NACCHO Aboriginal Health News alert : Health sector responds to third Federal health minister in 2 years

hunt-and-pm

Greg Hunt has been named Australia’s new Health Minister as part of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s fourth reshuffle since taking the top office.

Mr Hunt is also the third Federal Health Minister in 2 years after Peter Dutton and Sussan Ley

3 HM

See below for 8 responses from the health sector including AMA , AHHA, CHF, Winnunga ACCHO Pharmacy Guild of Australia , RACGP , Menzies Centre for Health Policy and Labor ( where you can also download their press releases )

NACCHO will be posting its response separately today

Ken Wyatt becomes first Indigenous person in Commonwealth ministry as Minister for Indigenous Health and Aged Care

kw

What’s in store for new health minister Greg Hunt –  A Primary care trial for 2017

The other areas of unfinished business according to Jim Gillespie ( see reponse 8 below ) offer more prospects. The government’s Health Care Homes pilot, commencing in July 2017, is a response to calls for a health system that is more focused on community-level primary care.

The experiment has been heavily criticised for a lack of funding and attempts to micromanage systems that are meant to be increasing GP initiatives.

With more political commitment, it could shift Australian health care towards rewarding prevention and more effective management of chronic illness. The alternative is expensive, disconnected high-tech patches to a system increasingly inaccessible to ordinary consumers.

1.Indigenous health, mental health, and prevention are priorities says AMA

“The AMA would like to see Mr Hunt get off to a flying start by scrapping the Government’s freeze of Medicare patient rebates, which is causing great hardship for patients and doctors,

The new Minister must also quickly get across the many reviews instigated by his predecessor, most importantly the review of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and the review of Private Health Insurance, which are key to the sustainability of our health system.

The ongoing issue of public hospital funding is another priority, along with Indigenous health, mental health, and prevention.”

Download AMA Press Release ama

 AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, today welcomed the appointment of Greg Hunt as Health Minister, saying that Mr Hunt’s experience as a senior Minister in the Environment and Industry portfolios should prepare him for the demands of the Health portfolio.

Dr Gannon said that Mr Hunt, who has been in Federal politics since 2001, and who was named Best Minister in the World at the 2016 World Government Summit, faces many challenges from day one in his new job.

2. WINNUNGA ACCHO welcomes new ministers

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service (Winnunga AHS) welcomes the appointment of Greg Hunt as Minister for Health, and the appointment of Australia’s first federal Indigenous Minister with Ken Wyatt’s elevation to the role of Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health.

“He comes in fresh and hopefully keeps an open mind and that between him and Ken we can really make some progress,”

With a sorry history of funding cuts in the health sector, Ms Tongs hopes the new minister, working with his newly-elevated colleague, Ken Wyatt, will see that keeping funding in “preventative health” will continue to save substantial money in the longer term.

“Greater effort, and resources, are crucial to preventative health so that we are not forever dealing with the impact of chronic disease,”

Ms Tongs praised the appointment of Ken Wyatt as Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health as “an excellent move by the Prime Minister”.

“I think that as minister for Indigenous health Ken will work in collaboration with our community.

“As an Aboriginal man I believe that he is aware of the challenges that face the Aboriginal health sector and Aboriginal health needs. He sees how valuable our sector is as an integral part of the health system right across the country,”

“I know that Minister Wyatt is keen to come to Winnunga AHS, and it would be good if he brought Mr Hunt with him.

“It’s about us and Minister Wyatt educating Minister Hunt about our sector,”

The Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health sector, more than being value for money, actually saves the community much more than it costs.

“We’ve had an economist look at our numbers, and we’ve got child protection, and a lot of other unfunded services that we provide here, so the $8.5 million we are funded actually provides a $40 million benefit to the ACT.

Download press release new-health-ministers-press-release

CEO, Julie Tongs is keen for both of the new ministers for health to come and take a tour of Winnunga AHS. She praised the appointment of Ken Wyatt as Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health as “an excellent move by the Prime Minister”.

 Mr Hunt’s appointment also offers a “real opportunity” for a fresh start in the health sector.

3.Health Care Homes reform must deliver positive results for governments says AHHA

‘Greg Hunt is seen by his peers as a safe pair of hands, and a good performer. We are hoping that he will bring to the job a coordinated and considered approach to health policy, supporting a strong public sector as well as the private system, but always having regard to equity and affordability for patients.

‘Unfortunately, some policy decisions in the recent past, designed to streamline the system and save money, for example the freeze on Medicare rebates, have had their own side-effects of significant increases in out-of-pocket costs, and patients delaying seeking medical care as a result.

‘Delays in seeking care can lead to higher costs later on for the health system if that patient presents later in a worse state of health through lack of medical attention’

‘The positive Health Care Homes primary care reform initiated by the former Minister Sussan Ley will continue, but there are also substantial associated risks with this, including the funding of the program, its design, and its supporting e-health and data infrastructure.

‘Mr Hunt must consider these issues as the 2017–18 budget is formulated. The Health Care Homes reform must deliver positive results for governments, health services and consumers, or it will go the way of previous primary care reform attempts.

Download press release ahha

Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven

4.It is time for a National Vision for Australia’s Health 2025 says CHF

” The Health portfolio is currently in the midst of a wide range of changes and reforms, and we look forward to engaging with the new Minister to progress these important issues

It is clear that the community values the current health system – particularly our current universal public health insurance scheme – and wants all Australians to have access to quality health services. We understand that reform is necessary if the system is to be sustainable and continue to meet community expectations.”

We encourage the new Minister to recognise the value and place of Medicare as many voters do. Well-managed changes to modernise Medicare and make it fit-for-purpose for the 21st century will include both costs and savings and must include steps to y ensure quality and equitable healthcare. Balancing health system priorities will not be easy and we recognise the fiscal challenges in ensuring Medicare continues to offer realistic benefits for patient care.

In our 2017 Federal budget submission we outline consumers’ priorities for health. We commend it to the Minister as a guide for consumers wants and needs in his new portfolio” “It is time for a National Vision for Australia’s Health 2025 and for the government to move away from the current budgetary requirement for all new health expenditures to be offset by savings in the health portfolio.

We also suggest that action is taken in the following five key areas for consumers: prevention, primary health care, private health insurance, pharmacy and patient safety and participation.

Download press release chf-australia

CHF’s chief executive officer, Leanne Wells said

5. Labor is giving the new Health Minister a “to-do” list 

to-do

This morning the Turnbull Government changed their salesperson, but they didn’t change their health policy.

Greg Hunt will start day one as Health Minister inheriting a list of cuts and policies which will make health care more expensive and less accessible for every Australian.

Labor is giving the new Health Minister a “to-do” list on behalf of the millions of Australians who rejected this Governments unfair health policy at the last election:

  • Drop the Medicare freeze, which is already having an impact on bulk billing rates
  • and will drive up out-of-pocket costs;
  • Drop the unfair health cuts, such as cuts to pathology and bulk billing which will
  • make it more expensive to have vital tests and life-saving scans;
  • Reverse the cuts of $400 million to dental programs for children
  • And once and for all, drop the zombie cuts such as the planned increases to PBS co-payments for general patients, concession patients and those with chronic illnesses.

Millions of Australians rejected Malcolm Turnbull’s unfair cuts at the last election. The Liberals didn’t listen – they took the same cuts to 2017 that they took to the last election.

Time and time again, Malcolm Turnbull has proven that he simply doesn’t get it when it comes to the health of Australians.

A change of Minister won’t do anything unless the policies change as well.

Download press Release labor-response

CATHERINE KING MP SHADOW MINISTER

6.There are a number of unresolved issues of concern to community pharmacy in Australia

” Greg Hunt takes over the portfolio at a time when there are a number of unresolved issues of concern to community pharmacy in Australia

It is critical that these issues are addressed and resolved quickly and satisfactorily to give security to community pharmacists so they can continue their work in improving the health outcomes of all Australians.

During the year the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement will reach its halfway mark and the Pharmacy Guild is committed to working with the Minister and the Federal Government to ensure the Agreement’s funding is fully and appropriately expended on programs and initiatives to improve health outcomes for patients and consumers.

To achieve this we need to work together to resolve any and all outstanding issues to clear the way to move forward.

Full Press Release

The National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, George Tambassis, said the Guild looked forward to working closely and constructively with Mr Hunt during what is a challenging time for the health system, and in particular for the community pharmacy sector.

7. The provision of essential medical care for Australians has reached a crossroads and the nation’s general practice profession is at breaking point says RACGP

“The decisions Minister Hunt makes over the coming months will have far reaching impacts for our health system, for many years to come.

Here is a fresh opportunity for the Federal Government to demonstrate once and for all it is committed to equity in health care and a general practice system accessible for all Australians.”

The first and most effective move Minister Hunt should make is to heed the RACGP’s call to lift the Medicare freeze.

With the freeze on patient Medicare rebates lifted, the profession will be better placed to collaborate with the government and discuss the best way forward for the Australian health system,

I also encourage Minister Hunt to progress the ongoing MBS review, which is an incredibly important policy instrument for strengthening general practice.

