NACCHO Aboriginal Youth and Mental Health : Download Report from @MissionAust and @blackdoginst

 ” It is critical that responses to support a young person’s mental health be culturally sensitive and gender sensitive and that they address the structural issues that contribute to higher levels of psychological distress for young females and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

For example, we know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to be adversely affected by racism, disconnection from culture, and the long history of dispossession. All of these factors contribute to poor mental health, substance misuse and higher suicide rates.

As a matter of priority, suicide prevention programs that are tailored to the needs of the whole community and focussed on prevention should be available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. All programs should be offered in close proximity to community and should be age appropriate as well as culturally sensitive.”

Download a copy of the Five-Year Youth Mental Health Report

 youth-mental-health-report

NACCHO Background References (1-4)

Ref 1:  Read / research the 250 NACCHO Articles

about Aboriginal Mental Health published in past 5 years

about suicide prevention in the past 5 years

Ref 2 :Download the Draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan at the link below:

 “The release of the Draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan is another important opportunity to support reform, and it’s now up to the mental health sector including consumers and carers, to help develop a plan that will benefit all.”

A successful plan should help overcome the lack of coordination and the fragmentation between layers of government that have held back our efforts to date.”

NACCHO and Mental Health Australia CEO Frank Quinlan have welcomed the release of the Draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan and is encouraging all ACCHO stakeholders to engage with the plan during the upcoming consultation period.

Download the Draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan at the link below:

PDF Copy fifth-national-mental-health-plan

You can download a copy of the draft plan;or see extracts below

Fifth National Mental Health Plan – PDF 646 KB
Fifth National Mental Health Plan – Word 537 KB

Ref 3: NACCHO Chairperson, Matthew Cooke see previous press Release

“Clearly Australia’s mental health system is failing Aboriginal people, with Aboriginal communities devastated by high rates of suicide and poorer mental health outcomes. 

Poor mental health in Aboriginal communities often stems from historic dispossession, racism and a poor sense of connection to self and community. It is compounded by people’s lack of access to meaningful and ongoing education and employment. Drug and alcohol related conditions are also commonly identified in persons with poor mental health.

While there was no quick fix for the crisis, an integrated strategy led by Aboriginal community controlled health services is a good starting point.

The National Mental Health Commission Review recommended the establishment of mental health and social and emotional wellbeing teams in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, linked to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specialist mental health services.

None of these can be fixed overnight but we can’t ignore the problems. We are on the brink of losing another generation of Aboriginal people to suicide, poor health and substance abuse.”

What we do know is the solution must be driven by Aboriginal leaders and communities – a model that is reaping great rewards in the Aboriginal Community Controlled health sector.

It must be a community based approach, backed up by governments of all levels.”

NACCHO Chairperson, Matthew Cooke

Ref 4 : Extra info provided by Tom Calma

Prof Pat Dudgeon and Tom Calma chair the ATSI Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group to the Commonwealth and Pat Chairs NATSIMHL, the group who created the Gayaa Dhuwi.

Bottom line is that the community should feel confident that all the major initiatives in mental health and suicide prevention are being lead by our people and more can be found at http://natsilmh.org.au

and http://www.psychology.org.au/reconciliation/whats_new/

and http://www.atsispep.sis.uwa.edu.au

Action urgently needed to stem rising youth mental illness

Last week Mission Australia released its joint Five-Year Youth Mental Health Report with Black Dog Institute, sharing the insights gathered about the mental health of Australia’s young people during the years 2012 to 2016.

Learning what young people think is so important to the work we do at Mission Australia. By checking in with them we discover their thoughts about their lives and their futures, and what concerns them most.

The Five Year Mental Health Youth Report presents the findings of the past five years on the rates of psychological distress experienced by young Australians, aged 15-19.

  • Almost one in four young people met the criteria for having a probable serious mental illness – a significant increase over the past five years (rising from 18.7% in 2012 to 22.8% in 2016).
  • Across the five years, females were twice as likely as males to meet the criteria for having a probable serious mental illness. The increase has been much more marked among females (from 22.5% in 2012 to 28.6% in 2016, compared to a rise from 12.7% to 14.1% for males).
  • Young people with a probable serious mental illness reported they would go to friends, parents and the internet as their top three sources of help. This is compared to friends, parents and relatives/family friends for those without a probable serious mental illness.
  • In 2016, over three in ten (31.6%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents met the criteria for probable serious mental illness, compared to 22.2% for non-Indigenous youth.

In light of these findings, Catherine Yeomans, Mission Australia’s CEO said: “Adolescence comes with its own set of challenges for young people. But we are talking about an alarming number of young people facing serious mental illness; often in silence and without accessing the help they need.

The effects of mental illness at such a young age can be debilitating and incredibly harmful to an individual’s quality of life, academic achievement, and social participation both in the short term and long term.

Ms Yeomans said she was concerned that the mental health of the younger generation may continue to deteriorate without extra support and resources, including investment in more universal, evidence-based mental health programs in schools and greater community acceptance.

Given these concerning findings, I urge governments to consider how they can make a major investment in supporting youth mental health to reduce these alarming figures, Ms Yeomans said.

“We need to ensure young people have the resources they need to manage mental health difficulties, whether it is for themselves or for their peers. Parents, schools and community all play a vital role and we must fully equip them with the knowledge and skills to provide effective support to young people.”

The top issues of concern for those with a probable serious mental illness were: coping with stress; school and study problems; and depression. There was also a notably high level of concern about other issues including family conflict, suicide and bullying/emotional abuse.

The report’s finding that young people with mental illness are turning to the internet as a source of help with important issues also points to prevailing stigma, according to Black Dog Institute Director, Professor Helen Christensen.

“This report shows that young people who need help are seeking it reluctantly, with a fear of being judged continuing to inhibit help-seeking,” said Professor Christensen.

“Yet evidence-based prevention and early intervention programs are vital in reducing the risk of an adolescent developing a serious and debilitating mental illness in their lifetime. We need to take urgent action to turn this rising tide of mental illness.

“We know that young people are turning to the internet for answers and our research at Black Dog Institute clearly indicates that self-guided, online psychological therapy can be effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

“While technology can be a lifeline, e-mental health interventions must be evidence-based and tailored to support young people’s individual needs. More investment is needed to drive a proactive and united approach to delivering new mental health programs which resonate with young people, and to better integrate these initiatives across schools and the health system to help young people on a path to a mentally healthier future.”

Armed with this information we are able to advocate on their behalf for the support services they need, and for the broader policy changes.

Download the NACCHO Mental Health Help APP to find your nearest ACCHO

 The Five-Year Youth Mental Health Report shows some alarming results with almost one in four young people meeting the criteria for a probable serious mental illness (PSMI). That figure has gone up from 18.7 per cent in 2012 to 22.8 per cent in 2016.

Girls were twice as likely as boys to meet the criteria for having a PSMI, and this figure rose from 22.5% in 2012 to 28.6% in 2016, compared to a rise from 12.7% to 14.1% for boys.

An even higher number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents met the criteria for having a probable serious mental illness (PSMI ) at 31%.

These results make it clear that mental illness is one of the most pressing issues in our communities, especially for young people, and one that has to be tackled by the governments, health services, schools and families.

