patients they serve.

Read over 40 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and My Health Records articles HERE

Part 2 On 26 November 2018, the Australian Parliament passed the My Health Records Amendment (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018.

The measures allow Australians to opt in or opt out of having a My Health Record at any time during their life. Records will be created for every Australian who wants one after 31 January 2019. After this date, a person can delete their record permanently at any time.

These changes are in response to the Australian community’s calls for even stronger privacy and security protections for people using My Health Record.

These changes are summarised on this page.

Use of My Health Record information by employers and insurers

The Australian Digital Health Agency will not approve the release of an individual’s personal or health information to a third party except where it is related to the provision of healthcare or is otherwise authorised or required by law.

The new measures ensure that insurers and employers are prohibited from using information within your My Health Record, or asking you to disclose your information, for insurance or employment purposes.

The primary purpose of My Health Record is to improve your care, and the use of your information for insurance and employment purposes is not healthcare.

Access by law enforcement and government agencies

Under the Agency’s official operating policy, no information within My Health Record can be released without an order from a judicial officer. To date, the Agency has never received such a request and has never released information.

Under these measures, the Agency’s policy will be protected in law and will give Australians the assurance that no information can ever be released without oversight from a judicial officer.

Permanent deletion of a cancelled My Health Record

You will be able to permanently delete a My Health Record at any time, if you decide you would no longer like one.  No archived copy or back up will be kept and deleted information won’t be able to be recovered.

A My Health Record that was cancelled in the past (and archived) will also be permanently deleted. If you cancel a record at any time it will be permanently deleted.

Greater privacy for teenagers aged 14­ and over

Under these measures, once a teenager turns 14, parents will automatically be removed as authorised representatives.

Increased penalties for misuse of information

Harsher fines and penalties will apply for inappropriate or unauthorised use of information in a My Health Record. Civil fines will increase to a maximum of $315,000, with criminal penalties including up to 5 years’ jail time.

Strengthening protections for victims of domestic and family violence

There are currently safeguards in place to protect victims of domestic and family violence. Under the changes, the Agency will no longer be obliged to notify people of certain decisions if doing so would put another person at risk.

In addition, parents subject to a court order, where they do not have unsupervised access to their child, or who pose a risk to the life, health and safety of the child or another person will no longer be eligible to be an Authorised Representative.

We will continue to work and consult with relevant stakeholders to continually reduce misuse of the My Health Record system.

Government agencies involved in managing the My Health Record system

These changes clarify that our powers as the System Operator of My Health Record can’t be delegated to another entity (e.g. government agency or private organisation) with the exception of the Department of Health and the Chief Executive of Medicare.

We already delegate some of our powers to Medicare so they can efficiently deliver some services on our behalf. For example, Medicare currently:

  • Register healthcare providers organisations and other participants so they can access My Health Record
  • Verify individuals’ identity prior to opting out
  • Send written notifications to people when certain actions are taken, such as when people opt-in to My Health Record.

We have also delegated powers to the Department of Health to provide education on our behalf.

These changes will provide Australians with greater assurances that only government agencies involved in the efficient delivery of My Health Record are involved in managing the system.

Use of My Health Record data for research purposes

The My Health Record system is a valuable source of information on Australia’s health system and the outcomes of care being achieved. This information can guide service planning, policy development and research to further improve the Australian health system.

The principles contained within the Framework to guide the secondary uses of data will become law (within the My Health Record Rules). A Data Governance Board will be established to approve the release of any data in line with these rules.

Lastly, it will also be clarified that insurers cannot access data for any reason.

No commercial use of My Health Record data

The legislation makes clear that the My Health Record system cannot be privatised or used for commercial purposes. Only a government organisation will be able to manage the My Health Record system.

Part 3 International review puts Australia ahead in personal control of electronic health records

An international comparison review of digital health record systems shows My Health Record consumers in Australia have more ability to personally control their digital health information than in similar countries worldwide.

The Digital Health Evidence Review, released by the Australian Digital Health Agency, brings together studies comparing My Health Record with similar systems across the world, including those in France, the UK, the USA and New Zealand.

“We know through the important national conversation that is currently occurring that Australians expect and deserve strong safeguards, choice and control when it comes to their personal information,” says Agency Chief Medical Adviser, Professor Meredith Makeham.

“As the Agency responsible for My Health Record, we need to continue to improve the system in consultation with the Australian community and their healthcare providers.”

With the Australian My Health Record system, people have among the most choice in how their medical information, such as their tests and scans, are stored and accessed from an international perspective.

“Although many countries have laws that allow users to view their health information, only Australia and a handful of other countries have laws that allow citizens to control who sees their information and request corrections to their own health data,” says Makeham.

My Health Record is an online summary of a person’s key health information. It allows Australians to share their health information with doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers from anywhere, at any time. They can control access to their My Health Record including what information gets uploaded and which family members, carers or healthcare providers have access.

Out of the 50 countries surveyed, the Digital Health Evidence Review found:

  • Only Australia and France allow individuals to edit or author parts of their record
  • Only 32 per cent of surveyed countries have legislation in place that allow individuals to request corrections to their data.
  • Only 28 per cent of surveyed countries have legislation that allows individuals to specify which healthcare providers can access their data.

“This review demonstrates the My Health Record empowers consumers to personally control their information, including what’s in it and who can see it,” says Professor Makeham.

Research Australia CEO Nadia Levin has welcomed the review.

“There is great value in sharing information about the My Health Record system and similar digital platforms around the world. This information can support researchers, policy makers and the community in understanding the way personal health records can support better health outcomes and health system improvements, while considering the necessary controls required to build trust in such a system” Ms Levin says.

University of Melbourne Professor of Primary Care Research and General Practitioner Jane Gunn says she supports the development and ongoing review of clinical evidence, as it will drive improvements in the digital health system.

“Sharing evidence about the way My Health Record and similar international personal health records are used will support clinicians in understanding the benefits of shared health data.

“As a practicing GP I can see how My Health Record has the potential to inform better care coordination for my patients, and save valuable time searching for information we need to make safe clinical decisions,” says Professor Gunn.

Professor Meredith Makeham says the Review deepens our understanding of the way shared health records are being developed and implemented in Australia and internationally.

“We need to understand the strength of the current evidence supporting the use of personal health records, and where we see gaps in the evidence base.

“This is important to guide future efforts, working with the research community and others to build our knowledge and inform future digital health service development and investment,” Professor Makeham said.

The Review drew on a variety of research sources, including academic peer-reviewed literature, government reports and white papers, World Health Organization (WHO) data, and other information sourced from international governments and agencies responsible for the delivery of digital health services.

More than six million Australians already have a My Health Record and 13,956 healthcare professional organisations are connected. This includes general practices, hospitals, pharmacies, diagnostic imaging and pathology practices.

More information on My Health Record can be found at www.myhealthrecord.gov.au. People who do not want a My Health Record can opt out by visiting the My Health Record website or calling 1800 723 471 for phone-based assistance. Additional support is available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people from non‐English speaking backgrounds, people with limited digital literacy and those living in rural or remote regions.

The Digital Health Evidence Review can be accessed at www.digitalhealth.gov.au/evidence-review.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #MyHealthRecord : Download the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Report on the My Health Record system with the 14 Recommendations

 

 ” This committee inquiry received 118 submissions and we heard some very significant points of view in the committee.

We held three hearings. I think that the number of submissions demonstrates the importance of My Health Record to the community and also the importance of getting it right. Also, it’s very clear that the community want their concerns to be heard, and we did hear many.

Although we did hear many concerns, overall it’s fair to say that the purpose of the My Health Record system is supported.”

Senator SIEWERT 

Download the 100 Page Report 

My Health Record Senate Report

Recommendations : The committee recommends that the Australian Government commit additional funding for a broad-based education campaign regarding My Health Record, with particular regard to communicating with vulnerable and hard to reach communities

12 of 14 Recommendations see in full Part 1 below

 ” The ACHWA recommended that consideration be given to funding the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to provide assistance to Aboriginal people to  access and manage their record. ACHWA noted that a number of practical limitations would impact on the ability of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to manage the privacy settings on their MHR:

While the client can change the privacy functions, there are issues with Aboriginal people especially those in remote locations having reliable digital/electronic/phone connectivity e.g. with the Helpline, waiting times can be long, the client may not have a phone, and there may be not mobile phone connectivity.101

Extracts from report referring to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health see Part 2 Below

The Senate Community Affairs References Committee’s report criticised the Australian Digital Health Agency’s information strategy, saying it had failed to give people enough information to make informed choices about the planned opt-out system.