The RACGP supports a contemporary and evidence based health system that genuinely prioritises the delivery of high quality, safe patient care by highly skilled specialist GPs.”

Download press release

RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel said the appointment of a new health minister was a timely opportunity for the government to regroup and bolster its focus on general practice

8. What’s in store for new health minister Greg Hunt

Jim Gillespie  Deputy Director, Menzies Centre for Health Policy & Associate Professor in Health Policy, University of Sydney

Greg Hunt was today announced as federal health (and sport) minister following Sussan Ley’s expenses scandal and subsequent resignation. Hunt will be the third minister to hold this portfolio since the Coalition was elected in 2013. Successful health ministers need well-honed political skills, a lot of patience and even more backbone for the very public battles needed for real change.

So far, the Coalition has not covered itself with glory in the health portfolio. Ley took over in 2014 from the hapless Peter Dutton – whose main achievement was to unite almost all sectors of health against his plans for co-payments for GP visits.

The freeze on GP payments was inherited from the Gillard government, but now seems to be a permanent part of primary care policy. The pressure on GP earnings creates strong incentives to introduce or increase co-payments. The result will be continued pressure in the sensitive area of bulk-billing rates.

Implementation of Ley’s many health reviews

Ley launched a series of major reviews of spending programs – especially the Medicare Benefits Scheme. The proposals from these reviews are now on the table, and Hunt will have difficulty implementing them.

Private health insurance provides one of the government’s most intractable quandaries. Some 20 years ago, then Prime Minister John Howard devised an assistance program to prop up a failing industry. Government subsidies, through the private health insurance rebate, now stand at more than A$6 billion, increasing at well over inflation and outstripping wages growth.

Last year Ley pushed funds to reduce their original claims. Hunt will shortly have to consider the next round of increases.

The core problem is costs, especially of hospital services. However, the government abandoned a significant attempt to reduce the costs of prostheses, so that private insurers would pay closer to the much lower prices negotiated by public hospitals. After intense lobbying from the private hospitals and manufacturers that benefit from the current system, these issues were shunted to yet another committee of inquiry.

More broadly, the private health insurance industry has been struggling to find a long term and sustainable place. For the first time since the 1990s, there has been a significant decline in the proportion of Australians buying insurance policies. Attempts to broaden its base – such as Medibank’s links with GP services – resulted in a backlash from consumers and medical practitioners.

The costs of unnecessary or low-value medical services has been at the heart of the government’s review of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) – the list of Medicare payments for services.

A recent series of articles in the prestigious Lancet journal, with substantial Australian content, has underlined the importance of improving the use of evidence-based approaches and value for money. The Lancet authors have stressed the need for system reform:

… policies must move beyond the purely incremental; that is, policies that merely tinker at the policy edges after underuse or overuse arises.

Expert taskforces led by clinicians to review the almost 6,000 MBS items have made detailed recommendations of changes to the use of items and levels of payment. Hunt will need to chart the government’s response to these recommendations. The MBS review has maintained an admirable air of consensus so far. This is unlikely to last as particular areas are singled out for action.

#NACCHOagm2016 Launch speech @KenWyattMP NACCHO #HealthyFutures Report Card

ken-speech

  I have been invited to launch the second Healthy Futures Report Card that is produced by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

I applaud the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation for commissioning this annual report for the benefit of the entire sector.

This report is an invaluable resource because it provides a comprehensive picture of a point in time.

These report cards allow the sector to track progress, celebrate success, and see where improvements need to be made.

This is critical for the continuous improvement of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector as well as a way to maintain focus  and achieve goals.

We need to acknowledge the great system in place that comprises the network of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, and recognise the role you play to build culturally responsive services in the mainstream system.

Our people need to feel culturally safe in the mainstream health system; the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector must continue to play a central role in helping the mainstream services and the sector to be culturally safe “

The Hon Ken Wyatt AM,MP Assistant Minister for Health and Aged care  : SPEECH NACCHO MEMBERS CONFERENCE 2016 Launch of the Healthy Futures Report Card 8 December 2016 Melbourne

img_6352

Download copy NACCHO Healthy Futures Report Card Here

Before I begin I want to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet – the Wurundjeri people – and pay my respects to Elders past, present and future. I also extend this respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today.

I want to thank my hosts Matthew Cooke, Chair, NACCHO; and Patricia Turner, CEO, NACCHO for inviting me to speak and acknowledge NACCHO Board members. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Today I also want to specifically acknowledge Naomi Mayer and Sol Bellear from the Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service. 2016 marks the 45th anniversary of the Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service, the first such service in Australia and spearheaded by Naomi and Sol.

redfern

Thank you Naomi and Sol and congratulations on achieving such a significant and important milestone. Your work has improved the lives of countless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians because of your leadership and compassionate care.

I have been invited to launch the second Healthy Futures Report Card that is produced by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. I applaud the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation for commissioning this annual report for the benefit of the entire sector. This report is an invaluable resource because it provides a comprehensive picture of a point in time.

reportcard-1

These report cards allow the sector to track progress, celebrate success, and see where improvements need to be made. This is critical for the continuous improvement of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector as well as a way to maintain focus  and achieve goals.

Crucially, this report card is about and for the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services sector. It is not something that is happening at and to the sector. It’s yours.

This report card includes information from around 140 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services which provide care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The services you provide cover around two thirds of the services funded by the Australian Government for primary health care services specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

During 2014–15 these services saw about 275,000 of these clients who received almost 2.5 million episodes of care. More than 228,000 Australians were regular clients of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services sector.

I’m pleased that there have been a number of improvements identified since the 2015 report. Improvements include:

  •  Increases in the number of clients and episodes of care for primary health care services provided by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.
  •  A rise in the proportion of clients receiving appropriate processes of care for 10 of the 16 relevant indicators. This includes:
    •  antenatal visits before 13 weeks of pregnancy
    •  birth weight recorded
    •  smoking status or alcohol consumption recorded, and
    •  clients with type 2 diabetes who received a General Practice Management Plan or Team Care Arrangement.

 Improved outcomes in three out of the five National Key Performance Indicators. This includes:

  • improvements in blood pressure for clients with type 2 diabetes, and
  • reductions in the proportion of clients aged 15 or over who were recorded as current smokers.

These are commendable results from services in some of the most diverse and challenging environments in Australia.

I echo the report’s authors when they say that the findings in this Report Card will assist Services in their continuous quality improvement activities, in identifying areas where service delivery and accessibility issues need to be addressed, and in supporting the goals of the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023.

We are all united in our determination to close the gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, so they live longer and have a better quality of life. A critical means to close the gap is the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023.

The Implementation Plan has seven domains that focus on both community-controlled and mainstream services.

It is a huge step forward to have racism recognised in the Implementation Plan – this is a critical issue for the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Domain seven of the Implementation Plan is about the social and cultural determinants of health. These determinants impact on everything that we do and contribute to at least 31 per cent of the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

As we all know, health departments and health providers are only part of the solution. We need an integrated approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

To have strong healthy children and strong communities we need to have effective early childhood education, employment, housing and economic development where people live. These issues can only be addressed through whole-of-Government action. Whole-of-Government action across departments and across jurisdictions.

However, it is not only about governments coordinating their actions because governments alone cannot progress this agenda and action. This can only be done working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Implementation Plan Advisory Group, established to drive the next iteration of the Implementation Plan, comprises representatives from the Departments of Health, Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

I’m pleased that this Advisory Group also includes respected and experienced members such as:

  •  Richard Weston from the National Health Leadership Forum and the Healing Foundation, who is Co-Chair.
  •  Pat Turner from the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.
  •  Donna Ah Chee , Julie Tongs and Mark Wenitong who are experts on, among other things, Indigenous early childhood; comprehensive primary health care; and acute care.

See NACCHO TV Interviews

          Donna Ah Chee

           Julie Tongs

          Dr Mark Wenitong

The Group also includes jurisdictional members of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Standing Committee from South Australia and Western Australia.

I believe that the next iteration of the Implementation Plan, due in 2018, will be stronger because of these ongoing—and new—collaborations and partnerships.

It is clear that you all work extremely hard on behalf of the communities you serve. You are delivering excellence in primary health care and I congratulate you on the delivery of comprehensive, holistic models of care.

At the end of the day, we share the ultimate goal of Closing the Gap in health outcomes for our people so that they live longer and experience a better quality of life.

But we also have a health system under pressure. There are frontline pressures on the whole health system from our hospitals, to rural health to remote Indigenous communities. And the pressures are mounting. There is a growth in demand for services, increasing costs and growing expectations.

Expenditure on health services accounts for approximately one-sixth of the Australian Government’s total expenses—estimated at more than $71 billion for the current financial year. This figure is projected to increase to more than $79 billion by 2019-20.

There is enormous pressure on the health and aged care sectors to do more, with less. This is why there is a clear expectation that all Government-funded organisations provide the evidence basis for what they do, and show the difference their programs are making on the ground. All of us—governments and organisations—need to ask ourselves how can we do better and continue to reform within this tight fiscal environment.