Three quarters of all lifetime mental health disorders emerge by the age of 24, but access to mental health services for this age group is among the poorest, with the biggest barriers being community awareness, access and acceptability of services.

What we need is greater investment in mental health services that are tailored to the concerns and help seeking strategies of young people and are part of a holistic wrap around approach to their diverse needs.

For young women, we know that a large proportion (64%) were extremely or very concerned about body image compared to a far smaller number of males (34.8%).

Such a finding suggests that social pressures such as discrimination based on ideals of appearance may need to be addressed to tackle this gender disparity in the levels of probable serious mental illness among girls.

And although girls are more likely to be affected negatively by body image issues, they are more likely to seek help when they need it than boys.

Clearly then, and for a variety of reasons, an awareness of gendered differences is a crucial component in the management of mental health issues.

We need to ensure that all young people, whether they live in urban areas or regional, have the resources they need to manage mental health difficulties, whether it is for themselves or for their peers. Parents, schools and community all play a vital role and we must fully equip them with the evidence-based knowledge and skills to provide effective support to young people.

 

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : @aihw Report #Alcohol and other #drug #treatment

 ” For the 25,200 clients receiving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health-care services, alcohol and cannabis were among the top 5 most common substance-use issues “

Read or download previous 170 + NACCHO Alcohol and other Drug article HERE

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations: alcohol and other drug treatment

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health-care services provide a variety of health care services, including extended care roles (for example, diagnosis and treatment of illness and disease, 24-hour emergency care, dental/hearing/optometry services), preventive health care (for example, health screening for children and adults), health-related community support (for example, school-based activities, transport to medical appointments) and support in relation to substance-use issues.

Information on the majority of Australian Government-funded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander substance use services are available from the Online Services Report (OSR) data collection.

While the number of treatment episodes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is reported through the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set (AODTS NMDS), it does not represent all alcohol and other drug treatments provided to Indigenous people in Australia.

The OSR and AODTS NMDS have different collection purposes, scope and counting rules (see Box 1 for details).

Key data from the 2014–15 OSR relevant to substance-use issues are provided below.

Substance use issues

The 5 most common substance-use issues reported by organisations providing substance-use services in 2014–15, in terms of staff time and organisational resources, were alcohol, cannabis or marijuana, amphetamines, multiple drug use and tobacco or nicotine (Table 1). In 2014–15, almost all (96%) of 67 organisations reported alcohol as one of their 5 most common substance-use issues and 88% reported cannabis or marijuana. Organisations reporting amphetamines as a common substance-use issue increased from 45% in 2013–14 to 70% of organisations in 2014–15. This pattern was consistent across remoteness areas.

Table 1: Number of organisations reporting common substance-use issues, by remoteness area, 2014–15
Substance use issue Major
cities
Inner regional Outer regional Remote Very
remote
Total
Alcohol 15 8 12 13 16 64
Cannabis/marijuana 13 6 12 13 15 59
Amphetamines 12 8 14 5 8 47
Multiple drug use 11 7 13 4 8 43
Tobacco/nicotine 7 3 8 10 10 38

Note: Organisations were asked to report on their 5 most important substance-use issues in terms of staff time and organisational resources.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2016. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations: Online Services Report—key results 2014–15. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services report No. 7. IHW 168. Canberra: AIHW.

Continued here

Alcohol and other drug treatment National Minimum Data set (AODTS NMDS 2015–16)

Key findings

Alcohol and other drug treatment services assist people to address their problematic drug use through a range of treatments. Treatment objectives can include reduction or cessation of drug use as well as improvements to social and personal functioning. Assistance may also be provided to support the family and friends of people using drugs.

Following are highlights from the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set (AODTS NMDS).

AODTS NMDS data cubes

Data cubes for 2015–16 are now available.

The data cubes are a set of interactive tables. They provide a comprehensive set of data from which the majority of the variables in the AODTS NMDS can be interrogated, allowing users to create their own custom data tables, or to re-create data presented in this report.

In the following web pages, where data—either in text or in a Figure—relate to a data cube, a link has been provided to the relevant data cube for your reference.

Note, there is a small set of supplementary tables containing information on treatment setting and length by principal drug of concern. This information is not provided in the data cubes to ensure client confidentiality.

Key findings in 2015–16


 

Agencies

  • A total of 796 publicly-funded alcohol and other drug treatment agencies provided services to clients seeking treatment and support for alcohol and other drug problems, an increase of 17% over the 5-year period to 2015–16.

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Clients

  • An estimated 133,895 clients received just over 206,000 treatment episodes from alcohol and other drug treatment agencies.
  • 2 in 3 clients were male (67%), just over half were aged 20–39 (55%), and around 1 in 7 clients were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (14%).
  • The AOD client group is an ageing cohort, with a median age of 33 years in 2015–16, up from 31 in 2006–07. Since 2006–07 there has been a decline in the proportion of 20–29 year olds being treated (from 33% to 28% of treatment episodes), while the proportion of those aged 40 and over rose from 26% to 32%.
  • The proportion of episodes where clients were receiving treatment for amphetamines (23%) has continued to increase over the last 10 years, from 12% of treatment episodes in 2006–07, and from 20% in 2014–15.

Trendline shows 40% growth in closed treatment episodes from 147,325 in 2006-07 to 206,635 in 2015-16.

Treatment

  • There was an increase in the number of closed treatment episodes between 2006–07 and 2015–16, from 147,325 to 206,635—a 40% increase over the 10-year period. While for Indigenous clients the number of episodes has almost doubled, with a 90% increase over the same period (from 14,823 to 28,410).
  • In 2015–16, the top principal drugs that led clients to seek treatment were alcohol (32% of treatment episodes), amphetamines (23%), cannabis (23%) and heroin (6%).
  • Across most states and territories, alcohol was also the top principal drug of concern that led clients to seek treatment, except for SA and WA where amphetamines were the highest reported (36% and 35% of episodes) and Qld where it was cannabis (39%).
  • Treatment for the use of amphetamines increased over the 5 years to 2015–16 (from 11% of closed treatment episodes to 23%).
  • Over the 10 years since 2006–07, treatment types received by clients have not changed substantially, with counselling, assessment only, support and case management only, and withdrawal management being the most common types of treatment—this was the same for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous clients.

Table of contents

Data sources

The AODTS NMDS

The Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set (AODTS NMDS) is the primary source used in this analysis. It provides information on the treatment provided by publicly-funded alcohol and other drug treatment agencies in Australia. These services are available to people seeking treatment for their own drug use and people seeking treatment for someone else’s drug use. Data are available from 2003–04 onwards.

In the AODTS NMDS, the main counting unit is a closed treatment episode, which is defined as a period of contact between a client and a treatment provider (or team of providers) that is closed when treatment is completed or has ceased, or there has been no further contact between the client and the treatment provider for 3 months. Since 2012–13, a statistical linkage key (SLK) has been collected which means the number of clients receiving treatment can now be estimated .

Other data sources

A number of other data sources include information not available in the AODTS NMDS. Using these additional data sets supports more comprehensive reporting of alcohol and other drug treatment in Australia. These include the National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data Collection (NOPSAD), the National Hospital Morbidity Database, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations: Online Services Report Database, the Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) Collection and the National Prisoner Health Data Collection (NPHDC).