The committee’s recommendations chime with many doctors’ concerns over the current MHR design regarding security and patient awareness.

RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said the problems had arisen due to the shift from an opt-in system to opt-out without adequate attention to safeguards.

“It’s clear that the privacy provisions in the current legislation are not sufficient. As it is now, we cannot support it,” Dr Nespolon told The Medical Republic.

“Whether the politicians take 12 months to sort it out, or 24 months, or six months, we would prefer they sort it out sooner rather than later.”

Coalition senators on the committee issued a dissenting report opposing the 12-month freeze and the adoption of default access codes. They argued that the use of access codes would impede clinicians and only pose more security risks if, for example, people were sent PINs by post or email.

Health Minister Greg Hunt, who earlier called the senate inquiry a “stunt”, rejected the call for a 12-month suspension.

But Labor’s health spokeswoman, Catherine King, said the My Health Record should not proceed until public confidence was restored.

She agreed with the report’s contention that “an unreasonable compromise may have been struck between ensuring the utility of the system and safeguarding the privacy and safety of healthcare recipients”.

Senator SIEWERT Continued 

People recognise the benefits that a properly—and I reiterate the word ‘properly’—executed digital record will have for both individuals and the broader public health for our community. If properly executed, the system may lead to improvements in the quality of health care and health outcomes for many Australians.

The committee makes 14 recommendations, which, if implemented, we certainly think would lead to significant changes to My Health Record.

The report shows the need for improvement to the current legislation and, in some cases, the approach, and it was one of the bases for which Senators Di Natale and Watt moved a motion calling on the government to extend the opt-out period earlier today until the amended legislation can be passed.

We talk about the opt-out period in this report. Again, I’d like to encourage the government to extend the opt-out period. That’s certainly something a lot of people want to see.

A key theme of these recommendations, and something the committee kept hearing, is the need to ensure that the information in the record is used for a person’s health only, not for the benefit or purposes of an employer—and we heard some concerning evidence about the possibility there; although we acknowledge that that’s, in fact, not the government’s intent—and/or the government to recoup revenue or any commercial purposes.

The committee recommends these changes be enshrined in legislation.

Another key theme was for the Australian Digital Health Agency to, as much as possible, ensure that Australians understand their records and how to use them. It was very obvious that there are a lot of Australians who don’t understand the records or how to use them. A number of witnesses noted that the record appears to be based on the assumption that individuals have a high level of health literacy.

Submitters expressed concern about the ability of the average consumer to opt out of the record or set appropriate privacy settings, and they noted low levels of digital literacy among some groups of consumers.

While the Australian Digital Health Agency and the Department of Health both provided evidence about the information they are providing to consumers about My Health Record, it was notable that many community and consumer groups did not feel that this was necessarily sufficient.

Accordingly, the report recommends that the Australian Digital Health Agency revise its media strategy to provide more targeted comprehensive education about My Health Record.

As I articulated earlier, many people are supportive of the move to the digital health record, but we have to get it right, and that’s what we note in the report.

The committee has listened to the voices of Australians about My Health Record, and we encourage the government to do the same and respond to these recommendations. From the Australian Greens point of view, we remain supportive of the move to the digital health record, but we want to make sure we get it right. I encourage the government to look at these recommendations.

They’re put forward by the committee in the spirit of trying to make sure that we make this system as effective and useful as possible for individuals and the provision of healthcare in our community.

Part 1

Recommendation 1

The committee recommends that record access codes should be applied to each My Health Record as a default and that individuals should be required to choose to remove the code. The committee further recommends that the ability to override access codes in the case of an emergency should only be available to registered healthcare providers for use in extraordinary and urgent situations.

Recommendation 2

The committee recommends that the Australian Government amend the My Health Records Act 2012 to protect the privacy of children aged 14 to 17 years unless they expressly request that a parent be a nominated representative.

Recommendation 3

The committee recommends that the Minister for Health amend the My Health Record Rule 2016 to extend the period for which a My Health Record can be suspended in the case of serious risk to the healthcare recipient, such as in a domestic violence incident.

Recommendation 4

The committee recommends that data which is likely to be identifiable from an individual’s My Health Record not be made available for secondary use without the individual’s explicit consent.

Recommendation 5

The committee recommends that the current prohibition on secondary access to My Health Record data for commercial purposes be strengthened to ensure that My Health Record data cannot be used for commercial purposes.

Recommendation 6

The committee recommends that no third-party access to an individual’s My Health Record be permissible, without the explicit permission of the patient, except to maintain accurate contact information.

Recommendation 7

The committee recommends that the Australian Government amend the My Health Records Act 2012 and the Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010 to ensure that it is clear that an individual’s My Health Record cannot be accessed for employment or insurance purposes.

Recommendation 8

The committee recommends that access to My Health Records for the purposes of data matching between government departments be explicitly limited only to a person’s name, address, date of birth and contact information, and that no other information contained in a person’s My Health Record be made available.

Recommendation 9

The committee recommends that the legislation be amended to make explicit that a request for record deletion is to be interpreted as a right to be unlisted, and as such, that every record is protected from third-party access even after it is deleted, and that no cached or back-up version of a record can be accessed after a patient has requested its destruction.

Recommendation 10

The committee recommends that the Australian Digital Health Agency revise its media strategy to provide more targeted comprehensive education about My Health Record.

Recommendation 11

The committee recommends that the Australian Digital Health Agency identify, engage with and provide additional support to vulnerable groups to ensure that they have the means to decide whether to opt out, whether to adjust the access controls within their My Health Record and how to do this.

Recommendation 12

The committee recommends that the Australian Government commit additional funding for a broad-based education campaign regarding My Health Record, with particular regard to communicating with vulnerable and hard to reach communities

Recommendation 13

The committee recommends that the Australian Government extend the opt-out period for the My Health Record system for a further twelve months.

Recommendation 14

The committee recommends that the My Health Record system’s operator, or operators, report regularly and comprehensively to Parliament on the management of the My Health Record system.

Extracts from report referring to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healt

4.20 At the same time, the Evaluation noted that the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people registered with MHR was low and did not change during the trial period. The Evaluation found that this confirmed evidence from focus groups and trial teams that there are particular barriers to the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in rural and remote areas, such as computer literacy, internet access, health literacy and lack of linkages with other specific healthcare programs. The Evaluation noted that neither the opt-out or opt-in trials have provided lessons on how to address the impact of no or unreliable internet access

4.22 The evidence to the Royle Review suggested that there had not been sufficient focus on the needs of vulnerable or hard to reach individuals, who may stand to benefit from an electronic health record.

The committee considers that the Evaluation identified a need for particular focus on the needs of hard to reach individuals, such as those living in rural and remote locations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people and on barriers to participation in the MHR system, such as computer literacy, internet access

4.25 The Evaluation noted the importance of explaining the benefits of the MHR system in allaying individuals concerns about security and privacy.

They most often said that, while they thought that no computer-based systems were totally safe, on balance they thought that the benefits to them, their families and the health system far outweighed those risks.

This attitude held firm across general population, people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants, gender, age groups, varying levels of computer literacy and access to computers or reliable internet. This reinforces the need for national awareness activities which make clear the benefits of the My Health Record system as well as the privacy and security protections.34

4.60 These concerns echo submissions to the Royle Review that argued an electronic health record ‘cannot be described as personally controlled if a population group (e.g. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples) do not have the skills or tools to personally control it.’82

4.71 The Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (ACHWA) expressed concern that no formal process currently exists to assist people with limited or no access to electronic connectivity and no or limited digital literacy to access and manage their record. The RFDS also noted the lack of technological infrastructure in a significant number of rural and remote locations would impact on individual’s ability to access the MHR system.98

4.72 Submitters also noted that it is difficult for young people and some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to opt-out, because this requires identity documents that they may not have or that may be held by others.99

4.73 ACHWA recommended that consideration be given to funding the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to provide assistance to Aboriginal people to

access and manage their record.ACHWA noted that a number of practical limitations would impact on the ability of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to manage the privacy settings on their MHR:

While the client can change the privacy functions, there are issues with Aboriginal people especially those in remote locations having reliable digital/electronic/phone connectivity e.g. with the Helpline, waiting times can be long, the client may not have a phone, and there may be not mobile phone connectivity.