I am sure many of you will be aware of the Nous Review of the Roles and Functions of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Peak Bodies and some of you, of course, participated in the Review consultations. I thank you.

The Government has not published a formal response to the Review because we recognise that what happens now is a discussion that we need to have together.

I know that NACCHO, as well as State and Territory Peak Bodies, are working with the Department of Health to chart a way forward that takes into consideration the findings of the Review.

The Nous Review provided a clear message: Peak Bodies need to play a role in supporting the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector AND mainstream health care providers to deliver appropriate and responsive health care services.

Governance reform for the Peak Bodies is a central element of the way forward. I know this is being driven by NACCHO in close cooperation with affiliate organisations and I applaud your initiative and commitment. I understand that Bobbi Campbell spoke with you yesterday on this matter, so I will keep my remarks brief.

I do want to say that it is important to Government to see the sector positioned as a key component of the overall health system with a clear unified voice.

The Government looks at the health system as a whole and expects collaboration that delivers effectiveness, efficiency and quality. We need a truly linked up, integrated, affordable and sustainable system.

We need to acknowledge the great system in place that comprises the network of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, and recognise the role you play to build culturally responsive services in the mainstream system.

Our people need to feel culturally safe in the mainstream health system; the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector must continue to play a central role in helping the mainstream services and the sector to be culturally safe.

Australia has come a long way in improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people but there is still a long, hard road ahead. I know that if we continue to work together, to collaborate and to talk about the issues and opportunities for the sector then the next Healthy Futures Report Card will have an even longer list of achievements.

I thank you for the work you do for the benefit of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and wish you only the best now, and into the future.

Thank you.

For further reading

NACCHO November 16 Newspaper : Aboriginal Health and wellbeing is close to my heart says Ken Wyatt

ken-news

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Healthcarehome : Live webinar 17 Nov : Becoming a Health Care Home

hch

General practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) in selected regions around Australia can now apply for stage one of Health Care Homes ( see 10 Regions below)

On Thursday 17 November, 10.30-11.30 AEDT, the Department of Health will host a live webinar entitled Becoming a Health Care Home.

This is a chance for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations health professionals, practice managers/owners and the health sector to learn more and ask questions about Health Care Homes.

To participate online, you do not need to register.

Simply refer to the webinar participation instructions for more information.

If you are in Canberra and would like to be part of the studio audience, register by emailing healthcarehomes@health.gov.au.

If you cannot attend or participate on Thursday 17 November, the webinar will be available the week after the webcast at health.gov.au/healthcarehomes

Learn more and have a say in this important reform. Save the date now!

Apply to become a Health Care Home

General practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) in selected regions around Australia can now apply for stage one of Health Care Homes.

Health Care Homes will improve the provision of care for people with chronic and complex conditions. Participating general practices and ACCHS will play a vital role in shaping this important reform.

Ten Primary Health Network (PHN) regions have been selected for stage one. They are Perth North; Northern Territory; Adelaide; Country South Australia; Brisbane North; Western Sydney; Nepean Blue Mountains; Hunter, New England and Central Coast; South Eastern Melbourne; and Tasmania.

To apply, a general practice or ACCHS must:

  • Be located in one of these ten PHN regions
  • Meet the eligibility and assessment criteria set out in the application form and guidelines.

Applications close Thursday 15 December 2016.

Refer to the Health Care Homes information booklet and factsheets

PDF version: Health Care Homes information booklet – PDF 533 KB
Word version: Health Care Homes information booklet – Word

health.gov.au/healthcarehomes

#healthcarehomes

healthcarehomes@health.gov.au

Live webinar: Becoming a Health Care Home

Add to your calendar now!

Thursday 17 November, 10.30-11.30 AEDT

The relevant areas are:

 

Western Australia 1. Perth North
Northern Territory 2. Northern Territory
South Australia 3. Adelaide

4. Country SA

Queensland 5. Brisbane North

 

New South Wales 6. Western Sydney

7. Nepean Blue Mountains

8. Hunter, New England and Central Coast

Victoria

Tasmania

9. South Eastern Melbourne

10.Tasmania

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #HealthcareHomes :No cap amendments a victory for commonsense and for patient health says our Health Peak groups

 hch

” The Department of Health advises that the payment factsheet on the Health Care Home website has been updated to make it clearer that there is no hard cap on the capability for GPs to bill MBS for services not related to an enrolled patient’s chronic conditions. “

Janet Quigley A/g First Assistant Secretary Health Systems Policy Division email advice to stakeholders 8 November

 ”  The amendment is “a victory for commonsense and for patient health . Anyny move to reintroduce the capped consults in any subsequent rollout of the Health Care Homes initiative would be met with strong concern from health sector stakeholders.

RDAA Vice President, Dr John Hall, welcomed the Government’s amendment.

 ” Health Care Homes is a major reform of primary health care and aims to reshape the management of chronic and complex conditions by placing patients at the centre of care with general practice and Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHS).

The Turnbull Government has allocated over $100m to support the rollout of stage one, which aims to enrol up to 65,000 patients in 200 medical practices in 10 regions across Australia.”

Press Release Sussan Ley last week

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #healthcarehomes

Tender closes 15 December : $100m to support the rollout of stage one

Based on clinical advice, it is expected that for the vast majority of patients the number of fee for service episodes of care will be small, and billing patterns for these services will be monitored in Stage 1 to inform national rollout.

This does not change the existing planning or policy.  The expectation is that all general practice health care associated with the patient’s chronic conditions, previously funded through the MBS, will be funded through the bundled payment.

Additional fact sheets will be made available in the coming days.

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) press release

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed an amendment made by the Federal Government to its Health Care Homes regime, following concerns expressed by RDAA and other health sector organisations.

A fact sheet originally posted on the Australian Government Department of Health’s website stated that patients with chronic conditions who are registered for chronic care consults under the Health Care Homes trial, would only be allowed a maximum of 5 non-chronic disease related consults under their Health Care Homes arrangement (in addition to their chronic care consults).

But following concerns expressed by RDAA and other groups, including the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the fact sheet was amended to read:

“Based on clinical advice it is expected that for the vast majority of patients the number of fee-for-service episodes of care, in addition to the bundled payment, will be small. The number of fee-for-service episodes of care will not be capped or restricted, and will be monitored during stage one of Health Care Homes.”

No cap amendments a victory for commonsense and for patient health says our Health Peak groups

RDAA Vice President, Dr John Hall, welcomed the Government’s amendment, calling it “a victory for commonsense and for patient health”.

But he warned that any move to reintroduce the capped consults in any subsequent rollout of the Health Care Homes initiative would be met with strong concern from health sector stakeholders.

“Under the original wording of the regime — which involved capping the number of non-chronic disease related visits under Health Care Home arrangements — chronic care patients unable to afford any further ‘non-chronic’ consults without Medicare assistance would be more likely to present to their local hospital’s Emergency Department for the care they require” he said.

“This would not only have seen patients going to the hospital for health concerns more appropriately and cost-effectively seen in a general practice setting, but it would also have increased the patient load (and pressure) on many hospitals, particularly those in rural and remote settings.

“Given this concern, we have welcomed the Government’s amendments.

“But we remain concerned that the original requirement around non-chronic visits signals that the real intent of the Health Care Homes initiative may not really be about improving patient access to care — it may be more about making budget savings.

“We sincerely hope this is not the case, and we are keen to work with the Government to ensure that improving access to care for patients remains at the centre of this initiative.”

no

1. NACCHO Interim 3 day Program has been release
2. The dates are fast approaching – so register today
hch

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #healthcarehomes Tender closes 15 December : $100m to support the rollout of stage one

hch

 ” Health Care Homes is a major reform of primary health care and aims to reshape the management of chronic and complex conditions by placing patients at the centre of care with general practice and Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHS).

The Turnbull Government has allocated over $100m to support the rollout of stage one, which aims to enrol up to 65,000 patients in 200 medical practices in 10 regions across Australia.”

Press Release Sussan Ley

Medical practices can apply for stage one of Health Care Homes

More information on the application process is available on the Tenders and Grant page

Read 10 NACCHO Articles about Health Care Homes Here

The Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, today announced that medical practices in selected regions around Australia can apply for stage one of Health Care Homes.

In stage one, Health Care Homes will be rolled out in selected regions from July 2017.

Ms Ley said: “Health Care Homes aims to deliver more flexible care for people with chronic and complex conditions.

“This has never been more important with one in five Australians living with two or more chronic conditions.

“Health Care Homes allows for team-based, integrated and co-ordinated care for patients and gives greater flexibility to design individual care plans for patients and co-ordinate care services to support them.”

Ms Ley said Health Care Homes is an important reform of primary health care services, which are the first and most common point of contact for most Australians.

It demonstrated the Turnbull Government’s commitment to a healthier Medicare.

Ms Ley said: “We are implementing Health Care Homes to find a better way of delivering Medicare for Australians with chronic illnesses.”