In 2014–15:

In 2015, of the 1,011 prison entrants in the National Prisoner Health Collection (NPHDC), two-thirds (67%) reported using illicit drugs in the previous 12 months—1 in 2 (50%) reported using methamphetamines, and 2 in 5 (41%) cannabis.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Workforce and #457visas : Overseas trained doctors still essential in the bush: assurances needed on 457

 ” While the Federal Government’s work to deliver more Australian-trained doctors to the bush is very positive and welcome, International Medical Graduates (IMGs) will continue to be essential in providing medical care in rural and remote communities for at least the next 5 years — and probably for the next 15 years “

RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee Rural Doctors Association of Australia has warned. (article 1 below )

View the many current Doctor vacancies in our ACCHO’s

 Advertised each week in our NACCHO #Jobalerts

Many communities would not have doctors if it were not for the excellent work of IMGs,”

It is important that we strike the right balance between filling vacancies with locally trained graduates and ensuring that communities, especially in rural and remote Australia, have doctors in the right numbers and with the appropriate specialist skills and experience to meet patient needs.

The AMA welcomes the emphasis of the new arrangements to better target recruitment and the mandatory requirement for labour market testing, which the AMA has been calling for in light of the significant increases in locally-trained medical graduate numbers. ”

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon (article 2 below)

Australian government to replace 457 temporary work visa  Source

Returning now to the Government’s announcement today that it’s scrapping the 457 visa program for foreign workers.

It is interesting to note that, of the 2618 people who arrived on Government sponsored 457 visas last year, 2268 were health professionals. It’s a huge proportion.

This graphic, which was published originally by The Guardian, shows the most common 457 visa jobs in different areas in Australia. You can see a lot of blue there, which represents café workers, but all the green that you can see on that graphic, mainly there in rural and regional areas, does represent doctors and nurses, health workers who have been brought in on 457 visas.

SkyNews interview Dr Michael Gannon (article 3 below )

Banning 457 visas will have an immediate and potentially significant impact on the recruitment of health professionals in rural and remote Australia.

Despite the increase in the number of health professionals graduating from Australian universities, recruiting professionals to work in rural and remote Australia is still difficult.

“I would love to be in the situation where we rely on locally trained health professionals to fill all vacancies in rural and remote communities“,

David Butt, Chief Executive Officer of the National Rural Health Alliance (article 4 below )

Article 1 RDAA continued

For this reason, RDAA has urged the Government to assure these much-needed doctors of their continued future support in Australia, under the 457 visa changes announced yesterday.

“Many rural medical practice employers, as well as IMGs, are highly concerned about the as yet unexplained requirements of the new visa arrangements, particularly around market testing and the changes to permanent residency applications” RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said.

“Market testing evidence has been a requirement for IMGs in applying for a Medicare provider number for many years, so we are hoping this is not going to duplicate a process that is already in place for these doctors.

“It is important that the Government works closely with all stakeholders — including rural medical practices and IMGs themselves — to educate them on the changes to the visa requirements, as this announcement has caused significant angst for many IMGs and practices with regards to what it means for them.

“RDAA understands that doctors listed in the revised visa arrangement’s ‘medium category’ will be eligible for a four year visa, with permanent residency applications eligible after three years — a change from the two year requirement under the current 457 visa.

“The recruitment of an IMG is a long process involving many steps. A number of the steps outlined in the Government’s new visa policy, such as market testing and criminal history checks, are already in place for IMG recruitment, therefore it is essential this change to the visa requirements does not duplicate but rather replaces the processes that are already in place.

“IMGs have been a backbone of medical care in rural and remote Australia for many years — and they will continue to be for at least the next 5 years, and probably even up to 15 years.

“If it weren’t for the many dedicated and highly trained IMGs who have delivered medical care in rural and remote Australia for many years, a large number of communities would not have had access to a local doctor for decades.

“Even with the very positive measures that the Federal Government has been taking to encourage more Australian-trained doctors to work in the bush, we are still a minimum of 4-5 years away from seeing the full benefits of these measures being realised.

“It will take time to deliver more of the next generation of Australian-trained doctors who are able to work unsupervised in rural and remote communities, and then it will be a slow, ongoing process of capacity building, with a gradual year-on-year increase in the number of Australian-trained doctors choosing to work in the bush.

“With IMGs still comprising approximately 40% of Australia’s rural and remote medical workforce, we will continue to need IMGs in country Australia in the short and medium-term at least, and probably well into the long-term for some locations.

“IMGs are highly appreciated and respected by the many rural and remote communities they serve, as well as by their Australian-trained colleagues.

“They deserve significant and increased support in their critical role, particularly at a time when they are highly concerned about what the 457 visa changes will mean for them and their families.”

Article 2 : AMA CAUTIOUSLY WELCOMES NEW VISA ARRANGEMENTS FOR OVERSEAS DOCTORS

The AMA has cautiously welcomed the Government’s new visa arrangements, but is seeking more detail and clarification of the possible impact of the changes on medical workforce shortages.

The current 457 visas will be abolished from March 2018, and replaced by a new Temporary Skills Shortage Visa, which will have tighter conditions and have a smaller number of eligible occupations. It will also be harder to progress to permanent residency from the new visa class.

The AMA has been advised that doctors will still be eligible for the new visa, but there is little detail about medical specialties or groups. Existing 457 visa holders will continue on the same conditions they have now. It is important that doctors with these visas who have been working hard towards permanent residency are not disadvantaged.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said that international medical graduates (IMGs) have made a huge contribution to the Australian medical workforce, especially in rural areas and during periods of chronic workforce shortages.

“Many communities would not have doctors if it were not for the excellent work of IMGs,” Dr Gannon said.

“Australia is presently in the fortunate position of producing sufficient locally-trained medical graduates to meet current and predicted need. It is time to focus our energies on training the hundreds of Australian medical graduates seeking specialist training.

“But we still need to have the flexibility to ensure that under-supplied specialties and geographic locations can access suitably-qualified IMGs when locally trained ones cannot be recruited.

“It is important that we strike the right balance between filling vacancies with locally trained graduates and ensuring that communities, especially in rural and remote Australia, have doctors in the right numbers and with the appropriate specialist skills and experience to meet patient needs.

“The AMA welcomes the emphasis of the new arrangements to better target recruitment and the mandatory requirement for labour market testing, which the AMA has been calling for in light of the significant increases in locally-trained medical graduate numbers.

“We also need to see the Government step up policy efforts to encourage local graduates to work in the areas and the specialties where they are needed.”

Today, the chief executive officer of the National Rural Health Alliance, David Butt, did warn that banning 457 visas will have an immediate, and potentially significant, impact on the recruitment of health professionals in rural and remote Australia.

Article 3 SkyNews interview

So what does the Australian Medical Association think of the change? Joining me now live from his office in Perth is Dr Michael Gannon. He’s the President of the Australian Medical Association. Dr Gannon, thank you for your time. Do you have any concerns about the changes announced today?

MICHAEL GANNON: Well, we cautiously welcome these changes, but what we want to see is flexibility in the new arrangements to make sure that areas that still do have genuine shortages, like the rural and regional areas you mentioned, do have the ability to recruit doctors, nurses, other health workers, if need be.