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #MyHealthRecord @GregHuntMP Parliament speech ” Strengthening Privacy ” Bill : and @WinnungaACCHO #MyHealthRecord has a very positive role to play in improving health outcomes for Aboriginal people

This Government has listened to the recent concerns and, in order to provide additional reassurance, is moving quickly to address them through this Bill.

I appreciate the constructive consultations with the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and I welcome the recently reaffirmed support from all state and territory governments for this important health reform, for the opt-out process and for the strengthened privacy provisions at the recent COAG Health Council meeting.

The Bill will remove the ability of the System Operator – that is, the Australian Digital Health Agency – to disclose health information to law enforcement agencies and other government bodies without a court order or the consumer’s express consent. This is consistent with the System Operator’s current policy position, which has remained unchanged and has resulted in no My Health Records being disclosed in such circumstances.”

Minister for Health Greg Hunt

SECOND READING SPEECH MY HEALTH RECORDS AMENDMENT (STRENGTHENING
PRIVACY) BILL 2018 see part 1 Below 

We’ve been providing training and awareness sessions to health professionals to embed My Health Record use across health care providers, including Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services. We’ve also been out and about in the community actively engaging with consumers to increase their awareness of My Health Record.”

Mr Kelsey said the Australian Digital Health Agency has engaged with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) about how to communicate with health care providers and consumers, and has established partnerships with NACCHO and each of its State and Territory Affiliates.

For all Aboriginal people this is a great initiative. I will be encouraging our clients to stay with My Health Record,

We have 790 transient clients so if, for example, a client from the Northern Territory visits us, it is not easy to get hold of their doctor. Having a My Health Record means our GP can access their important information quickly.

What’s really exciting now is that more and more information is being uploaded into records. The more information you have, particularly medicines information, the more useful My Health Record is.

Maintaining privacy is paramount and I am glad that concerns about privacy have been addressed. So my advice now is to jump on board and support it. At the end of the day it will be worth it.”

Julie Tongs OAM, who is the CEO of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services in Canberra has seen a significant rise in her clients’ use of My Health Record and is calling on more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people around Australia to also consider the benefits of having one.

Material available on the My Health Record website See Part 2 Below for links 

Read Over 40 NACCHO E Health and My Health Records published over 6 years 

“It’s really, really important”. Find out how Esther manages her chronic health conditions using

Watch video

Part 1 SECOND READING SPEECH MY HEAL TH RECORDS AMENDMENT (STRENGTHENING
PRIVACY) BILL 2018

I am pleased to introduce the My Health Records Amendment (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018. The Australian Government takes seriously the security of health information.

This Bill will make amendments to the legislation underpinning the My Health Record system to strengthen its privacy protections.

A My Health Record puts consumers at the centre of their healthcare by enabling access to important health information, when and where it is needed, by consumers and their healthcare providers. Consumers can choose whether or not to have a My Health Record and can set their own access controls to limit access to their whole My Health Record or to particular documents in it.

The intent of the My Health Records Act has always been clear- to help improve the healthcare of all Australians.

The My Health Record system aims to address a fundamental problem with the Australian health system – consumers’ health information is fragmented because it is spread across a vast number of locations and systems.

A My Health Record does not replace the detailed medical records held by healthcare providers; rather it provides a summary of key health information such as information about allergies, medications, diagnoses and test results like blood tests.

The My Health Records system will improve health outcomes by providing important health information when and where it is needed so that the right treatment can be delivered safer and faster. It enables individual consumers to access all their own individual healthcare records privately and security for the first time.

The My Health Record system has now been operating for more than 6 years.

More than 6 million Australians have a My Health Record and more than 13,000 healthcare provider organisations are participating in the system.

Almost 7 million clinical documents, 22 million prescription documents and more than 745 million Medicare records have been uploaded.

In June 2012 the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records, or PCEHR, Act took affect and the PCEHR system began operating in July 2012. This Act contained the provisions around disclosure to third parties and the archiving of cancelled records that are being amended by this Bill.

In November 2013 the Coalition Government announced a review into the PCEHR system that subsequently recommended a move to an opt-out system.

In November 2015 the Health Legislation Amendment (eHealth) Bill came into effect. This changed the name of the system from PCEHR to My Health Record and enabled the opt-out approach. The Bill passed with unanimous support in both houses.

On 24 March 2017 the COAG Health Council agreed to a national opt-out model for long-term participation arrangements in the My Health system. This support was reaffirmed in August 2018.

In May 2017 the Government announced national implementation of opt-out as part of the 2017-18 Budget.

On 30 November 2017 I made the My Health Records (National Application) Rules 2017 to apply the opt-out model of registration to all consumers in Australia, and to specify the period in which consumers could opt-out. The opt-out period commenced on 16 July 2018 and will end on 15 November 2018.

As part of the 2017-18 Budget, this Government announced that, in order to achieve the benefits sooner, the My Health Record system would transition to an opt-out system whereby every Australian will get a My Health Record by the end of this year, unless they’ve opted out.

The opt-out period started on 16 July this year, and the Australian Digital Health Agency, together with many partner organisations, has been working closely with the healthcare sector to inform consumers about the purpose and benefits of My Health Record, the privacy settings for restricting access, and the right to opt-out.

Soon after the opt-out period concerns were raised by some groups – specifically, that My Health Record information could be disclosed for law  enforcement purposes, and that health information would continue to be retained in the system after a consumer has cancelled their My Health Record.

The system has operated for six years and no material has been released for law enforcement purposes. In any event, the policy has been that there would be no release of information without a court order. I think it ‘s important to be very clear about this – the My Health Record system has its own dedicated privacy controls which are stronger in some cases than the protections afforded by the Commonwealth Privacy Act. The operation and design of the My Health Record system was developed after consultation with consumers, privacy advocates and experts, health sector representatives, health software providers, medical indemnity insurers, and Commonwealth, state and territory government agencies. Further, the system has been operating without incident since July 2012.

Nonetheless, this Government has listened to the recent concerns and, in order to provide additional reassurance, is moving quickly to address them through this Bill. I appreciate the constructive consultations with the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and I welcome the recently reaffirmed support from all state and territory governments for this important health reform, for the opt-out process and for the strengthened privacy provisions at the recent COAG Health Council meeting.

The Bill will remove the ability of the System Operator – that is, the Australian Digital Health Agency – to disclose health information to law enforcement agencies and other government bodies without a court order or the consumer’s express consent. This is consistent with the System Operator’s current policy position, which has remained unchanged and has resulted in no My Health Records being disclosed in such circumstances.

The Bill will also require the System Operator to permanently delete health information it holds for any consumer who has cancelled their My Health Record. This makes it clear that the Government will not retain any health information if a person chooses to cancel at any time. The record will be deleted forever.

In addition to these amendments I have already extended the opt-out period by a further month to end on 15 November. This will provide more time for consumers to make up their own mind about opting out of My Health Record.

Even after this period a consumer can choose not to participate at any time and cancel their My Health Record – their record will then be cancelled and permanently deleted.

These legislative changes reinforce the existing privacy controls that the system already gives each individual over their My Health Record. Once they have a My Health Record, individuals can set a range of access controls. For example, they can set up an access code so that only those organisations they elect can access their record, and they can be notified when their record is accessed. They can also elect if they don’t want their Medicare or other information included in their My Health Record.

The My Health Record system will provide significant health and economic benefits for all Australians through avoided hospital admissions, fewer adverse drug events, reduced duplication of tests, better coordination of care for people seeing multiple healthcare providers, and better informed treatment decisions.

The Australian Government is committed to the My Health Record system because it is changing healthcare in Australia for the better. The Australian Government is equally committed to the privacy of individual’s health information. These measures to strengthen the privacy protections demonstrate this commitment.