Last year the Government invested more than $21 billion in Medicare to ensure all Australians had access to affordable universal healthcare and Medicare funding is expected to grow by another $4 billion over four years.

Under the Health Care Home model, practices will be given a monthly bundled payment for delivery of effective care to patients with chronic and complex health conditions.

Ms Ley acknowledged that doctors and health professionals had played a key role in introducing the concept of the Health Care Home model.

Health Care Home services will be delivered in implementation sites from 1 July 2017 until 30 June 2019 in the first stage. Evaluation of Health Care Homes in these regions will inform refinement of the new model of care and its suitability for broader rollout.

Ms Ley said: “I encourage all accredited general practices and ACCHS organisations in the selected regions to apply to participate in the trials, which are held on a voluntary basis.”

General practices and ACCHS in these regions can now apply for stage one of Health Care Homes: Perth North; Northern Territory; Adelaide; Country South Australia; Brisbane North; Western Sydney; Nepean Blue Mountains; Hunter, New England and Central Coast; South Eastern Melbourne; and Tasmania.

More information on the application process is available on the Tenders and Grant page

The department is seeking applications from eligible organisations within ten Primary Health Network regions for a restricted competitive grants program consisting of one off payments of $10,000 (GST exclusive) each. This funding round will identify eligible organisations to participate in Stage 1 of the implementation of Health Care Homes. This payment is intended to incentivise participation and facilitate readiness for a program start date of 1 July 2017.

Under this model, eligible patients with chronic and complex health conditions will voluntarily enrol with a participating medical practice known as their Health Care Home. This practice will provide patients with a ‘home base’ for the ongoing coordination, management, and support of their conditions. Patients will nominate a preferred clinician within the Health Care Home and a tailored care plan will be developed by the clinician in partnership with the patient.

Stage 1 of the model will be implemented across ten Primary Health Network (PHN) regions that were selected to provide a good cross section of metropolitan, regional, rural and remote locations, and to leverage chronic disease programs operating in these regions.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal health : #AIHW #AustraliasHealth2016 : What are the health experts saying about the report ?

aus-2016

” The report has also pointed out ongoing areas of health inequality in Australia, driven by socioeconomic factors and social determinants.

Communities suffering socioeconomic disadvantage continued to have systematically poorer health including lower life expectancy, higher rates of chronic disease and higher smoking rates.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples recorded improved health indicators in some areas, including lower rates for smoking and infant mortality.

However, the report found life expectancy was shorter by 10 years than for non-Indigenous Australians, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continued to suffer higher rates of diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease and end-stage kidney disease.

The impact of risk factors such as smoking, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and harmful alcohol use have been emphasised as significant contributors to Australia’s rising rates of chronic disease.

This is an opportunity for health leaders and the Commonwealth Government to heed the report’s message that lifestyle factors and social determinants are significant contributors to ill-health, and to address the issues of health inequality and the importance of reform across all of our care systems “

AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven

Download the report here australias-health-2016

 #AIHW and Minister Sussan Ley press releases from launch #AustraliasHealth2016 report

Life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians remains about one decade

The life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians remains about one decade, according to new statistics.

The latest report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) said that while health outcomes had improved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, they still remain below those of non-Indigenous Australians.

The biennial report, published today, shows Indigenous males born between 2010 and 2012 have a life expectancy of 69.1 years, a decade less than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

The gap for women was slightly lower at 9.5 years.

Between 2009 and 2013, 81 per cent of all Indigenous deaths were of people under 75. This is more than twice the rate of non-Indigenous Australians, which stands at 34 per cent.

The latest statistics come 10 years after the establishment of the Closing the Gap campaign, which aims to end the disparity on life expectancies.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pledged that the Government would better engage with Indigenous people in “hope and optimism rather than entrenched despair”.

Indigenous sobriety rate higher than non-Indigenous Australians

While smoking rates have been falling nationally, they remain high among Indigenous Australians, with 44 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 and over describing themselves as a current smoker.

The report states that 42 per cent smoke daily, 2.6 times the rate of their non-Indigenous counterparts.

However, Indigenous Australians drink less alcohol than non-Indigenous counterparts — 26 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 and over had not consumed alcohol in past 12 months.

This equates to a sobriety rate 1.6 times that of non-Indigenous Australians.

Potentially avoidable deaths — categorised as deaths that could have been avoided given timely and effective health care — accounted for 61 per cent of deaths of Indigenous Australians aged up to 74 years between 2009 to 2013.

This was 10 per cent more than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

Australians are living longer than ever but with higher rates of chronic disease, the latest national report card shows.

Reports below from the Conversation

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s Australia’s Health 2016 report, released today, Australian boys can now expect to live into their 80s (80.3), while the life expectancy for girls has reached the mid-80s (84.4).

A boy born and girl born in 1890 could only expect to live to 47.2 and 50.8 years respectively. AIHW

The single leading cause of death in Australia is coronary heart disease, followed by:

Grouped together, cancer has overtaken cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) as Australia’s biggest killer. Cancer is also the largest cause of illness, followed by cardiovascular disease:

Burden of disease, by disease group, Australia, 2011 AIHW

Chronic diseases are becoming more common, due to population growth and ageing. Half of Australians (more than 11 million) have at least one chronic disease. One quarter have two or more.

The most common combination of chronic diseases is arthritis with cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke):

AIHW

Australians have high rates of the biomedical risk factors that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Almost a quarter (23%) of Australian adults have high blood pressure and 63% have abnormal levels of cholesterol.


Lifestyle choices

Fron Jackson-Webb, Health + Medicine Editor, The Conversation

The good news is Australians are less likely to smoke and drink at risky levels than in the past.

Australia now has the fourth-lowest smoking rate among 34 OECD countries, at 13% in 2013. This is almost half that of 1991 (24%).

AIHW

The volume of alcohol Australians consume fell from 10.8 litres per person in 2007–08 to 9.7 litres in 2013–14. This is the lowest level since 1962–63. But 16% of Australians are still drinking to very risky levels: consuming 11 or more standard drinks on one occasion in the past 12 months.

AIHW

Around eight million Australians have tried illicit drugs in their lifetime, including 2.9 million in the last 12 months. The most commonly used illicit drugs are cannabis (10%), ecstasy (2.5%), methamphetamine (2.1%) and cocaine (2.1%).

Use of methamphetamine has remained stable in recent years. However, more methamphetamine users are opting for crystal (ice) rather than powder (speed).

The bad news is Australians are still struggling with their weight. Around 63% are overweight or obese, up from 56% in 1995. This equates to an average increase of 4.4kg for men and women. One in four children are overweight or obese.

Junk foods high in salt, fat and sugar account for around 35% of adults’ energy intake and around 39% of the energy intake for children and young people.

Most Australians (93%) don’t consume the recommended five serves of vegetables a day and only half eat the recommended two serves of fruit. Just 3% of children eat enough vegetables, though 70% consume the recommended amount of fruit.

Almost half (45%) of adults aged 18 to 64 and 23% of children aren’t meeting the national physical activity recommendations. These are for adults to accumulative 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity each week. Children are advised to accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.

Lifestyle choices have a huge impact on the risk of chronic disease; an estimated 31% of the burden of disease in Australia could have been prevented by reducing risk factors such as smoking, excess weight, risky drinking, physical inactivity and high blood pressure.

Proportion of the burden attributable to the top five risk factors

AIHW

Preventing chronic disease

Rob Moodie, Professor of Public Health, University of Melbourne

This report outlines a number of positives in Australia’s health – our life expectancy, the health services at our beck and call, major declines in tobacco and road deaths. We’re doing well, it says, but we could do better.

If we took prevention and health promotion far more seriously, we could do a lot better.

The report nominates tobacco use, alcohol, high body mass and physical inactivity as the chief causes of preventable illness and the chief causes of our increasing level of chronic illnesses. Yet national investment in prevention is declining.


Further reading: Focus on prevention to control the growing health budget


Tobacco use is rapidly declining because of really effective measures (plain packaging, advertising bans and increasing price through taxes) that save lives and enormous amounts of money over a lifetime for people who used to smoke.

However, we can’t seem to make any major dent in the commercial, industrial and lifestyle diseases related to junk food and drinks, harmful consumption of alcohol and car dependency.

We’ve known what will work for many years but the power of some of these unhealthy industries is still overwhelming – a situation in which our politicians fear these industries and their associations more than they fear the voters.

Our collective health would have been much better if we’d been able to follow the guidance of our own national task forces and learnt from other countries. The report card should read, “Doing well, but could have done a lot better”.


Inequities

Fran Baum, Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor and Foundation Director at the Southgate Institute for Health, Society & Equity, Flinders University

Australia’s Health 2016 shows many Australians are not getting a fair go at health. There is a gradient across society whereby the richer the area you live in, the longer you can expect to live. The difference between the highest and lowest is four years.

Deaths by socioeconomic group: 1 = lowest; 5 = highest

AIHW

The gradient is evident from early life. Children most at risk of exclusion – those from poor areas who experience problems with education, housing and connectedness – are most likely to die before they reach 15 years from potentially preventable or treatable causes.