ASHLEIGH GILLON: I note, looking down the list of just over 200 job categories that are being removed from that list as to people who are eligible to apply for these visas to work here, doctors are obviously not on that list, but there are plenty in the medical field. Occupations being taken off the list include medical administrators, nurse researchers, operating theatre technicians, pathology collectors, dental therapists, mothercraft nurses, first aid trainer, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers, also exercise physiologists. Are you confident those type of roles can actually be filled by Australians?

MICHAEL GANNON: Well, certainly what we’ve seen in Australia in recent years is tremendous investment in medical students, and we’ve seen similar investments in a lot of these other health professions. We need to see flexibility in the arrangements, so for those specialties or those areas of the workforce where genuine shortages remain, that we are able to get staff from overseas. But what we’ve seen too much of is this mechanism gamed. We need employers to be more honest about the needs for extra staff, and what we need to see is greater investment in training positions for those hundreds of locally trained doctors who are now lining up desperately trying to find specialist training, and then deploy them where they’re needed, making sure that Australians in rural and regional areas continue to be well serviced by health professionals.

ASHLEIGH GILLON: How far away are we from that point? From being in a position where we don’t actually need foreign doctors and nurses to bolster our health system, especially in those rural and regional areas?

MICHAEL GANNON: Well, certainly, in terms of numbers, we’ve got it about right. If anything, we’ve got an oversupply. But what we need to do, and this is going to require the input of government, it’s going to require the profession to change, we need to make sure that those potentially thousands of extra doctors that we’ve got are deployed in areas where we need them.

So we need to get smart in the future. The AMA’s calling for a third of all medical students to come from rural areas. We want to see more positive experiences for junior doctors and medical students when they go to the regions. We know from evidence that that means they’re more likely to go and work in the bush later.

There’s a moral dimension to these changes: every time Australia recruits a doctor from a Third World country, or from another country, they are taking those doctors away from populations that desperately need them. Australia’s definitely reached self-sufficiency in terms of total numbers of medical graduates. We’ve got to make sure that the public hospitals, the private hospitals, the general practices, have the training positions so that we can get Australian-trained doctors out there and working.

ASHLEIGH GILLON: Aside from the job numbers that are decreasing in terms of occupations that we’re looking for to fill some of the roles here in Australia, there still are some substantial changes involved in the announcement today, including mandatory police checks, labour market testing, but is it safe to assume that already happens in the medical field? Do you see any of the changes announced today impacting specifically people working in the health area?

MICHAEL GANNON: Look, I think that there’s going to be plenty of positives to this announcement, as long as we do maintain that flexibility. So if there is the opportunity for us to recruit a genuine superstar of academia, or someone who brings a new skill to Australia, we need the flexibility to be able to employ them. If we identify specialty by specialty, or region by region, genuine shortages, we must maintain that flexibility to employ them.

But too often it’s been easy in the public hospital system to say to Australian-trained doctors with genuine grievances, ‘look, take your problem and take it away with you. We’ll find another doctor from overseas’. It’s incumbent that the employers actually produce environments that are safe for doctors to work with and to work within. And it’s actually incumbent on them to listen to doctors if they identify shortages or shortcomings in the system.

This will make it harder for hospitals just to ignore problems. They might find it harder to just say to an Australian-trained doctor, ‘go away, we can find someone else from overseas to fill the shortage’.

ASHLEIGH GILLON: Just on another matter Dr Gannon, expectations are pretty high that the Government will be lifting the freeze on Medicare rebates for doctor visits in the Budget. You’ve been lobbying pretty hard for this change, for a long time now. How confident are you that we will see that change on Budget night?

MICHAEL GANNON: Look, I’m very confident that we’ll see some change. But one of the reasons that discussions continue between myself and the Health Minister is that he’s got a budgetary environment that is hard to give me everything that I’m asking for. We would like to see the freeze lifted across the entire Medicare Benefits Schedule. The freeze on patient rebates not only impacts on GPs, but it impacts on specialists who bulk bill their payments. And what it’s meant is that for many years now, procedural specialists have had the amount that they’re paid by the insurers frozen. That, in turn, has an impact on the public hospital system.

So you can see that the freeze is impacting across the board. To thaw out across the entire system costs over $3 billion. I’m sure there’s a situation where every other Minister is being asked to deliver substantial cuts in their budgets. And in the health sphere, we’re asking for increased spending. That’s difficult for the Minister to deliver on. Equally, he’ll be in no doubt that we want to see the freeze unravelled across the entire schedule.

ASHLEIGH GILLON: Only a few weeks to go and we’ll know all. And just finally, Dr Gannon, before you go, we saw these reports yesterday that doctors are fearing that the overuse of antibiotics could see common illnesses become life threatening. It follows the death of a woman in the US from an antibiotic resistant infection. Should we be worried about this? Should we be concerned that simple childhood illnesses could one day again become deadly?

MICHAEL GANNON: I think we’ve got a lot to worry about, and it’s not just children that need to worry, it’s adults as well. We potentially face returning to the pre-antibiotic era. This has numerous dimensions of concern. We might see what we regard now as very simple operations become too dangerous to perform. We might see people who are potentially able to be cured of auto-immune disease or cured of cancer denied these treatments because we can no longer deal with the infections that come from immune suppression.

This requires numerous elements of attention. It requires international cooperation through bodies like the G20 to recognise there is market failure in here and big pharmaceutical companies can’t afford to make the investment in looking for new antibiotics. At the individual hospital level, we need to see smarter antibiotic stewardship. At the individual patient level, we need to see patients understanding reasons why doctors don’t just want to dish out antibiotics for viral infections. These individual reports are going to become more common.

ASHLEIGH GILLON: So you think Australians at the moment are taking too many antibiotics when they don’t really need them?

MICHAEL GANNON: Well, certainly, individual doctors need to get smarter when they’re prescribing antibiotics. We need to de-escalate treatment in accordance with the results of microbiological testing, where it’s appropriate to use a narrower spectrum antibiotic. Individual patients need to get smarter in preventing the infections that can be prevented through vaccination, and they need to get smarter in understanding the difference between a virus and a bacterial infection, and if the doctor says you don’t need antibiotics for bronchitis or you don’t need antibiotics because this is a virus, they need to heed that advice and do their bit to prevent antibiotic resistance.

ASHLEIGH GILLON: Dr Michael Gannon, appreciate you joining us live there from Perth. Thank you.

MICHAEL GANNON: Pleasure, Ashleigh.

Article 4 : 457 visas vital for rural and remote health workforce

Banning 457 visas will have an immediate and potentially significant impact on the recruitment of health professionals in rural and remote Australia.

Despite the increase in the number of health professionals graduating from Australian universities, recruiting professionals to work in rural and remote Australia is still difficult.

“I would love to be in the situation where we rely on locally trained health professionals to fill all vacancies in rural and remote communities”, said David Butt, Chief Executive Officer of the National Rural Health Alliance, “but that is still many years away. Without overseas trained health professionals, many rural and remote communities would simply be without access to health care.”

“I note that a new class of visa will be available, and while I have not yet seen the requirements, I would urge the Government to be mindful of the need to ensure implementation does not impact negatively on the health needs of the seven million people living outside Australia’s major cities,” said Mr Butt.