My Health Record system

On 15 August 2018, the Senate referred the following matter to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report:

The My Health Record system, with particular reference to:

  1. the expected benefits of the My Health Record system;
  2. the decision to shift from opt-in to opt-out;
  3. privacy and security, including concerns regarding:
    1. the vulnerability of the system to unauthorised access,
    2. the arrangements for third party access by law enforcement, government agencies, researchers and commercial interests, and
    3. arrangements to exclude third party access arrangements to include any other party, including health or life insurers;
  4. the Government’s administration of the My Health Record system roll-out, including:
    1. the public information campaign, and
    2. the prevalence of ‘informed consent’ amongst users;
  5. measures that are necessary to address community privacy concerns in the My Health Record system;
  6. how My Health Record compares to alternative systems of digitising health records internationally; and
  7. any other matters.

Submissions are sought by 14 September 2018. The reporting date is 8 October 2018.

Committee Secretariat contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3515
Fax: +61 2 6277 5829
community.affairs.sen@aph.gov.au

PART 2

My Health Record has a very positive role to play in improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people according to leading health practitioners who work with Indigenous communities.

My Health Record is an online summary of a person’s key health information. It allows them to share and control their health information with doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers from anywhere, at any time.

Julie Tongs OAM, who is the CEO of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services in Canberra has seen a significant rise in her clients’ use of My Health Record and is calling on more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people around Australia to also consider the benefits of having one.

The Australian Digital Health Agency’s CEO, Tim Kelsey and Chief Medical Adviser, Professor Meredith Makeham today visited Winnunga at Narrabundah in Canberra.

Winnunga has more than 7,000 clients, many with multiple chronic conditions. It was an early adopter of My Health Record and now has more than 2,430 clients with a registered My Health Record.

According to the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey 2012-13, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience more chronic disease overall and they tend to develop it at younger ages. Compared to non-Indigenous people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more than four times as likely to be in the advanced stages of a chronic kidney disease and more than three times as likely to have diabetes. They are also more likely to have more than one chronic condition.

“Having a My Health Record can be particularly beneficial for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may have chronic health conditions, those who move around a lot and those who live in remote areas of Australia,” said Professor Meredith Makeham, Chief Medical Adviser at the Australian Digital Health Agency.

“It can save lives in emergency situations, which is why people should consider having one.

“We know people struggle to remember important details about their own medical history, including what medicines they have been prescribed or when they received medical treatment – My Health Record can do this for you. By ensuring your medical history is up-to-date and shareable with your healthcare providers, it can help reduce adverse drug events and unnecessary hospital admissions.”

Capital Health Network, which is the ACT’s primary health network, has been actively supporting the expansion of My Health Record in the ACT.

“ACT PHN’s Digital Health Team has been actively training and engaging with general practice, community pharmacy, allied health and medical specialists,” said Chief Executive of Capital Health Network, Adj. Prof Gaylene Coulton.

“We’ve been providing training and awareness sessions to health professionals to embed My Health Record use across health care providers, including Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services. We’ve also been out and about in the community actively engaging with consumers to increase their awareness of My Health Record.”

Mr Kelsey said the Australian Digital Health Agency has engaged with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) about how to communicate with health care providers and consumers, and has established partnerships with NACCHO and each of its State and Territory Affiliates.

“My Health record will help to close the gap by being available for people across health providers, when they travel, go into hospital or see a specialist,” said Mr Kelsey.

All 146 NACCHO member organisations that provide clinical services have received at least one education session on My Health Record. The Agency has also invited collaboration from the Indigenous Allied Health Association (IAHA), the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association (NATSIHWA), and the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA).

More information on My Health Record can be found at www.myhealthrecord.gov.au. People who do not want a My Health Record can opt out by visiting the My Health Record website or by calling 1800 723 471 for phone-based assistance. Additional support is available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people from non‐English speaking backgrounds, people with limited digital literacy, and those living in rural and remote regions.

Material available on the My Health Record website also includes:

ENDS

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #MyHealthRecord : @CHFofAustralia Do you have questions about #MyHealthPrivacy. ? Register for 6 webinars starting 8 August

My Health Record moving to an opt-out model is the most important digital health change for consumers in Australia in 2018.

To help people make an informed and considered decision about whether or not to opt-out of having a record created for them CHF are holding a series of 6 webinars, starting this week, that will cover the key information people need to understand the benefits and risks of My Health Record in the context of their own lives.

These interactive webinars will include knowledgeable panellists and provide a chance for questions from the public to be asked of them through the webinar service’s Q&A and chat functions.”

Full details and registrations Part 1 Below

 ” The Federal Government’s Health Care Homes is forcing patients to have a My Health Record to receive chronic care management through the program, raising ethical questions and concerns about discrimination.

The government’s Health Care Homes trial provides coordinated care for those with chronic and complex diseases through more than 200 GP practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services nationally, and enrolment in the program requires patients to have a My Health Record or be willing to get one

See Part 2 below for debate ACCHO Chronic care patients forced to have My Health Records to access government’s Health Care Homes program

  ” NACCHO endorses and supports the My Health Record system initiative provided patient information and privacy is protected. The patient is in control of what information is placed in their electronic record and who else has access to it.

But want an assurance from the Health Minister that all patient records will be protected and if that requires further legislation then so be it.’

Mr John Singer, Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)

Read over 35 NACCHO E- Health My Health Records articles published since 2012

Part 1

Before each webinar, we are also surveying and collating questions on each week’s topic through our website and on Twitter.

Over the coming weeks, the webinars will cover privacy and security, and overview of digital health in Australia, the benefits and risks, digital inclusion and health literacy.

You can find out more about the entire series here: https://chf.org.au/introduction-my-health-record-webinar-series

Details for Webinar 1: Privacy and Security of My Health Record

The first webinar is being held next Wednesday, 8 August at 12:30pm AEST and will focus on privacy and security.

Register here: http://www.webcasts.com.au/chf080818/

Questions and concerns on the topic can be submitted through the CHF website here: https://chf.org.au/introduction-my-health-record-webinar-series/webinar-1-privacy-and-security#questions

They can also be shared on Twitter using the hashtag #MyHealthPrivacy.

Your questions and concerns will be collated, edited and aggregated by CHF to put to the panellists at the webinar. It will also be possible to ask questions during the event.

Panellists

  • Kim Webber – General Manager, Strategy at the Australian Digital Health Agency
  • Karen Carey – Consumer Advocate, former chair of CHF and Chair of the NHMRC Community and Consumer Advisory Group
  • Dr Bruce Baer Arnold – Assistant Professor, Law at University of Canberra and Vice-chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation Board
  • Dr Charlotte Hespe M.B.B.S. Hons (Syd) DCH (Lon) FRACGP, FAICD – GP, Glebe Family Medical Centre and RACGP Vice President

My Health Record is an important reform that will only work and evolve in the right way if clinicians and consumers understand, trust, value, use and discuss the system. We hope that you will join us for these webinars as we discuss and question the key issues and information about My Health Record.

Part 2 Chronic care patients forced to have My Health Records to access government’s Health Care Homes program

FROM HERE

The Federal Government’s Health Care Homes is forcing patients to have a My Health Record to receive chronic care management through the program, raising ethical questions and concerns about discrimination.

The government’s Health Care Homes trial provides coordinated care for those with chronic and complex diseases through more than 200 GP practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services nationally, and enrolment in the program requires patients to have a My Health Record or be willing to get one.

But GP and former AMA president Dr Kerryn Phelps claimed the demand for patients to sign up to the national health database to access Health Care Homes support is unethical.

“I have massive ethical concerns about that, particularly given the concerns around privacy and security of My Health Record. It is discriminatory and it should be removed,” Phelps told Healthcare IT News Australia.

Under a two-year trial beginning in late 2017, up to 65,000 people are eligible to become Health Care Homes patients as part of a government-funded initiative to improve care for those with long-term conditions including diabetes, arthritis, and heart and lung diseases.

Patients in the program receive coordinated care from a team including their GP, specialists and allied health professionals and according to the Department of Health: “All Health Care Homes’ patients need to have a My Health Record. If you don’t have a My Health Record, your care team will sign you up.”

Phelps said as such patients who don’t want a My Health Record have been unable to access a health service they would otherwise be entitled to.

“When you speak to doctors who are in involved in the Heath Care Homes trial, their experience is that some patients are refusing to sign up because they don’t want a My Health Record. So it is a discriminatory requirement.”

[Read more: Greg Hunt announces legislative changes to tighten privacy and security protections for My Health Record | Opposition calls for My Health Record roll out to be suspended as AMA seeks greater privacy protections]

It has also raised concerns about possible future government efforts to compel Australians to have My Health Records.