Further reading: Want to improve the nation’s health? Start by reducing inequalities and improving living conditions


Our most glaring inequity is the ten-year life gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and others. Indigenous life expectancy is 69.1 years for males and 73.7 years for females.

Compared with the non-Indigenous population, Indigenous Australians are:

  • 3.5 times as likely to have diabetes and four times as likely to be hospitalised with it or to die from it
  • five times as likely to have end-stage kidney disease
  • twice as likely to die from an injury
  • twice as likely to have heart disease.

Australians living outside major cities have higher rates of disease and injury. They also live in environments that make healthy lifestyles choices harder (such as more difficulties buying fresh fruit and vegetables) and so their risk of chronic diseases is increased.

AIHW

The data on who has private health insurance coverage points to the emergence of a two-tiered health system, where those who can afford to pay receive better access and quality of care. Just 26% of those in the lowest socioeconomic group have cover compared to about 80% of the top group.

Coverage with private health insurance and government health-care cards

AIHW

Cost of care

Professor Stephen Duckett, Director of the Health Program at Grattan Institute

Over the last decade, health expenditure grew about 5% each year, above the 2.8% average growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As a result, health took up an increasing share of GDP.

Spending more on health means Australia spent less on other things. This is not necessarily bad, as long as the benefits from that increased expenditure – such as increasing life expectancy or increased quality of life – are worth the increased costs.

But spending above GDP growth cannot continue indefinitely. And the last few years saw an increase in rhetoric about health spending increases being “unsustainable” from so-called “futurists” and politicians.

Informed commentators have generally rejected the unsustainability claim, some labelling it a “myth”, while others take a more nuanced view.

Australia’s Health 2016 shows a slowing of the real growth rate in the most recent two years to about half that of the previous decade – 1.1% from 2011-12 to 2012-13 and 3.1% from 2012–13 to 2013–14.

Annual growth rates in health expenditure AIHW

This suggests the “unsustainability” rhetoric is at least overblown and potentially prompting budget decisions which are counter-productive, such as introducing a co-payment for general practice.

Commonwealth government expenditure was more or less stable over these most recent two years, declining 2.5% initially then increasing 2.4% in the last year.

Health expenditure by area (adjusted for inflation)

AIHW

Savings to the government came from shifting costs to consumers, by slowing the growth in government subsidies to private health insurers, and also by slowing spending on pharmaceuticals.

This latter slowdown was achieved through tighter controls on payments to drug manufacturers and because some big-selling drugs came off patent, resulting in falls in prices.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper Next AGM Edition

agm

NACCHO Welcomes Advertising and Articles

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Alert : #AIHW and Minister Sussan Ley launch #AustraliasHealth2016 report

sl

 ” A new snapshot of Australia’s health has found we are living longer than ever before, but the rise of chronic disease still presents challenges in achieving equal health outcomes for Indigenous Australians and people living outside metropolitan areas.

Minister for Health Sussan Ley pictured above with Dr Mukesh Haikerwal

Download the Report Here

australias-health-2016

As well as looking at factors influencing individuals’ health, today’s report also examines the health of particular population groups, and shows considerable disparities.

‘For example, while there have been some improvements overall in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians—including falls in smoking rates and infant mortality—Indigenous Australians continue to have a lower life expectancy than non-Indigenous.

Indigenous Australians, at 69.1 years for males and 73.7 for females, more than 10 years shorter than for non-Indigenous Australians,’

Indigenous Australians also continue to have higher rates of many diseases, such as diabetes, end-stage kidney disease and coronary heart disease.”

AIHW Director and CEO Barry Sandison

                     AIHW website Australia’s Health 2016

aus-2016

The Minister today launched the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) publication Australia’s health 2016, which provides an update on the health of Australians and the performance of Australia’s health system.

“Australia’s health 2016 shows us that about 85 per cent of Australians rate their health as good, very good or excellent, which is a testament to the significant investment of the Turnbull Government into the health of our nation, with about one-quarter of total government revenue attributed to health spending,” Minister Ley said.

“Our Government’s priority is to ensure the high performance and sustainability of our health system over the long term. This is why the Turnbull Government is working closely with stakeholders to progress a range of health system reforms.”

Total Commonwealth investment in health will grow to more than $71 billion in 2015-16 and this will increase to $79 billion within four years. The Turnbull Government’s investment in Medicare is at $23 billion per year and this will increase by $4 billion over the next four years.

“The report indicates that health outcomes for Australians have improved over time with life expectancy at an all-time high of 80.3 years for males, while a baby girl could expect to live for 84.4 years. Survival rates for cancer are also improving,” Minister Ley said

Minister Ley said that despite plenty of good news on health in the report, managing chronic conditions and their impact on Australia’s health system remained one of our greatest health challenges.

“The report shows that half of Australians have a chronic disease – such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes or a mental health disorder – and one-in four have two or more of these conditions,” Minister Ley said.

“This is why our initial investment of almost $120 million in the Health Care Homes initiative is so important. It will help to keep those with chronic conditions healthier and out of hospital. It will give GPs the flexibility and tools they need to design individual care plans for patients with chronic conditions and coordinate care services to support them.

“We recently announced the 10 geographic regions that will deliver Stage One of this important initiative from 1 July next year, and we hope the results will lead more broadly to a better, consumer-focused approach to health care.”

Australia’s health 2016 is available on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s website.

85 out of 100 Australians say they’re healthy—but are we really? AIHW Press Release

Most Australians consider themselves to be in good health, according to the latest two-yearly report card from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Australia’s health 2016 is a key information resource, and was launched today byfederal Health Minister, the Hon. Sussan Ley.

AIHW Director and CEO Barry Sandison said the report provided new insights and new ways of understanding the health of Australians.

‘The report shows that Australia has much to be proud of in terms of health,’ he said.

‘We are living longer than ever before, death rates continue to fall, and most of us consider ourselves to be in good health.’

If Australia had a population of just 100 people, 56 would rate their health as ‘excellent’, or ‘very good’ and 29 as ‘good’.

‘However, 19 of us would have a disability, 20 a mental health disorder in the last 12 months, and 50 at least one chronic disease.’

Mr Sandison said the influence of lifestyle factors on a person’s health was a recurring theme of the report. ‘13 out of 100 of us smoke daily, 18 drink alcohol at risky levels, and 95 do not eat the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables.

‘And while 55 do enough physical activity, 63 of us are overweight or obese.’

Mr Sandison said that while lifestyle choices were a major contributor to the development of many chronic diseases, other factors such as our income, education and whether we had a job—known as ‘social determinants’—all affected our health, for better or worse.

‘As a general rule, every step up the socioeconomic ladder is accompanied by an increase in health.

‘Compared with people living in the highest socioeconomic areas, people living in the lowest socioeconomic areas generally live about 3 years less, are 1.6 times as likely to have more than one chronic health condition, and are 3 times as likely to smoke daily.’

As well as looking at factors influencing individuals’ health, today’s report also examines the health of particular population groups, and shows considerable disparities.

‘For example, while there have been some improvements overall in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians—including falls in smoking rates and infant mortality—Indigenous Australians continue to have a lower life expectancy than non-

Indigenous Australians, at 69.1 years for males and 73.7 for females, more than 10 years shorter than for non-Indigenous Australians,’ Mr Sandison said.

Indigenous Australians also continue to have higher rates of many diseases, such as diabetes, end-stage kidney disease and coronary heart disease.

For people living in rural and remote areas, where accessing services can be more difficult, lower life expectancy and higher rates of disease and injury—particularly road accidents— are of concern.

In Australia, health services are delivered by a mix of public and private providers that includes more than 1,300 hospitals and about 385,000 nurses, midwives and medical practitioners.

Of the $155 billion spent on health in 2013–14, $145 billion was recurrent expenditure. Hospitals accounted for 40% of recurrent expenditure ($59 billion), primary health care 38% ($55 billion), with the remaining 22% spent on other health goods and services.

For the first time, the report examines how spending by age for people admitted to hospital has changed over time.

Mr Sandison said the analysis showed that the largest increase in spending between 2004–05 and 2012–13 was for Australians aged 50 and over.

‘This was due to more being spent per person in the population as well as the increased number of people in these age groups.’

Mr Sandison also said that while Australia’s health 2016 provides an excellent overview of Australia’s health at a point in time, there is still scope to expand on the analysis.

New to this edition is information on the changing nature of services provided by publicand private hospitals over the last 10 years; information about how geography affects

Indigenous women’s access to maternal health services; and about the increasing role ofinstitutions such as hospitals and residential aged care in end-of-life care.

‘Good data is essential to inform debate and policy and service delivery decision-making— and improving its quality and availability is at the core of the AIHW’s work.

‘We’re committed to providing meaningful, comprehensive information about Australia’s health and wellbeing—to help create a healthier Australia.’