“The people who live in rural and remote Australia have higher rates of diseases than their city cousins, and have poorer health outcomes, with death rates up to 60% higher for Coronary heart disease and 35% higher for lung cancer.

NACCHO TOP10+ #JobAlerts : This week in Aboriginal Health : Doctors, Aboriginal Health Workers etc. etc.

 

 

Aboriginal Health #racism and #cancer #WCPH2017 : The inoperable, unstoppable @Proudblacksista Colleen Lavelle and other strong stories

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,

but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou

These strong words are so true. I look at how my behaviour has changed with the brain tumour. I shudder when I think of the things I have said to my children.

I think it was about eight or nine years ago I was diagnosed with a brain tumour,

The reason I’m vague on it is I actually don’t think it’s a day to remember. It’s not a celebratory day.

Thinking about my four children motivates me to keep going

I’ll be buggered if I am going to have the [child safety] department or someone like that come in and take care of my kids.”

Cancer is a leading cause of death among Indigenous Australians, but fear, stigma and shame mean it is rarely spoken about.

Ms Colleen Lavelle’s a Wakka Wakka woman, from Queenslandknown as @Proudbacksista  tumour has been deemed inoperable, which means it’s considered terminal.

Hear or Download hear her Radio National Interview 

Or

Watch ABC TV report

Photo above from previous NACCHO News Alert

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Death by #racism: Is bigotry in the health system harming Indigenous patients ?

NACCHO and Cancer over 60 articles

NACCHO Cultural Safety

Federal Government Website

Cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia

Colleen lives in Brisbane and through her blog she has become a support person for other Aboriginal people facing cancer, helping them with practical matters and being a friendly voice on the other end of a phone line.

She also accompanies some patients to hospital appointments and would like to see it made easier for Aboriginal volunteers to do such work.

“If you come from the Torres Strait and you’ve come down here and someone’s speaking to you really fast, rattling off all these medical things you’ll kind of be going, ‘what?’,” she said.

“If you’ve got someone, one of your own mob there it makes it easier.”

 Recently Colleen wrote for Croakey /We Public Health

Close the Gap should be so much more than a photo opportunity or a morning tea. There are ways that everyone can help. I am going to share ten simple ones that I have been trying to get happening for years.

  1. More Indigenous hospital liaison officers – Whatever title you use, we need more people in the hospital working for us. Big hospitals often only employ two, that is not even close to being enough. They should be employed around the clock.
  2. Indigenous hospital volunteers – Hospitals need to have a separate army of volunteers, who deal exclusively with Indigenous patients, to spend time with the person from a remote area in a city hospital. To sit with someone having a long treatment. Just a friendly face in an alien environment.
  3. Cultural Awareness Training (CAT) – Should be compulsory with all hospital staff, from the cleaner to the director. This training should address the issues and problems in health, but also needs to be localised to have the Traditional Owners from the area to share their knowledge. To truly let people understand, I am not talking a one of two-hour session a year, but a long, fully-formed training, with refresher courses each year. All medical and Allied Health professionals should do, and be assessed on, Cultural Awareness on a regular basis, and this needs to be registered. It is not good enough when a health professional does one course on Indigenous People and 20 years later still think that was enough. General Practice also need to have CAT, even if they are not signed on to CTG, because they are going to be seeing Indigenous patients.
  4. General Practice incentive payments – GPs must lose their incentive payments if they sign on for the incentive and, during that time they don’t see an Indigenous patient. Again, they should lose the bonus if they are signed up and do not annotate the prescriptions for patients.
  5. Indigenous people have the right of choice – We should be able to see a private GP or the local Indigenous Medical Service, or both if we want, but some funding seems to steer us towards the Indigenous Medical Service. This can be hard if it’s a long way from your home and you have to depend on public transport.
  6. Employ more Indigenous people in the health sector, not just  doctors – It can be as simple as a receptionist, who makes a difference.
  7. Indigenous patients must be heard – Not just in the surgery but on national committees. Our experiences must be more than just fodder for researchers or funding applications.
  8. Buck-passing – PHNs, Division of General Practices and other organisations, must stop handing over Indigenous units to others. You have patients that see so many doctors, you have to be responsible. Handing units over to Indigenous Medical Services etc, is passing the buck. It takes away our free choice. It is a way of saying you are not interested in our wellbeing.
  9. Respect – Invite Elders to your hospital, clinic, whatever, on a regular basis, consider having an Elder in residence at your local hospital.
  10. Recognise and celebrate our important dates – It smacks of racism if a hospital is decked out in green and shamrocks everywhere for St Patrick’s day and come NAIDOC, there is a morning tea, hidden away, with only a few people involved. Share it. Don’t even get me started on Australia Day. (Okay, just a little bit) Understand that we don’t think it’s great to wave the flag or want to be in your premises when you have complete overkill of decorations and start talking about how wonderful it is.

The unspoken illness: Cancer in Aboriginal communities

Cancer is a leading cause of death among Indigenous Australians, but fear, stigma and shame mean it is rarely spoken about.

Aboriginal Australians are less likely to be diagnosed with cancer, but significantly more likely to die of the disease.

Often, symptoms and diagnoses are ignored because of the fear surrounding cancer.

Cancer in Aboriginal communities:

  • Indigenous Australians have a slightly lower rate of cancer diagnosis than non-Indigenous Australians
  • The Aboriginal cancer mortality rate is 30 per cent higher
  • Indigenous Australians are more likely to be diagnosed when cancer is advanced
  • They are less likely to participate in cancer screening programs
  • Lung cancer is the most common cancer among Indigenous Australians

Lateline spoke to some Aboriginal people about how they dealt being diagnosed and how they’re trying to break down taboos in their communities.

Rodney Graham: Bowel cancer

Rodney

Rodney Graham literally ran away from his diagnosis in 2015.

For seven months he didn’t go back to his doctor after he was told he had bowel cancer.

Eventually though, he mustered the courage to deal with the diagnosis and get treatment.

He had to travel 700 kilometres from his community of Woorabinda, in central Queensland, to Brisbane to be operated on.

“A big city like that, I don’t even like going to [Rockhampton] really. I can’t stand Rocky. But Brisbane that was a step up you know,” he said.

Now Mr Graham is happy to talk about his illness and wants to help others in his community face up to cancer.

“It might happen to someone else and they say, ‘Well we’ll go see Rodney, he knows all about it’,” he said.

“I’ll give them some advice and see how it goes from there.”

Mr Graham gave up drinking years ago and he said it probably saved his life.

“I think if I was still drinking I wouldn’t be here, you know what I mean,” he said.

Aunty Tina Rankin: Cervical cancer

Aunty Tina has survived cancer, but seen several close relatives succumb to the disease.

“One minute you’re sitting down there with that person, that person is so healthy, and then the next time you see them they’re that sick, they’re that small you can hardly recognise them,” she said.

“People think of it as the killer disease.

“They see people in cancer wards and to look at those people it puts them into a depressed state, and they go home thinking that they’re going to end up like that.”

Aunty Tina said people need to know there is help available for cancer sufferers.

She is part of the Woorabinda Women’s Group who are working to raise awareness in the community about cancer so sufferers don’t feel isolated.

“When you’re well and up and running, you’ve got that many friends,” she said.