“The general feedback I’m getting is that the Health Care Homes trial is very disappointing to say the least but, nonetheless, what this shows is that signing up to My Health Record could just be made a prerequisite to sign up for other things like Centrelink payments or workers compensation.”

Human rights lawyer and Digital Rights Watch board member Lizzie O’Shea claims patients should have a right to choose whether they are signed up to the government’s online medical record without it affecting their healthcare.

“It is deeply concerning to see health services force their patients to use what has clearly been shown to be a flawed and invasive system. My Health Record has had sustained criticism from privacy advocates, academics and health professionals, and questions still remain to be answered on the privacy and security of how individual’s data will be stored, accessed and protected,” O’Shea said.

[Read more: Technical chaos and privacy backlash as My Health Record opt out period begins | My Health Record identified data to be made available to third parties]

Health Minister Greg Hunt this week announced legislative amendments to restrict access to individuals’ My Health Records by law enforcement and government agencies following a privacy backlash that had grown in momentum since the three month opt out period began on July 16.

Records of those who have chosen to opt out of the system will also now be deleted. Previously, data would remain in the system until 30 years after a person’s death, or when date of death was unknown for 130 years after the date of birth.

The three-month opt out period has also been extended to November 12.

About 6 million people currently have a My Health Record and remaining Australians will have a record created for them by the end of the year unless they opt out.

The Opposition’s Shadow Health Minister Catherine King claimed the government’s changes don’t go far enough.

“Minister Hunt’s response to this fiasco that has become the implementation of the My Health Record is entirely inadequate. We’ve had weeks where the minister has been out there saying there is nothing to see here, there is no problem, particularly no problem when it comes to the legislative provisions relating to court orders and access by law enforcement bodies. We now see that, again, that was entirely untrue,” King said.

“We don’t believe that anything less than a suspension of the opt-out of the My Health Record, whilst the government rebuilds community trust in the My Health Record, will be sufficient. This government has presided over a failure of implementation, and it comes with a litany of other failures. When it comes to the National Disability Insurance Scheme implementation, when it came to Census fail, when it comes to the roll out of the National Broadband Network.”

According to O’Shea, the Health Care Homes revelation raises further concerns about a system that has been mired in recent controversy. She said Indigenous people may be particularly wary of My Health Record, penalising some of the most vulnerable Australian patients.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #COAG Alice Springs 5 of 5 Posts : 1. Download or Read COAG Communique includes #Indigenous Health Roundtable #MyHealthRecord #Cancer #Hearing #Dental funding #Obesity #MentalHealth #Womens #Mens Health Strategies 2020 -2030 2.Download or Read Press Conference Transcript Ministers @GregHuntMP @KenWyattMP

 ” The Federal, State and Territory Health Ministers met in Alice Springs yesterday (2 August ) at the COAG Health Council to discuss a range of national health issues. 

The meeting was hosted by the Hon Natasha Fyles, the Northern Territory Minister for Health. The meeting was chaired by the Ms Meegan Fitzharris MLA, Australian Capital Territory Minister for Health and Wellbeing.

On Wednesday 1 August Health Ministers held a Roundtable with Indigenous leaders to listen to what is important to Indigenous people and to talk about how we can work together to improve health and healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to achieve equity in health outcomes.

A separate communique has been prepared for the Indigenous Roundtable.

Following the meeting the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care launched the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards – User Guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.

See full COAG Health Miinisters Communique Part 1 Below or Download HERE 

CHC Communique 020818_1

On Wednesday 1 August, COAG Health Council (CHC) members met with Indigenous health leaders for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Roundtable.

All Ministers welcomed and valued this momentous opportunity to hear collectively from Indigenous health leaders. 

The COAG Health Council welcomed Minister Ken Wyatt, the Federal Minister for Indigenous Health to the meeting and expressed its deepest thanks to those Indigenous Leaders from across Australia who participated.” 

See full COAG Health Miinisters Indigenous Health Rundtable Communique Part 1 Below or Download HERE

CHC Indigenous Roundtable Communique_010818

 ” So there’s work that we’ve centred our attention on, working very closely with the community-controlled health sector across the nation, because these are two very significant illnesses that prevail within Aboriginal communities – avoidable blindness, avoidable deafness.

But we also want to look at some of those other underlying issues that impact on a child in their early years – crusted on scabies, we’ve just committed a substantial piece of work around to tackle that issue and look at solutions.

But the underlying social determinants are absolutely critical. But with the state and territory health ministers meeting here in Alice Springs, it means we will have a very serious discussion around the way in which the Commonwealth and state and territories work in partnership with Aboriginal people, not for us to deliver programs to them.

Because often change will only come when families have the ownership, when communities are those who determine the priorities that are needed, that then are given the level of support and resourcing that is important in the way that we’ve done with Purple House.

Ken Wyatt Greg Hunt Press Conference Alice Springs see Part 2 Below or Download Transcripts of both 

Before meeting

Press Conference 1 . pdf

 ” The best health comes from the community.

The best health comes when Indigenous communities and Indigenous leaders are able to take control, and that’s what they want to do.

They are saying – particularly through the ACCHOs – that we are able to help our own people if you give us the support and the tools, and that’s why the workforce plan is fundamental, coupled with additional support for research by and into Indigenous health.” 

Minister Greg Hunt after the COAG meeting

Greg Hunt Ken Wyatt Alice Springs Indigenous Health Press Conference

NACCHO COVERAGE THIS WEEK

1 of 5 NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Download @GrattanInst #MappingPrimaryCare ‏Report : Reform primary care to improve health care for all Australians says @stephenjduckett

2 of 5 NACCHO Aboriginal Health #COAG meeting Alice Springs : Time for COAG Health Council to address the Indigenous funding myth & ‘market failure’ says Ian Ring

3 of 5 NACCHO Aboriginal Health #COAG : Indigenous Health Leadership , Ministers @GregHuntMP @KenWyattMP and Australia’s Health Ministers gather in #AliceSprings to shine a spotlight on #Indigenous health

4 of 5 NACCHO Aboriginal Health #ACCHO Deadly Good News stories : Features #NT @DanilaDilba @EvonneGoolagong @DeadlyChoices #QLD @IUIH_ #SA @Nganampa_Health #WA @TheAHCWA #VIC @VAHS1972

 

Major items discussed by COAG Health Ministers today included:

1.National collaboration to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians 

Health Ministers held a strategic discussion on national collaboration to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The wide-ranging discussion covered the impacts of potentially preventable rates of eye disease, ear disease, kidney disease, crusted scabies, Rheumatic Heart Disease, Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 (HTLV-1) and mental health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Ministers identified opportunities for collaborative action to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes that builds on the work already underway across Australia.

Roundtable Report

Ministers acknowledged the breadth and depth of Indigenous health knowledge, experience and leadership represented at the Roundtable, as well as the proven record of Aboriginal controlled health organisations in improving the health and wellbeing of indigenous Australians.

Indigenous leaders spoke of the importance of mutual trust and respect, the need to increase cultural capability and eliminate racism in all health settings and services, and the importance of cultural safety in improving the health and wellbeing of indigenous Australians.

Ministers welcomed this message and agreed that cultural safety in providing healthcare to indigenous Australians was essential.

Ministers agreed to progress cultural safety training within their own jurisdiction and committed to explore the requirement for cultural safety training in health professionals registration.

Ministers agreed to progress initiatives to implement a Safe Patient Journey through the health care system within their own jurisdiction and committed to explore the requirement for cultural safety training in health professionals and tasked the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency to develop options  for the next CHC meeting in consultation with national bodies and indigenous health workforce representatives.

Indigenous leaders clearly outlined the importance of a workforce plan to guide action and inspire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to a successful career in health.

Ministers agreed to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Plan with a first draft to be considered at the CHC’s next meeting, to be followed by consultation.

Ministers agreed to work with Indigenous leaders to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Medical Workforce Plan.

Ministers acknowledged the many successes and achievements in Indigenous health outlined during the Roundtable and welcomed the expressions of hope for the future. Equally, Ministers acknowledged the challenges faced by indigenous people across urban, rural and remote communities.

Ministers acknowledged the experience of Indigenous people in health settings and noted the importance of a safe clinical and cultural health journey for Indigenous people.