  • Preliminary material
    • Title and verso pages
    • Contents
    • Preface
    • Acknowledgments
    • Terminology
  • Body section
    • Chapter 1 An overview of Australia’s health
      • Introduction
      • What is health?
      • Australians: who we are
      • How healthy are Australians?
    • Chapter 2 Australia’s health system
      • Introduction
      • How does Australia’s health system work?
      • How much does Australia spend on health care?
      • Who is in the health workforce?
    • Chapter 3 Leading causes of ill health
      • Introduction
      • Burden of disease and injury in Australia
      • Premature mortality
      • Chronic disease and comorbidities
      • Cancer
      • Coronary heart disease
      • Stroke
      • Diabetes
      • Kidney disease
      • Arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions
      • Chronic respiratory conditions
      • Mental health
      • Dementia
      • Injury
      • Oral health
      • Vision and hearing disorders
      • Incontinence
      • Vaccine preventable disease
    • Chapter 4 Determinants of health
      • Introduction
      • Social determinants of health
      • Social determinants of Indigenous health
      • Biomedical risk factors
      • Overweight and obesity
      • Illicit drug use
      • Alcohol risk and harm
      • Tobacco smoking
      • Health behaviours and biomedical risks of Indigenous Australians
    • Chapter 5 Health of population groups
      • Introduction
      • Health across socioeconomic groups
      • Trends and patterns in maternal and perinatal
      • health
      • How healthy are Australia’s children?
      • Health of young Australians
      • Mental health of Australia’s young people and adolescents
      • Health of the very old
      • How healthy are Indigenous Australians?
      • Main contributors to the Indigenous life expectancy gap
      • Health of Australians with disability
      • Health of prisoners in Australia
      • Rural and remote health
    • Chapter 6 Preventing and treating ill health
      • Introduction
      • Prevention and health promotion
      • Cancer screening
      • Primary health care
      • Medicines in the health system
      • Using data to improve the quality of Indigenous health care
      • Indigenous Australians’ access to health services
      • Spatial variation in Indigenous women’s access to maternal health services
      • Overview of hospitals
      • Changes in the provision of hospital care
      • Elective surgery
      • Emergency department care
      • Radiotherapy
      • Organ and tissue donation
      • Safety and quality in Australian hospitals
      • Specialised alcohol and other drug treatment services
      • Mental health services
      • Health care use by older Australians
      • End-of-life care
    • Chapter 7 Indicators of Australia’s health
      • Introduction
      • Indicators of Australia’s health
  • End matter
    • Methods and conventions
    • Symbols
    • Acronyms and abbreviations
    • Glossary
    • Index

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #strokeweek : “No more stroke for our mob “: rap spreads awareness

dr-mark

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander are between two and three times as likely to have a stroke than non-Indigenous Australians which is why increasing stroke awareness is crucial.

Too many Australians couldn’t spot a stroke if it was happening right in front of them. We know that in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities this awareness is even lower. This Stroke Week we want all Australians, regardless of where they live or what community they’re from, to learn the signs of stroke.

Naomi and Rukmani’s stroke rap runs through vital stroke awareness messages, such as lifestyle advice, learning the signs of stroke, and crucially the need to seek medical advice when stroke strikes.

Music is a powerful tool for change and we hope that people will listen to the song and remember the FAST message – it could save their life,”

Stroke Foundation Queensland Executive Officer Libby Dunstan 

Naomi Wenitong  pictured with her father Dr Mark Wenitong Public Health Officer at  Apunipima Cape York Health Council  in Cairns:

Share the stroke rap with your family and friends on social media and celebrate Stroke Week in your community.

Listen to the new rap song HERE

                                       or Hear

A new rap song promoting stroke awareness and prevention is set to hit the airwaves across the country during National Stroke Week (12-18 September).

The song, written by Cairns speech pathologist Rukmani Rusch (pictured below)and performed by leading Indigenous artist Naomi Wenitong, was created to boost low levels of stroke awareness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

fast

This year National Stroke Week centres on the theme Speed Saves in recognition of the impact time has on stroke. Many stroke treatments can only be administered within a short time after stroke, which is why knowing the signs of stroke is so critical.

Read 34 Aboriginal Stroke related NACCHO Articles Here

Ms Dunstan said too many Australians continue to lose their lives to stroke each year.

“There will be more than 50,000 strokes in Australia this year and sadly many people miss out on accessing life-saving treatment as they don’t get to hospital on time,” Ms Dunstan said.

“We want the community to be aware that stroke is always a medical emergency. When you have a stroke, your brain cells start to die at a rate of almost two million per minute.

“Being aware of the signs of stroke and knowing to call 000 as soon as it strikes is crucial in the fight against this terrible disease.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander are between two and three times as likely to have a stroke than non-Indigenous Australians which is why increasing stroke awareness is crucial.

“This National Stroke Week you can help us make a difference.

Share the stroke rap with your family and friends on social media and celebrate Stroke Week in your community.

“It is all about bringing people together to have fun, while raising awareness of stroke.”

Think FAST this National Stroke Week and raise awareness of stroke.

a edm_header_163141

Find out more, register your event at www.strokefoundation.com.au.

Free resource packs and information are available to assist with events; including posters fundraising ideas and information about stroke awareness.

National Stroke Week runs from September 12 to 18. It is an annual event which aims to raise the awareness of stroke within the community and encourage Australians to take action to prevent stroke.

Declaration of Interest Colin Cowell

acted F.A.S.T. and saved his life

cc

Please note : The Editor of NACCHO News is a stroke survivor and is currently a board member of the Stroke Foundation and chair of the National Stroke Consumer Council Read his story

fast

NACCHO Medicare download Interim report : Medicare items review backed by health professionals, patients

Publication1

Medicare items review backed by health professionals, patients

The majority of health professionals and patients support the Turnbull Government’s commitment to ensure every taxpayer dollar invested in Medicare delivers clinically-relevant, up-to-date and safe care, a new study has found.

Minister for Health and Aged Care Sussan Ley will today release the interim report of the Turnbull Government’s clinician-led review of all 5700 items on the Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS), which included consultation with over 2000 health professionals and patients across stakeholder forums, written submissions and an online survey.

DOWNLOAD A PDF COPY OF REPORT HERE

MBS-Review-Interim-report

Ms Ley said 93 per cent of health professionals surveyed considered parts of the MBS out-of-date and a review was required, while one-in-two nominated specific Medicare items they believed were used for “low-value purposes”.

“The Turnbull Government continues to demonstrate a commitment to working with doctors and patients to build a healthier Medicare and our MBS Review is a perfect example of that,” Ms Ley said.

“We are increasing our investment in Medicare by $4 billion over the next four years as part of our commitment to delivering affordable, universal healthcare for all Australians.

“We appreciate and understand Australians consider Medicare essential, however our consultations also show health professionals and the public understands changes need to be made from time-to-time to keep it healthy and up-to-date with modern medical practices.”

For example, Ms Ley said one in every four patients surveyed believed they, or an acquaintance, had received or been recommended a consultation, medical procedure or test that they believed to be unnecessary.

“We are having a genuine conversation with the Australian people and health professionals about what they want and expect from Medicare and we appreciate the time and effort taken by the thousands of participants in this important consultation.

“We recognise the important role clinicians undertake in keeping Australians happy, healthy and out-hospital and this work is about delivering the right balance for health professionals, patients, taxpayers and the future of Medicare in general.”

Ms Ley said the MBS Taskforce’s interim report was designed to give an update on consultations and what Australian patients and health professionals thought about current Medicare-funded health services, with further consultation to be undertaken as individual MBS items were identified for removal or rule changes.

Ms Ley said the MBS Review, combined with rolling out the Turnbull Government’s Medicare Health Care Homes and the revamped My Health Record, aimed to cut down on low-value use of MBS items through a greater focus on integrated care and stronger rules, education and compliance.

“For example, our Medicare Health Care Homes will see a patient with chronic illness sign up with one GP who will manage all of their integrated health care needs, cutting down on the potential for duplicate tests and procedures.

“The same goes with having an electronic health record that patients can use to share information with their GP, specialist, pharmacist, psychologist, practice nurse and emergency department doctor to ensure they’re all on the same page regarding everything from medical history through to recent tests, scans, prescriptions and allergies.

“In return, our work on Health Care Homes and the My Health Record will help the clinicians working on the MBS Review to ensure rules around Medicare items reflect modern, integrated clinical practice.”

Ms Ley said the results also supported the Government’s intention that the review was not just about removing low-value or outdated items from the MBS altogether, but equally ensuring the rules around a common item’s usage reflected best clinical practice targeted at the appropriate patient cohorts, with the report finding:

“Reported ‘low-value services’ were very rarely inappropriate for all patient groups; more commonly the complaint concerned the provision of services in circumstances where for that particular type of patient the benefits did not outweigh the risk or costs.”

Ms Ley said the Taskforce’s work on the removal or amendment of specific MBS items was an ongoing process and each item put forward was subject to further consultation before changes were made.

“This independent clinician-led Taskforce is committed to ensuring the right patient gets the right test at the right time.