“All of a sudden you get sick, you find out you’ve got cancer, you’ve got nobody, it feels as if you’re on your own.

“There were times when I just wanted to go and commit suicide through the depression.

“But I sit down and think about things, I pull myself out of that deep hole.”

Sevese Isaro: Lost his father to cancer

Sevese Isaro, or Tatay as he’s known locally, is Woorabinda’s radio host.

He knows first-hand how hard it can be to talk about cancer, having lost his father to the disease just a few years ago.

“Everyone just tried to stop talking about it,” he said.

“I fell back into drinking, everybody just went their own way.”

He said many people don’t go to the doctor when they suspect they could have cancer.

“They know that there’s something wrong with them, but they don’t want to go because they’re frightened of the answer,” he said.

“I guess people once they hear the word cancer they start getting frightened and they automatically give up hope.”

If you or anyone you know needs help contact your local ACCHO or call

NACCHO Alert : #Indigenous Health to be major feature opening day of #WCPH2017 World Congress on Public Health Program

 

Day 1 : Self-governance and health for Indigenous peoples of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA

See program

 “While the Indigenous cultures in the four countries are different in some obvious and critical ways, they also share key commonalities in their colonial heritages and challenges in addressing development needs. 

 Through collaboration and sharing of new thinking and innovative processes Indigenous peoples can address their contemporary needs and aspirations.

Michelle will draw on case studies that show how investment in cultural based models of government will create diverse and effective Indigenous Nations and communities.  

Michelle Deshong is a global leader in governance. She’s completeing a PhD at James Cook University in Townsville and draws her connection to the Kuku Yulanji Nation. 11.30 in The Plenary.

On behalf of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation I would like to welcome over 2,000 visitors (especially our International visitors) to #WCPH2017

The Aboriginal Community Controlled Sector deliver comprehensive primary health care in 302 sites nationally; have over 45 years of cultural capability, integrity, knowledge, and experience for the advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples dating back to early 1970’s with the establishment of our first Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern.

The lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are still on average 10 years shorter, we have far higher incidences of chronic diseases such as Diabetes and cancer and our children have less access to good quality education than the average non-Indigenous Australians.

The evidence tells us that Aboriginal people respond best to health care provided by Aboriginal people or controlled by the Aboriginal community.

Only by improving the health of Aboriginal people will we be able to tackle other areas of disadvantage – sick kids can’t get to school and sick adults can’t get to work.

That’s why we are so committed to achieving generational change in the health of Aboriginal people. “

Matthew Cooke Chair NACCHO

Subscribe to our NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alerts

The First peoples Networking space is hosted by our Victorian Affiliate VACCHO

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

Press Release Program Monday

‘Enemies of the people’: public health in the era of populist politics and media – Martin McKee, past president European Public Health Association

Public health has transformed the world. We have longer and healthier lives. Roads, work, food are all safer. So why are populist politicians and media portraying public health leaders as ‘enemies of the people’ asks Martin McKee.

They are rejecting scientific evidence and replacing it with fake news. Public health has a duty to speak truth to power. It can also help explain the rise of these forces including evidence that declining health was the strongest predictor of the shift in votes to Donald Trump.

But public health is not always on the side of the angels, especially in 1930s Germany.  We are living in dangerous times, with some of the leading countries in the world led by politicians who are both dangerous and grossly incompetent. Yet there is hope. We have been here before. We must ensure that this time public health is on the right side.

Martin McKee is Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He’s speaking at 10.30 in The Plenary. More below.

The poorest 20 per cent of Australians are most likely to be unhealthy – we can change that

“The world is an inherently unfair place—and that has consequences for your health,” says Professor Sharon Friel from ANU.

Beyond simple bugs and broken bones, health problems are also influenced by the circumstances in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age. Australian National University researcher Sharon Friel wants to break these ‘social determinants of health’.

She will share a case study of how national policies can encourage healthy and equitable eating, helping to prevent chronic disease; explain how international trade agreements can have health consequences, and discuss a vision for a fair; sustainable and healthy world.

Sharon has advised the WHO and the Rockefeller Foundation on health equity.

The fifth of Australia’s adult population in the lowest socioeconomic status bracket is also the group most likely to be regular smokers, to do little or no exercise, to be overweight and to have high blood pressure. Could it be due to poorer access to healthy food? Or living in car-dependent outer suburbs that don’t encourage walking?

Sharon Friel is speaking at 11 am in The Plenary. More below

How to eliminate HIV and hepatitis B and C

Blood-borne diseases kill millions of people globally every year. The World Health Organization has set targets to end the HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C epidemics by 2030 and there is a real possibility of achieving these goals.  Margaret Hellard from the Burnet Institute will lead a World Leadership Dialogue exploring what we need to do to end these diseases—and it will take more than drugs.

“It is vitally important that we take a multipronged approach if we are going to end the epidemics of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. We need prevention –  safe sex education and access to pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV transmission, access to clean injecting equipment and opioid substitution therapy.  We need to ensure that the “birth dose” of hepatitis B vaccine is given to all babies globally within 24 hours of birth. We need simple, affordable blood tests.  We need to ensure equity of access to treatment.  Finally, we need research for cures and vaccines.”

1.30 pm, more below.

Creating systems to prevent chronic diseases – Andrew Wilson, Australian Partnership Prevention Centre

Chronic diseases kill more than 38 million people a year and are the leading cause of premature death and disability in Australia. Despite all our efforts to encourage people to live more healthily, we’re getting fatter and sicker. Andrew Wilson will lead the World Leaders Dialogue session ‘Exploring systems approaches to chronic disease prevention’, with presentations and discussion with international and national leaders in health policy and research in new ways to tackle this wicked problem. 4 pm.

Self-governance and health for indigenous peoples of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA

While the Indigenous cultures in the four countries are different in some obvious and critical ways, they also share key commonalities in their colonial heritages and challenges in addressing development needs.  Through collaboration and sharing of new thinking and innovative processes Indigenous peoples can address their contemporary needs and aspirations. Michelle will draw on case studies that show how investment in cultural based models of government will create diverse and effective Indigenous Nations and communities.

Michelle Deshong is a global leader in governance. She’s completeing a PhD at James Cook University in Townsville and draws her connection to the Kuku Yulanji Nation. 11.30 in The Plenary. More below.

Other speakers/topics/stats from day one, Monday, at the World Congress on Public Health

  • Medicine is a social science and politics is nothing more but medicine on a grand scale. What does that mean in 2017? Dr Ilona Kickbusch, Global Health Centre, Geneva, 12 noon, The Plenary
  • What can we learn from past global pandemics to be ready for the next one? – Raina Macintyre, UNSW
  • Sex after 65: Sexual activity and physical tenderness in older adults – Rosanne Freak-Poli, Monash University
  • Are celebrities bad for your health? Stars in food and beverage advertising – Vivica Kraak, Virginia Tech
  • Up, Up and Away with Superhero Foods: Developing nutrition resources for school aged children – Jennifer Tartaglia, Foodbank WA
  • Stopping mothers, children and adolescents dying young (six million preventable young deaths last year), Judy Lewis, University of Connecticut
  • Could Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership be good for public health? Deborah Gleeson, LaTrobe University

The 15th World Congress on Public Health is on from 3 to 7 April at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

NACCHO Press Release #WCPH2017 : NACCHO welcomes funding of $35.2 million for 36 #ACCHO Tackling Indigenous Smoking Programs

 

 “ NACCHO welcomes the government’s commitment to provide $35.2 million for aboriginal controlled community health bodies to lead the fight against smoking in urban remote and regional communities.