Recognising the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander  health and medical research and researchers, Commonwealth, states and territory Health Ministers commit to working together to strengthen Indigenous led health and medical research. This should include an enhanced focus on specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and medical research to improve outcomes for the community.

In recognition of the significant value of continuing to build mutual trust, respect and understanding, Ministers committed to an annual dialogue with Indigenous health leaders with the next Roundtable to occur in 12 months’ time. Further, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health has been established as a standing item on every COAG Health Council meeting.

Ministers further strengthened the accountability for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health by agreeing to invite the Commonwealth Minister for Indigenous Health to every COAG Health Council meeting thus embedding consideration of these matters in all health discussions.

Ministers acknowledged the strong contribution by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders in advancing improvements in Indigenous Health and the achievements of the Commonwealth, states and territories.

Ministers concluded a strategic discussion in the CHC meeting on Thursday 2 August by reaffirming their commitment to addressing gaps in Indigenous health outcomes.

The summary themes from the discussion are listed below:

  • Develop a National Indigenous Health and Medical Workforce Plan that provides a career path, national scope of practice and builds more balance of indigenous and non-indigenous people across all health professions, make health an aspirational career for Aboriginal people. This should include a specific focus on a national scope of practice for Aboriginal Health Workers and Practitioners.
  • Trust, hope, faith and strong relationships important to ensure services meet needs.
  • Need for deep listening at all levels.
  • Important to recognise and share the good things that are already happening and some of the recent positive announcements.
  • Tap into the centres of excellence that are already operating and build on success.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are invested in success and seek same investment from non-indigenous partners.
  • Need to have different approaches for urban, regional and remote communities to reflect the diversity of local needs, resources and capability across all settings.
  • Primary health care services critical to wellbeing to prevent the need for subsequent acute services, tackling chronic disease essential.
  • Make sure cultural capability and cultural safety are within legislation and policy frameworks.
  • It is important that there is collaborative, needs based planning and implementation rather than vertical disconnected programs, and funding needs to be long term to support sustainability.
  • Need a range of measures: personal health interventions as well as community strategies such as supply reduction of hazards.
  • It is important that other determinants such as housing, electricity and water are addressed.
  • In recognition of the importance of connection to country, services should also be on country where safe and appropriate.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait community leadership is critical to success

2.Mandatory reporting requirements by treating practitioners

Health Ministers approved a targeted consultation process for amendments to mandatory reporting requirements by treating practitioners. The targeted consultation process will seek feedback on proposed legislation that strikes a balance between ensuring health practitioners can seek help when needed, while also protecting the public from harm. The consultation process will involve professional bodies representing each registered health profession, consumer groups, National Boards and professional indemnity insurers. The

results of the targeted consultation process will inform a Bill to be presented to the Queensland Parliament as soon as possible.

Western Australia is not included in this process as its current arrangements will continue.

3.Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency

Health Ministers welcomed advice that all 15 health practitioner National Boards, their Accreditation Councils and AHPRA have partnered with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector leaders and organisations to sign a National Registration and Accreditation Scheme Statement of Intent to achieve equity in health outcomes.

This joint commitment aims to ensure a culturally safe health workforce, increasing participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the registered health professions along with greater access to culturally safe health services.

This work will reach over 700,000 registered health practitioners, over 150,000 registered students and the 740 plus programs of study accredited through the National Scheme. The launch was held on traditional lands of the Wurundjeri Peoples of the Kulin Nation in Melbourne, Victoria with a Welcome to Country and a traditional smoking ceremony.

4.Update on 2016-17 determination of national health reform funding

Health Ministers received an update from the Commonwealth Health Minister on the process and timing of the 2016-17 determination, and of the importance of rapidly setting the 2016-17 determination of the national health reform funding to provide certainty for hospital services into the future. Health Ministers also noted the work on improvements to the reconciliation process for inclusion in the next National Health Reform Agreement.

Ministers welcomed the appointment of Michael Lambert as the Administrator of the National Health Funding Pool.

5.Private patients in public hospitals.

Ministers agreed to commission an independent review of a range of factors regarding utilisation of private health insurance in public hospitals to report as soon as possible but no later than 31 December 2018.

6.Progress update on the National Health Reform Agreement

The Commonwealth Minister for Health provided an update on drafting of the National Health Reform Agreement. The Council noted the importance of a dispute resolution process.

7.National approach to hearing health

Minsters recognised that 3.6 million Australians currently experience hearing loss and that the prevalence of hearing loss is expected to more than double by 2060. Ministers discussed the economic, social and health impacts of hearing loss, particularly for the 90 per cent of

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in some remote communities who experience otitis media infections at any time. Ministers agreed to further consider a national approach to hearing health, following the Commonwealth’s response to the House of Representatives Inquiry Report ‘Still Waiting to be Heard’ expected later this year.

8.Public dental funding arrangements 

Ministers noted that the current National Partnership Agreement on Public Dental Services for Adults will end on 30 June 2019, and that the State and Territory public provider access to the Child Dental Benefits Schedule will end on 31 December 2019.

Ministers agreed that securing sustainable and fair future funding arrangements is critical to providing timely access to public dental care. Ministers agreed to commence formal negotiations to achieve fair, long-term public dental funding arrangements, including extension of access to the Child Dental Benefits Schedule.

9.Mutual recognition of mental health orders 

Ministers discussed the important issue of ensuring continuity of care for mental health consumers moving between jurisdictions with different legislation. Ministers agreed that work to ensure interoperability of mental health legislation between states and territories, as part of the 5th National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan is prioritised.

10.Recognising Continuity of Care for Consumers of Mental Health Services

The Council discussed and agreed to South Australia’s proposal that the COAG Health Council monitor the ongoing transition to the NDIS of mental health clients and to identify any emerging services gaps that need to be addressed in order to ensure continuity of support.

Ministers agreed that the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council work with the Disability Reform Council Senior Officials Working Group and provide advice at the next COAG Health Council on actions to resolve interface issues between health and disability services.

11.Obesity – limiting the impact of unhealthy food and drinks on children

The Queensland Minister led a discussion on a suite of actions to improve children’s diets and prevent child obesity with a focus on health care settings, schools, children’s sport and recreation, food promotion and food regulation.

The development of cross-sectoral initiatives with education and sport and recreation sectors was noted. Health departments were tasked with developing national minimum nutrition standards for food and drink supply in public health care facilities. The Queensland Minister presented a national interim guide for reducing children’s exposure to unhealthy food and drink marketing. This guide was endorsed by Ministers, noting that the guide is for voluntary use by governments.

Health Ministers noted the voluntary pledge made by the Australian Beverages Council Limited to reduce sugar across their portfolio of products by 20% on average by 2025.

12. Implementation of National Cancer Work Plan – Additional Optimal Cancer Care Pathway

Health Ministers endorsed the Optimal Cancer Care Pathway (OCP) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, which is the first OCP under the National Cancer Work Plan that specifically addresses the needs of a cultural group. It is critical that cancer service systems are culturally responsive and competent to address the current and growing disparities in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians relative to non-Indigenous Australians. This OCP is designed to provide culturally safe and responsive healthcare, including acknowledging how social determinants can impact health outcomes. This OCP is to be used in conjunction with the 15 tumour-specific OCPs.

The OCP for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was developed collaboratively by Cancer Australia in partnership with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and Cancer Council Victoria. Ministers also gratefully acknowledge Aboriginal leadership in development of this pathway with input from an Expert Working Group and from Cancer Australia’s Leadership Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Control, as well as feedback from many Aboriginal Controlled Community Organisations and peak groups during the public consultation phase.

13. Public disclosure to support hospital and clinical comparisons

Ministers agreed to commit to create a data and reporting environment that increases patient choice through greater public disclosure of hospital and clinician performance and information.

Ministers noted it is the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) role to facilitate consistent and timely reporting of health and welfare statistics and performance information, including the publication of the MyHospitals and MyHealthy Communities websites following the cessation of the National Health Performance Authority.

All jurisdictions agreed to work with the Commonwealth’s Chief Medical Officer in his investigation of the issue around a number of women being diagnosed with cancer, which may be linked to breast implants. This includes the role all jurisdictions play in reporting information to track the use of implants.

14.National Action Plan for Endometriosis

Ministers noted that the National Action Plan for Endometriosis has been finalised and was launched on 26 July 2018. All states and territories will be working with the Commonwealth toward implementation of the plan.