“That’s why it has established around 40 Clinical Committees and working groups, with more than 300 clinicians actively involved in examining the MBS items they use on a daily basis to ensure we get this right first time.”

The MBS Review Taskforce’s interim report will be made available HERE

NACCHO coverage #NTElections #Aboriginal Health #DonDaleKids Policy document RACP

NT

#Aboriginal Health

” In the Northern Territory, as elsewhere in Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people disproportionately experience poor health – much of which stems from SDoH factors. Concerted action must be taken by the incoming government to address these.

For instance, overcrowded housing for Indigenous people is a major problem in the Northern Territory and contributes to increased rates of infectious diseases. It is associated with the spread of ear and eye diseases, skin infections, respiratory infection, and streptococcal infections causing rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease.

Education and literacy are strongly associated with lifestyle choices and health literacy. The incoming government must prioritise strategies which improve access to education and increase educational participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the Northern Territory, including early childhood education. “

The RACP’s Northern Territory Committee

external

#DondaleKids

“As in other Australian states and territories, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and adolescents are hugely overrepresented in the Northern Territory justice system.

The special needs of these young people need to be considered. This should include the involvement of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector in the provision of culturally specific and safe care. Culturally appropriate services and support programs are also needed post juvenile justice incarceration.

We welcome the Royal Commission into Child Protection and Youth Detention Systems of the Northern Territory; however we are calling for the Terms of Reference to be broadened to cover health. It is also crucial that all those who have been victims of any abuse receive immediate support and treatment for physical and mental health issues.

The disproportionate number of Indigenous young people in detention makes it essential that formal processes and mechanisms are put in place to facilitate the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait individuals and communities in the work of the Royal Commission and the overhaul of the Northern Territory’s incarceration culture.

The RACP’s Northern Territory Committee

Download this policy document

NT time-for-action-on-health-policy-nt-federal-election-statement-2016

INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS

The CLP abolished the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio, but reinstated it in 2015, has set public service Aboriginal employment targets and had pledged to invest more in remote housing, with a $1.65 billion program to build 240 houses a year for eight years in remote communities. Labor has pledged to give communities greater control over local government, education and training, health, childcare and justice, as well as promising a $1.1 billion 10-year remote housing program.

FROM AAP Summary see below part 2

 First Aboriginal eye doctor Kris Rallah-Baker working at Sunrise health clinic at Mataranka in the Northern TerritoryPhoto: Michael Amendolia

Overview

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) is committed to working with all political parties to inform the development of health policies that are evidence-based and grounded in clinical expertise, that focus on ensuring the provision of high quality accessible healthcare. The Northern Territory Committee of the RACP utilises the knowledge and expertise of Northern Territory based members to develop policy positions and proposals which prioritise the health of all Territorians.

The RACP’s Northern Territory Committee has identified a number of policy priorities for the incoming government, accompanied by recommendations for action. These include:

  • Measures to address health inequity and the social determinants of health, as means to improve health outcomes and reduce rates of preventable diseases;
  • Improving access to specialist medical care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and supporting the vital services of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector;
  • Banning the use of lead shot for hunting;
  • Improving the provision of health, psychological and social services to adolescents in the juvenile justice system to facilitate rehabilitation and help detainees develop lifelong healthy behaviours;
  • Immediately ending the dangerous policy of open speed zones;
  • Implementing effective, community-led measures to reduce the harms of alcohol, including better utilisation of Alcohol Action Initiatives; and
  • Facilitating the provision of specialist medical services in community-based settings.

 

The RACP urges the incoming government to adopt strong policies which put the health of Territorians first, in line with the recommendations contained in this document.

Social Determinants of Health

Health is a matter that calls for a whole-of-government approach. The evidence is clear, an individual’s health is not only shaped by lifestyle choices but also by a range of socioeconomic factors which individuals often do not have direct control over. These are commonly referred to as the Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) and include housing, early childhood experience, economic status, transport, built and social environments and access to resources.

The evidence to date shows that:

  • Diseases and illness are exacerbated and disparately distributed in direct relationship to inequities in society.
  • Addressing the SDoH will reduce the burden of avoidable disease, resulting in savings to the health system as well as economic growth and development.

If action was taken to address the determinants of health at all levels of government, it is estimated that 500,000 Australians could avoid incurring a chronic disease.2

Governments can influence the SDoH by adopting an approach to policy-making that places health as a key decision-making factor in all areas of policy. This approach, referred to as Health in All Policies (HiAP), consists of systematically taking into account the health and health-system implications of all policy decisions, by seeking synergies between policy portfolios and avoiding harmful health impacts, in order to improve population health and health equity.3

In the Northern Territory, as elsewhere in Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people disproportionately experience poor health – much of which stems from SDoH factors. Concerted action must be taken by the incoming government to address these.

For instance, overcrowded housing for Indigenous people is a major problem in the Northern Territory and contributes to increased rates of infectious diseases. It is associated with the spread of ear and eye diseases, skin infections, respiratory infection, and streptococcal infections causing rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease. Education and literacy are strongly associated with lifestyle choices and health literacy. The incoming government must prioritise strategies which improve access to education and increase educational participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the Northern Territory, including early childhood education.

In addition to adopting a Health in All Policies approach, a strong focus on health prevention is required. The absence of a clearly defined preventive health strategy in Australia is deeply concerning, especially with chronic conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, cancer and type II diabetes, accounting for accounting for 83 per cent of premature deaths (deaths among people aged less than 75 years) and 66 per cent of the burden of disease in Australia. Investment in preventive health improves the population’s health and is critical to the long-term sustainability of the Northern Territory healthcare system.

Preventive health measures must address key contributing factors to chronic diseases in Australia, including alcohol consumption, obesity, poor nutrition and tobacco use. In order to effectively manage the preventive health risks posed by lifestyle factors and associated diseases, a coordinated approach is required.

The RACP calls on the incoming NT government to:

  • Adopt a ‘Health in All Policies’ approach to policy-making to place health as a key decision-making factor in all areas of policy which impact on individuals and communities’ health (i.e. housing, education, transport, built and social environments, etc.).
  • Develop a Northern Territory preventive health strategy which addresses and lowers the risk factors for preventable illnesses and diseases.
  • Support and contribute to the development and implementation of a national Australian Preventive Health Strategy.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Data and experience shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people access specialist services at a lower rate than needed, and they face many barriers in accessing specialist care – this is true whether they live in the city or in rural or remote areas.

For young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, access to sexual health information and services is critical. Concerted action is required to address the high levels of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Indigenous communities and to prevent increases in infection with blood borne viruses (BBVs). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth need to be empowered to promote and discuss good sexual health; supported to access timely, affordable and culturally appropriate sexual health services; with a target to reduce the incidence of STIs amongst Indigenous young people included in the Close the Gap objectives.

The RACP welcomed the launch of the Implementation Plan for The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023, with its recognition of the need for a national framework to improve access to specialist care that is needs-based, and initiated by and integrated with primary health care services. The RACP is committed to working with its partners to progress this work, including working with the NT government. It is vital that sufficient and sustained funding and resources are made available to drive this Implementation Plan, so that its aims become a reality.

Indigenous health leadership and authentic engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are crucial to achieving improved health outcomes. Service development and provision should be led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations. The Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector is of vital importance in delivering effective, timely and culturally appropriate care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and must have long-term and secure funding to not only retain, but grow their capacity to do so.

The RACP calls on the incoming NT government to:

  • Allocate sufficient and secure long-term funding to progress the strategies and actions identified in the Implementation Plan that are the responsibility of the NT government.
  • Engage and consult with the RACP in order to utilise specialist expertise and clinical knowledge in overcoming barriers to accessing specialist care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the NT Time for Action on Health Policy: RACP Northern Territory Election Statement 2016 5
  • Implement specific strategies and initiatives to address the disproportionately high incidence of STIs and BBVs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  • Support the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector to support the sector’s continued provision of Indigenous-led, culturally sensitive healthcare.
  • Build and support the Indigenous health workforce to grow their numbers and integration within multidisciplinary teams.

Banning use of lead shot for hunting

It is of significant concern that elevated lead levels have been found in over half of children tested in three Top End remote communities and in 20 per cent of adults. Updated guidelines from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia recommend elevated levels be investigated and reduced. Inhalation or ingestion of lead can produce neurodevelopmental dysfunction in children, resulting in learning difficulties, and behavioural problems. Elevated lead levels can also contribute to dysfunction in cardiovascular, renal, neurological, and haematological systems in adults.

Lead shot used in guns remains a key source of lead exposure among populations where it is still commonly used; through directly ingesting game that has been hunted and therefore contaminated with lead shot, as well as handling lead ammunition (or playing with lead ammunition in the case of children), and consuming lead dust and particles.

For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, hunting and fishing yields continue to make up a considerable proportion of their diet. High consumption of game meat is also typical for many individual recreational and vocational hunters and their families.

Lead shot is banned for hunting waterfowl in the Northern Territory however Indigenous Australians hunting on Aboriginal-owned land are exempt from this legislation and therefore exempt from the protection it affords.