 There is still a long way to go in reducing smoking rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people but we are making some progress through innovative, effective, evidence led programs by our members with the support of research organisations

NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke said Minister Ken Wyatt had recognised the work that NACCHO’s member organisations do to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

In this NACCHO News Alert you will find

1.NACCHO Press Release

2.Kimberley AMS Tackling Indigenous Smoking  Program (Photo above)

3.Tackling Indigenous Smoking Programme components

4. TIS Resources and information Centre

5.Check-out monitoring and evaluation videos for Tackling Indigenous Smoking programs

6. Examples of our ACCHO / TIS programs that work

7.Links to Grant Recipient websites

Read  NACCHO Aboriginal Health Smoking 100 + Research / Articles Here

The peak body for Aboriginal medical services today welcomed the government’s commitment to provide $35.2 million for aboriginal controlled community health bodies to lead the fight against smoking in urban remote and regional communities.

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Care Organisation Chair Matthew Cooke said the funding would go to front line services to prevent people taking up smoking and encourage smokers to quit.

Mr Cooke said 36 Aboriginal medical services would receive the funding to continue leading programs targeting smoking in their local communities.

See all ACCHO / TIS website links below or View here

“Smoking is responsible for 23 per cent of the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians – and is an overwhelming contributor to higher rates of cancer, strokes and heart disease in our communities,” Mr Cooke said,

“Evidence by researchers in Darwin shows that there are historical reasons why smoking rates are higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“That’s why it is so critical that any programs tackling smoking are designed, led and implemented on the ground by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people so they are meaningful for our people and they are effective.”

About 40% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 and over smoke daily. Aboriginal people living in remote communities smoke at three times the rate of other Australians.

The latest Closing the Gap report shows that while targets to halving the smoking rates by next year are not on track, there has been a 9 per cent reduction in smoking rates among Aboriginal people since 2002.

2.Photo Above : Deadly Dan and local health representatives are urging Kimberley smokers to kick the habit.

A team of Kimberley smoke-busters has been established to help Aboriginal people kick the habit.

The Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services’ Tackling Indigenous Smoking program was launched in Broome in 2016 to coincide with World No Tobacco Day.

The 13-person team, embedded in Aboriginal Medical Services in Broome, Derby, Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing, will provide support to Aboriginal people to become smoke-free through individual and family-based case management, education programs and other training initiatives.

The program has been funded by the Federal Department of Health and will run until June 2018.

To celebrate the launch of the Kimberley TIS program, KAMS and community health partners hosted a barbecue event at Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Services.

Read full article HERE

Tackling Indigenous Smoking Programme components

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, tobacco smoking is the most preventable cause of ill health and early death, and responsible for around one in five deaths. More national statistics.

The Australian Government has delivered a targeted program to reduce Indigenous smoking rates (Tackling Indigenous Smoking) with regional grants since 2010.

It has also supported the important complementary role of primary health care services in the delivery of brief interventions, and developed nationwide media campaigns targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as part of the National Tobacco Campaign, including Break the Chain television, radio, digital and print advertising, the More Targeted Approach, Quit for You, Quit for Two targeting pregnant women and Don’t Make Smokes Your Story.

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that all actions taken to address high rates of smoking are based on available evidence and delivered in the most appropriate, effective and efficient way. To support this, a review of Tackling Indigenous Smoking was commissioned by the Department of Health. The review was undertaken by the University of Canberra in 2014 and included stakeholder input in various forms.

Informed by the review, the revised TIS programme with a budget of $116.8 million over 3 years ($35.3 million in 2015-16; $37.5 million in 2016-17 and $44 million in 2017-18) was announced by the Government, on 29 May 2015.

See current

Programme components

The programme consists of the following components:

    • Regional tobacco control grants to support multi-level approaches to tobacco control that are locally designed and delivered to prevent the uptake of smoking and support smoking cessation among Indigenous Australians, Funding for the new grants commenced from 1 January 2016;
    • A National Best Practice Unit (NBPU) to support regional tobacco control grant recipients through evidence-based resource sharing, information dissemination, advice and mentoring, workforce development, and monitoring and evaluation, with support and leadership provided by the National Coordinator – Tackling Indigenous Smoking, Professor Tom Calma AO. The NBPU was sourced through an open tender process with a consortium led by Ninti One and including the University of Canberra, University of Sydney and Edith Cowan University is operating the NBPU;
    • Enhancements to existing Quitline services and provision of frontline community and health worker brief intervention training;
    • Program Evaluation and Monitoring which includes the design of an evaluation and monitoring framework to be used for the development of local and national performance indicators for grant reporting and to guide overall programme evaluation. The Cultural and Indigenous Research Centre (CIRCA) has been contracted to develop the Programme Evaluation and Monitoring Framework and undertake the evaluation of the TIS program as a whole; and
    • Innovation grants in remote and very remote areas which have high smoking rates and within specific groups such as pregnant women and young people susceptible to taking up smoking, for commencement in mid-2016.

In addition to the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program, the Australian Government provided $10 million for an Indigenous specific campaign for the National Tobacco Campaign 2016, which commenced on 1 May 2016 across various media.

The campaign, “Don’t Make Smokes Your Story” aims to increase sustained efforts to quit smoking and to reduce smoking uptake, targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, by highlighting the risks associated with smoking and avenues of support within a cultural context.

Website

4. Resources and TIS portal information Centre

The TIS Programme aims to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by reducing the prevalence of tobacco use. The Programme has a number of parts:

  • Regional Grants to organisations
  • A National Best Practice Unit (NBPU)
  • Enhancements to Quitline services
  • Quitskills training
  • Innovation Grants
  • A National Coordinator for Tackling Indigenous Smoking
  • An evaluation of the overall Programme

Website Portal Here

5.Check-out monitoring and evaluation videos for Tackling Indigenous Smoking programs

View Vidoes Here

6. Examples of our ACCHO / TIS programs that work

Check thru to the NACCHO site page to view videos

 

NSW Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service

NSW Galambila / Durri / Werin Coffs Harbour Kempsey and Port Macquarie

Do you love your sport? Don’t let smoking impact your ability to breathe free and easily. Chuck those smokes away; get outside and play #deadlynready #ToMakeOurMobSmokeFree

Drop into your local AMS for support on your quit journey today #readymob if you would like Ready Mob to attend your school or community group please see our page for more details http://smokefreecommunity.com.au/ Galambila Aboriginal Health Service

NT Danila Dilba

 Check out the Facebook Page

 

NT Katherine West Health Board

Indigenous Hip Hop Projects was proud to partner with Katherine West Health Board and Bulla Camp to create this follow up deadly Music Video/ Health Resource.

The key message was focused on the tobacco and smoking issues in the community particularly with people smoking in cars and in the house

South Australia Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia

Allan Sumner is a talented South Australian artist. He is a descendant of three Aboriginal peoples being the Ngarrindjeri people from the lower river and lakes of the Murray River along the Coorong, the Adelaide plains Kaurna people and the Yankunytjatjara people from central Australia.