15.National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-2030 and National Men’s Health Strategy 2020-2030

Ministers noted that the Commonwealth is developing a National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-2030 and a National Men’s Health Strategy 2020-2030. Both Strategies are expected to be finalised and launched in early 2019.

16. Ministerial Advisory Committee on Out-of-Pocket Costs

Ministers noted the work being undertaken by the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Out-of-Pocket Costs. It was agreed that the Commonwealth release a detailed report of the activity of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Out-of-Pocket Costs including specific fee transparency options before the next COAG Health Council meeting so that decisive actions can be agreed.

17. Digital health

Jurisdictions reaffirmed their support of a national opt out approach to the My Health Record. Jurisdictions noted clinical advice about the benefits of My Health Record and expressed their strong support for My Health Record to support patient’s health.

Ministers acknowledged some concerns in the community and noted actions proposed to provide community confidence, including strengthening privacy and security provisions of My Health Record.

Part 2Press Conference Alice Springs

GREG HUNT: 
It’s a real honour to be here at Purple House with Ken Wyatt, Indigenous Health Minister, but of course the first Indigenous Minister in the history of the Commonwealth of Australia.

And then Sarah and her team, all of the members of Purple House. Purple House is about saving lives and protecting lives.

It’s about closing the gap so as in Indigenous Australians have a better shot at better kidney health. As the Chief Medical Officer was just explaining, dialysis means that the machines do the work of the kidneys where the kidneys have been damaged, and that means that people can help expel the toxins, can have a healthier life and deal with some of the challenges and they can be on dialysis and manage their lives for literally two decades or more in some cases, as Brendan was setting out.

Today, I am delighted to announce that the Australian Government will under the National Health and Medical Research Council. These projects will cover things such as lung function, reducing smoking during pregnancy, improving the health of blood and Ken will talk to you in particular about point-of-care testing in dialysis.

It’s about ensuring that whilst we clearly have not closed the gap yet, which is why we asked together – the Council of Australian Governments – to come to Alice Springs and to focus on Indigenous Australia. Whilst we haven’t closed that gap, we are making progress, important steps, but a whole lot more to go.

This funding builds on what we’ve done in supporting Purple House and builds on what we’ve done in supporting additional remote dialysis. I’ll ask Ken to talk about those, but today is a critically important day for investment in Indigenous health, research and training and improved outcomes. Each one of these projects, each one of these 28 projects has the potential to save lives and improve lives. Ken?

KEN WYATT:

It’s great to be here. I was in Darwin and I heard an elder from Tiwi Island talk about living life and enjoying it fully, until he had to go to Darwin, and he said when he went to a Royal Darwin Hospital he thought he was going for a prescription and tablets that would allow him to go home.

He said he never realised he would be married to a machine and never return to country. And what’s great is Purple House now provides that opportunity for elders and senior people within the community and younger ones who experience renal failure to go back to the point of where they grew up. Point-of-care testing makes it easier now to identify where we have renal problems and start to address the needs of individuals.

The $23 million that the Australian Government, the Turnbull Government have provided to Purple House means that the purple bus will reach further out into remote and isolated communities, but more importantly an increase in the number of dialysis point of access that enables both the use of chairs and other support programs that are important.

Over a period of time we’ve seen senior Aboriginal people make a decision to disengage from dialysis in regional hospitals, go back to country and die on country. This now changes that. This gives an incredible opportunity for people to spend time with their family, for culture and law to be passed on through those who have that task.

But more importantly, to keep families together and I think that the combination of the work that the Turnbull Government, and in particular Minister Hunt in his strong commitment to looking at the research that is required to close those gaps, has made an incredible difference. And it’s great having you here as well because you have also been an advocate and I’d like to invite you to make a couple of comments as well.

GREG HUNT:
Okay. We’re happy to take any questions.

JOURNALIST: 
Well, if I may kick it off. Minister Hunt, we’ve heard a lot of concerns about privacy issues regarding My Health. What benefits though are there in digitising health records?

GREG HUNT: 
Well, enormous benefits, and I have to say that the Northern Territory is one of the nation’s leaders on that front and I’ve been discussing this with the Northern Territory Minister, who’s been a great advocate and it crosses party lines.

But when you have a mobile population and they may not have their own records as most people don’t, they don’t carry their records with them, if they’re a mobile population, or if the medical community is moving, then what this does is it marries up your history and your chronic conditions and your medicines across the different points of care.

So this gives every Australian the capacity to have their health care system with them, if they want it. And in Indigenous Australia, and in particular in the Northern Territory, we see that this area is leading the nation in terms of engagement with the population on digital health. So for Indigenous Australia it’s going to be a real game-changer.

JOURNALIST:
Are you confident, Minister, that the changes you’ve made address the privacy concerns?

GREG HUNT: 
Yes, these are changes which come directly from the advice, request and sensible proposals put forward by the AMA and the College of GPs and really we’re doing two things, one, we are lifting Labor’s 2012 legislation to the same level as the practise of the last six years, which is an ironclad legislative guarantee that no health records will be released without a court order.

Secondly, once somebody seeks to have their record deleted, it will now be cancelled and fully deleted forever from the record so. If you seek to have it cancelled, if you seek to opt-out after a record’s been created, it’s gone forever, rather than the 130 years which was put in under Labor’s legislation.

JOURNALIST: 
Labor says the opt-out period should be put on hold. Will you do that?

GREG HUNT: 
That’s not the advice of the medical authorities who are very clear that they want this done this year, so we’ve extended by a month and we’ve worked with the medical authorities. I understand that Labor at the moment is being, shall we say, a little bit curious because only a few weeks ago they were welcoming this as a long-overdue step and when the legislation went through, unanimously, through the Parliament they praised this as an important and vital step forward.

JOURNALIST:
The Women’s Legal Service in Queensland says you haven’t done enough to address new concerns around My Health Record and that it may risk the safety of women fleeing abusing partners. Have you heard of those concerns and are you doing anything on that front?

GREG HUNT:
Yes, I’ve asked the head of the Digital Health Agency to talk with them and meet with them as a matter of priority. The advice I have is that there are very, very strong protections, but we’re always working with different groups and these have been raised and so the head of the Digital Health Agency will meet with and talk with those groups and take their concerns very, very seriously.

JOURNALIST:
Minister, what else is the federal government doing to help ensure that Indigenous people can live a healthy life in remote communities?

GREG HUNT:
Well, there’s a comprehensive program and I’ll ask Ken to address this in more detail. But you have of course the health treatment, and these 28 new projects are each about improving health in different areas, whether, as I say, it’s in relation to smoking rates for pregnant women, point of care for dialysis, whether it’s improving outcomes in relation to lung function.

But we’re also working through the education system on activity, on diet, and then of course there’s economic development, because you cannot escape the social determinants of health, they are a reality. That’s why Indigenous Australia has worse outcomes, because there are challenges that are unique to that community and we have to have a comprehensive program.

Now, Ken has, as much as any person in Australian history, helped drive that forward and he’s being supported on the ground. I have to say, Jacinta was one of the motivating sources for the COAG meeting to be here in Alice Springs. Ken?

KEN WYATT:
Some of the priorities that we’re working on are premised on rheumatic heart disease and the impact that that has from birth through to later adult life. The increasing number of people living with renal failure and certainly our research is showing that the onset might be as early as 19 years in males.

So there’s work that we’ve centred our attention on, working very closely with the community-controlled health sector across the nation, because these are two very significant illnesses that prevail within Aboriginal communities – avoidable blindness, avoidable deafness. But we also want to look at some of those other underlying issues that impact on a child in their early years – crusted on scabies, we’ve just committed a substantial piece of work around to tackle that issue and look at solutions.

But the underlying social determinants are absolutely critical. But with the state and territory health ministers meeting here in Alice Springs, it means we will have a very serious discussion around the way in which the Commonwealth and state and territories work in partnership with Aboriginal people, not for us to deliver programs to them. Because often change will only come when families have the ownership, when communities are those who determine the priorities that are needed, that then are given the level of support and resourcing that is important in the way that we’ve done with Purple House.

On the ground approaches work far better than if we try and tackle them from capital cities, and so this whole focus means that we bring health and health thinking and design and planning much closer. Our roundtable this afternoon with the Indigenous leaders is a reflection of us seeking their advice to look at what are the directions that we need to seriously consider, given the geographic diversity of our nation.