The RACP calls on the incoming NT government to:

  • Immediately ban lead shot for hunting in line with recommendations from the World Health Organisation and the National Health and Medical Research Council, and support appropriate access to alternatives.

Incarceration of adolescents

Significant improvements are needed within the juvenile justice system in the Northern Territory. The health and healthcare needs of young people in juvenile detention are rarely seen as a priority, despite the fact that these adolescents are among the most vulnerable in our community.

As in other Australian states and territories, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and adolescents are hugely overrepresented in the Northern Territory justice system. The special needs of these young people need to be considered. This should include the involvement of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector in the provision of culturally specific and safe care. Culturally appropriate services and support programs are also needed post juvenile justice incarceration.

We welcome the Royal Commission into Child Protection and Youth Detention Systems of the Northern Territory; however we are calling for the Terms of Reference to be broadened to cover health. It is also crucial that all those who have been victims of any abuse receive immediate support and treatment for physical and mental health issues.

The disproportionate number of Indigenous young people in detention makes it essential that formal processes and mechanisms are put in place to facilitate the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait individuals and communities in the work of the Royal Commission and the overhaul of the Northern Territory’s incarceration culture.

It is recognised that incarcerated adolescents are more likely to experience poorer health and life outcomes and disproportionately high levels of disadvantage over that of the general population, and it is increasingly recognised that their health needs are greater than adolescents in non-custodial settings.

Adolescence is a critical time in a person’s development, and it is imperative that juvenile detention provides opportunities for young offenders to rehabilitate and develop healthy behaviours for life. We acknowledge that the interactions between disadvantage, incarceration, poor health and well-being and life outcomes are complex, however this should not deter us from ensuring these young people are able to access the healthcare, support services and rehabilitation opportunities to support them to lead a healthy and productive future.

The RACP calls on the incoming NT government to:

  • Improve provision of health, psychological and social services to adolescents in the juvenile justice system, including a health screening within 24 hours of entry into detention.
  • Reduce reoffending and recidivism in the juvenile justice system and increase vocational productivity by addressing the social determinants of health through a “whole of Government” approach.
  • Improve the training of health professionals and others who work with adolescents in the juvenile justice system.

End Open Speed Zones

The open speed zone on the Stuart Highway puts hundreds of thousands of road users, tourists and local residents at risk each year. Northern Territory road users suffer a road safety record that is far worse than any other Australian state or territory. Its fatality rate is among the worst in the developed world – between February 2013 and March 2014, the fatality rate (17.79) was more than three times the national average of 5.11 deaths per 100,000 people.

These figures underscore a real and pressing need for the incoming government to commit to ending the policy of open speed zones in the interests of the health and safety of all Northern Territory road users and pedestrians. Road safety requires a comprehensive approach, and a vital element is missing when speed limits are not in place.

Since the reinstatement of open speed zones on the Stuart Highway in February 2014, the Northern Territory Committee of the RACP has consistently warned of the risks associated with open speed zones and advocated for an end to this dangerous policy. Speed is a relevant consideration in all road accidents. Higher speeds lead to a greater risk of a crash and a greater probability of serious injury if a crash occurs.

The RACP calls on the incoming NT government to:

  • Immediately abolish open speed zones on the Stuart Highway
  • Permanently end the policy of open speed zones across the Northern Territory
  • Show leadership and commit to road safety policies that focus on safeguarding the lives and health of all Northern Territory road users and pedestrians, in line with the principles of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020.

Alcohol

The harms of alcohol are difficult to overstate. It is the world’s third largest risk factor for disease and eighth largest risk factor for deaths. It is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions, and can lead to lifelong problems associated with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).

The social and economic costs of alcohol to the Northern Territory are particularly high. National statistics have recorded the Northern Territory as having the highest per capita consumption of alcohol and the highest percentage of deaths attributable to alcohol. And while the epidemiology of FASD remains unclear due to a lack of standardised data, estimates suggest higher rates of FASD in the Northern Territory than the rest of Australia, particularly among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The RACP is particularly concerned about the harms of alcohol to children and young people, with the peak age for the onset of alcohol use disorders being only 18 years. The tendency of young people to combine drinking with high risk activities (such as drink driving) increases their risk of alcohol-related injury or illness, and in some cases can prove fatal. Risky drinking behaviours, combined with open speed limits (see above), creates conditions for further increases in the incidence of devastating road trauma and fatalities on Northern Territory roads.

The RACP calls on the incoming government to make better use of Alcohol Action Initiatives, as a potent tool for addressing the availability of alcohol while empowering local communities to restrict access to alcohol as they see fit. The previous Alcohol Management Plan (AMP) framework was shown to achieve stronger and more sustainable outcomes in reducing alcohol-related harms in communities where AMPs were locally driven and owned, and where supply measures were integrated with complementary demand and harm-reduction measures.

The RACP encourages the incoming government to prioritise the implementation of proposed new Alcohol Action Initiatives, as a means for the Northern Territory to partner with the Commonwealth to empower local communities to tailor a suite of initiatives covering alcohol restriction as well as better treatment facilities and community education to reduce local alcohol-related harms.

The RACP notes that development of a Northern Territory Alcohol Action Plan is currently underway, with a whole of government response to FASD to be included in the plan. The RACP encourages the incoming government to utilise the RACP’s evidence-based Alcohol Policy in developing the plan and to consult with RACP Fellows to ensure physician expertise underpins strategies to reduce alcohol-related harm in the Northern Territory

The RACP calls on the incoming NT government to:

  • Take full advantage of the new Alcohol Action Initiatives to partner with the Commonwealth to facilitate locally owned and managed initiatives to reduce alcohol related harm through a combination of alcohol restriction measures, education and better addiction treatment facilities.
  • Increase funding for alcohol treatment services in order to reduce the incidence of alcohol use disorders
  • Increase funding to facilitate workforce development to address unmet demand for alcohol treatment services.

Integrated Care

For the growing number of Australians living with multiple, chronic health conditions, navigating the health system has become increasingly complex. This problem also impacts people with disability and mental health issues. The care of individuals with multiple health problems is often disjointed, with the patient’s different health conditions managed by different health professionals.

Fragmented health services delivery not only impacts the quality of patient care, but leads to inefficiencies, duplication and wastage across the health system. An approach to healthcare which places the patient at the centre is required to not only improve the management of patients with complex care needs, but ensure the Northern Territory healthcare system operates efficiently and effectively.

Of particular priority for the RACP is the need to support increased provision of specialist services in community-based settings, such as primary healthcare centres, community clinics, Aboriginal Medical Services, residential aged care facilities and people’s homes. Community-based settings allow patients with multiple, chronic or complex conditions to be seen in convenient location, and facilitate greater collaboration and coordination between the different health professionals involved in patient care.

The RACP calls on the incoming NT government to:

  • Engage and consult with the RACP in order to utilise specialist expertise and knowledge when developing integrated models of care for the NT, including any involvement in the Health Care Homes trial, to ensure a multidisciplinary approach is taken.
  • Implement policies that promote and support health professionals and service providers to work collaboratively.

WHAT THE TWO MAJOR PARTIES ARE FOCUSING ON FOR THE NT ELECTION: AAP Summary

COST OF LIVING

The CLP says it has reduced the cost of housing and petrol over its term, and increased family subsidies. It says it will continue to do so with more land release, will offer $500 study vouchers, and will work to reduce the cost of food in remote areas. Labor has accused the CLP of planning to sell off public utility PowerWater Corporation. Labor is offering up to $26,000 in stamp duty relief for home buyers, and will issue seniors with a $700 debit card every two years.

LAW AND ORDER

The CLP made its legislation to presume against bail for young property offenders an election issue. It’s also promising more CCTV camera funding. Meanwhile, Labor is focusing on early intervention, prevention and rehabilitation of young people, as well as promising more police on the streets. Both parties have pledged to close down the Don Dale centre and both have promised a new police station for Palmerston.

JOBS AND THE ECONOMY

Chief Minister Adam Giles has promised to create 24,000 jobs next term, a third of which would be in the onshore gas industry, and the rest across marine infrastructure development, tourism, horticulture, indigenous housing, aquaculture, construction and defence. Labor says it will repurpose $100 million from the current budget for infrastructure stimulus to create jobs.

INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS

The CLP abolished the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio, but reinstated it in 2015, has set public service Aboriginal employment targets and had pledged to invest more in remote housing, with a $1.65 billion program to build 240 houses a year for eight years in remote communities. Labor has pledged to give communities greater control over local government, education and training, health, childcare and justice, as well as promising a $1.1 billion 10-year remote housing program.

MINING AND THE ENVIRONMENT

The CLP says developing the onshore gas industry is key to a stable future and job security in the NT, while Labor says if elected it will institute an indefinite moratorium on fracking until the process is proven to be safe. The CLP will institute world’s best practice regulations in relation to mining and energy projects. Labor will follow a science-based and transparent water license process, will support indigenous rangers and environment groups, and will move to a 50/50 renewable energy target by 2030.

© AAP 2016