JOURNALIST:
Minister Wyatt, do you think there’s been enough done to explain, I guess, My Health? I mean, you’re here at Purple House where many languages are spoken other than English. Are you confident that the message is getting out there to those regional communities where English is perhaps third or fourth languages?

KEN WYATT:
Look, I think our Aboriginal health workers who are employed by many organisations, including state and territory health systems, provide that front line interaction. Because I once made a comment to a group of Aboriginal health workers in New South Wales that power doesn’t sit with the director or with the minister, the power of change and impact sits with the Aboriginal health workers who understand the families, understand the communities, that can speak language and understand the nuances of the relationships within a community. I think that’s where our best opportunity lies.

JOURNALIST:
Minister Wyatt, I think everybody would agree the syphilis epidemic is very high, too high, in Indigenous populations. What’s your plan to bring down those numbers?

KEN WYATT:
Well when that was first raised with us there were two steps we took. One is the Chief Medical Officer undertook a piece of work with the Australian Health Minsters’ Council because the predominance of that work in terms of surveillance, treatment, and the provision of treatment, really reside with state and territories. But also, Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations play a key role. James Ward has also developed community awareness materials that are pragmatic and practical and kids can relate to the messages in the materials that he has produced.

But also having the community-controlled health services now turn their attention to point of care testing, but more importantly around some of the messages of why it’s important to practice safe sex. The other avenue we use which is a great one is through some of the big sporting events – Adrian Carson in Brisbane will be holding a rugby knock out carnival in Townsville. Now, at that they’re anticipating somewhere between 10,000 and 16,000 people will turn up along with all of those playing, so it gives a great opportunity for the community-controlled health sector to get some of those messages into the community.

But our strategic approach is working with the jurisdictions and with the Aboriginal communities in making sure that we entrench a practice of identification of STIs, including HIV and blood-borne viruses where they may prevail, but then providing the level of treatment that is important in eradicating the challenge that we’ve had. We’ve seen this outbreak across the top end of Australia and certainly the level of commitment that we’ve had from states and territories has been tremendous.

JOURNALIST:
Is that going to be a similar approach for HLTV-1 virus?

KEN WYATT:
Yes, we’ve set aside through the AHMAC process $8 million, which will be part of a process of a round of discussions involving Aboriginal community-controlled health services, key researchers, but also the jurisdictions in identifying the priorities. We have to ascertain the extent of the spread of the virus and not only consider that, but consider research that’s been done overseas.

I’ve certainly read some of the research out of Japan in terms of transmission points, but we need to have a look at what is the challenge here in Australia. I know it was something that was identified in the Fitzroy Valley in the 80s and 90s and certainly I want to compliment my own department and Minister Hunt’s department on the work that they’ve been doing with our state and territory colleagues and the community-controlled health sector.

GREG HUNT:
Thank you very much.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #MyHealthRecord : NACCHO endorses and supports the My Health Record system initiative provided patient information and privacy is protected.

 

” NACCHO endorses and supports the My Health Record system initiative provided patient information and privacy is protected. The patient is in control of what information is placed in their electronic record and who else has access to it.

But want an assurance from the Health Minister that all patient records will be protected and if that requires further legislation then so be it.’

Mr John Singer, Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)

Read over 35 NACCHO E- Health My Health Records articles published since 2012

Understand privacy, security and consent Learn more about/how to:

My Health Record in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services see Part 2 Below

Mr Singer noted electronic health records have been operating in the NT for over the last decade without any problems. In remote areas patient medical records travels electronically with a patient.

Mr Singer said that ‘clinicians can now have easy access to life saving information, which is especially vital if they are in acute care, for allergies, medications, scan results, up to date records of all visits by a patient to their own community controlled clinic, regional hospital or interstate emergency departments.’

My Health Record has widespread support not only from NACCHO but also from national health and consumer peak bodies that are aligned with NACCHO including the Australian Medical Association (AMA), Consumer Health Forum (CHF) and Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

Many of these organisations have now publicly requested that Health Minister Hunt review the privacy legislation and ensure that there is no way of access to the system for anyone other than the nominated people by the patient.

This section contains information for the use of My Health Record in the delivery of healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

My Health Record provides an important source of information for healthcare providers and patients, enabling continuity of care within the healthcare system. My Health Record keeps key health information together in one place, which reduces time spent sharing information between treating healthcare providers. Access to the My Health Record system means healthcare providers can quickly gain an understanding of a patient’s health history, which can assist in the treatment of chronic medical conditions.

Digital Health hits the road with the Awabakal Medical Service

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P00aQfCBG6I

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Register and set up access to the My Health Record system

Prior to registering your organisation you will first need to establish your team members’ roles and responsibilities as they relate to interacting with the Healthcare Identifiers Service and the My Health Record system, and train yourself and/or your team in how to use the My Health Record system.

You can familiarise yourself with the registration process for organisations and individuals here.

While your registration is being processed, this is an opportune time to:

If you are going to use conformant clinical software which integrates with My Health Record, you can read more about the set up process here.

If you are not using conformant clinical software, you can access the My Health Record through the National Provider Portal via your web browser. Refer to this page for more information.

If your practice intends to participate in the Practice Incentives Program eHealth Incentive (ePIP), there are further registration and connections requirements you will need to complete.

Contact your State or Territory peak or local primary health network if you would like assistance to register your organisation.

About Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical services

There are important differences between an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) and an Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS). All ACCHS are AMS but the reverse is not the case;

  • An AMS is a health service funded principally to provide services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals. An AMS is not necessarily community controlled.
  • If an AMS is not community controlled it is a health service run by a State or Territory government. These non-community controlled AMSs mainly exist in the Northern Territory and the northern part of Queensland.
  • An ACCHS is controlled by the local Aboriginal community via elected boards of management.
  • Only AMSs that are also ACCHSs are eligible to be members of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and its Affiliates, the State and Territory Peak bodies for Aboriginal Community Controlled Heath.

The term Aboriginal Community Control has its genesis in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians’ right to self-determination.

View and upload clinical information

Learn how to:

Understand privacy, security and consent

Learn more about/how to:

Access training and resources

My Health Record online training

This online training introduces My Health Record and outlines its benefits, features and functionalities. It covers topics such as:

  • the types of information in the My Health Record system;
  • how to view a patient’s My Health Record and upload information to it;
  • the legislation which underpins healthcare providers’ use of the My Health Record system;
  • how the My Health Record system can improve clinical outcomes; and
  • healthcare providers’ participation obligations.

Access My Health Record online training

Clinical software simulators

There is a range of clinical software simulators or ‘sandboxes’ with which you can simulate viewing, creating and uploading clinical information to a fictional patient’s My Health Record, as well as carrying out Assisted Registration. There are simulators for Bp Premier, MedicalDirector, Zedmed, Genie, and Communicare.

Access clinical software simulators

Clinical software summary sheets

There are summary sheets for a range of clinical software products with step-by-step instructions and screenshots for viewing, creating and uploading clinical information, as well as carrying out Assisted Registration. The software products covered include Bp Premier, MedicalDirector, Zedmed, Genie, Medtech32 and Communicare.

Access clinical software summary sheets

Clinical software demonstrations

There is a range of slideshows showing how to perform a variety of functions in a range of clinical software products, including Bp Premier, MedicalDirector, Zedmed, Genie, and Communicare.

Access clinical software demonstrations

Education and training request form

The Agency can help with organising face-to-face education and training for your practice.

Request education and training

Support and inform patients

Brochures

A range of brochures are available to support you in introducing My Health Record to your patients. Further brochures will be uploaded as they are developed and published.

Consumer portal guides

A range of step-by-step guides are available to support patients in interacting with their My Health Record, including uploading a personal health summary, setting privacy controls and a range of other functions.

Assisted registration

Most software products used in ACCHSs and general practices have the functionality for you to assist consumers/patients to register for a My Health Record.

  • The PDF iconAssisted Registration Guide provides important information for practices who wish to register their patients.
  • The PDF iconAssisted Registration Checklist provides a summary of the key steps to prepare for registering patients.
  • There are also range of summary sheets with step-by-step instructions for assisting patients to register through clinical software.

Get help and support

Contact us

See the Contact us page for guidance on who to call for help and support.