The Nunkuwarrin Yunti Tackling Tobacco Team contracted Ochre Dawn who approached Allan to create an artwork to illustrate the story that Nunkuwarrin Yunti and the community share in tackling tobacco.

Drawing upon his own experience, 20 years of working in health, tobacco control and on personal health battles “It came to me very easy, to create the artwork” said Allan.

“The Tackling Tobacco Teams new artwork is a contemporary view which has traditional elements present, in particular the symbol in reference to the pregnant mothers and children are popular across many cultural groups. Some of the other symbols, you wouldn’t necessarily see in Aboriginal artwork but they do have meaning.

These new symbols will be used into the future. I think that’s how Aboriginal artwork is bold, it was never ever the same before, the fact is, it’s always taken someone to sit down and recreate something to give it meaning to say this is what I want it to represent, and that’s exactly what I’m doing. My artwork in years to come, my children’s children are going to say ‘that symbol means this’. Aboriginal culture is living and always transforming, it’s never set, it changes over a long period of time, and I’m just a part of creating that culture.”

“Quitting smoking isn’t easy and it’s a narrow path. In the Tackling Tobacco Team artwork, I came up with the idea to illustrate that narrow path. There’s always barriers to why people can’t give up the smokes, so I thought it’s like a river, to get across the river there is narrow paths, then there’s stepping stones in the river, you have to find those stepping stones of support to get across to the fresh air on the other side”.

Further “I wanted the artwork to be vibrant and eye catching so that people stop and take a look. I wanted to really portray the messages well, therefore I put a lot of thought into the descriptions of the symbols used, so that when people look at the artwork they understand the full meaning and story behind it”. Allan explained that the artwork being contemporary in nature containing new stories, cultural symbols and significant meaning, will continue to be linked to Aboriginal history, it will in time become a very valuable story to the viewers.

Tackling Tobacco Team & Robert de Castella, Adrian Dodson-Shaw and Elsie Seriat from Indigenous Marathon Foundation.Thanks for dropping in

QLD The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health Deadly Choices

Murri Places, Smoke-free Spaces is an initiative by The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health aimed at reducing the prevalence of tobacco smoking, particularly within health services and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workplaces.

Follow on Facebook

It includes smoke-free policies, smoking cessation and nicotine dependence education and support programs for staff and their families. It also encourages creating and identifying smoke-free spaces – including workplaces, houses and cars to increase health and wellbeing in the community.

Going smoke-free is a Deadly Choice – why?

  • Tobacco smoking is the largest single preventable cause of death and disease in Australia
  • There are approx. 19,000 smoking related deaths each year
  • 47% of Indigenous people smoke compared to 17% of the Australian population
  • Smokes cost about $20 per pack, so if you smoke 1 pack of cigarettes a day you’ll spend $7280 per year!

Join the Smoke-Free Team today and get your limited edition jersey

If you have been thinking about giving up the smokes, now is a great time to get support from your local Aboriginal Medical Service.

How to get your limited edition Smoke-Free Team jersey:

  1. Tell your AMS you are interested in joining the Smoke-Free Team and giving up the smokes
  2. Attend four (4) Quit appointments
  3. Take home your limited edition Deadly Choices Smoke-Free Team jersey

Not a smoker? You can still get your jersy by referring a friend or family member. Once they have completed their four (4) Quit appointments, you’ll both get a jersey!

Are you interested in finding out more?

Contact your nearest Aboriginal Medical Service and ask about Quit Smoking programs, Nicotine Replacement Therapy and other supports they can offer.

programs 01

Download Smoking During Pregnancy Fact Sheet
Download Tips For Quitting Fact Sheet
Download Tobacco fact sheet

Make a Deadly Choice today.

Contact your nearest clinic for assistance and NRT if appropriate

QLD Apunipima Cape York Health Council.

Check out our TIS stall in Hopevale today! Kurtis & Dean have set up opposite the school to promote the key messages of our program 🙂

Have a yarn with them if you would like to be involved in your local social marketing campaign.

#DontMakeSmokesOurStory #CloseTheGap
National Best Practice Unit Tackling Indigenous Smoking — at Hopevale,Queensland

What’s Your Story, Cape York?’ Facebook page is administrated by the Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) Team at Apunipima Cape York Health Council.

‘Don’t Make Smokes Your Story’ is a national campaign on that shares the real, difficult stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have smoked tobacco. The campaign was initiated by the Australian Government as part of their plan to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoking rates.

QLD Carbal Medical Service

Check out the website

WA   Wirraka Maya Health Service Aboriginal Corporation

Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS)

The Tackling tobacco team is a part of the Healthy lifestyles team at the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) and provides smoking cessation throughout the Aboriginal community in Victoria.

The team’s focus is to cut the smoking rates in the community and close the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

Activities include:

  • client support and education
  • pilot hypnotherapy program for community to quit smoking
  • health promotion/smoking cessation education at community events
  • presentations to young people and other organisations
  • referrals to Quit

The team partners with the Aboriginal Quit line counsellors wherever possible

Website Page

Tasmania Aboriginal Centre

 

Website

 

ACT Winnunga

Winnunga’s Tobacco/Healthy Lifestyle Workers offer health information sessions and stalls at events, schools and workplaces as well as referrals into our No More Boondah (link to be inserted here soon) quit smoking program. Onsite at Winnunga we offer access to a range of programs including healthy cooking and sporting/exercise groups.

Winnunga has a smoke free policy which states that smoking is prohibited on all grounds surrounding Winnunga’s main building, car park and art room.

If you would like to enquire about our team attending your event, workplace or school please call us on 02 6284 6222 and ask for Chanel Webb, Tobacco Action Worker or Ian Bateman, Healthy Lifestyle Worker.

If you would like information about Winnunga’s ‘No More Boondah’ quit smoking program click here  or call Perri Chapman, Tobacco Action Worker, on 02 6284 6222.

Be sure to visit our face book page ‘tackling Indigenous smoking & promoting healthy lifestyles’ for the latest updates on smoking and living healthy!

WEBPAGE

6.Links to Grant Recipient websites

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Smoking : @KenWyattMP announces $35.2 million funding #ACCHO Anti-smoking programs

These health services are all delivering frontline services to prevent young Indigenous people taking up smoking and to encourage existing smokers to quit.

Reducing smoking rates is central to the Government’s efforts to close the gap in life expectancy, but requires a consistent, long-term commitment”

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt

Over 100 NACCHO Articles about smoking

REDUCING INDIGENOUS SMOKING TO CLOSE THE GAP

The Australian Government will provide $35.2 million next financial year to continue anti-smoking programs targeted to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in regional and remote areas.

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt, said the Government had approved the continuation of funding to 36 Aboriginal Community ControlledHealth Services and one private health service.

“These health services are all delivering frontline services to prevent young Indigenous people taking up smoking and to encourage existing smokers to quit,”  .

“Reducing smoking rates is central to the Government’s efforts to close the gap in life expectancy, but requires a consistent, long-term commitment.

“Smoking causes the greatest burden of disease, disability, injury and earlydeath among Indigenous people and accounts for 23 per cent of the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.”

Under the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) National Healthcare Agreement, all governments have committed to halving the 2008 adult daily smoking rate among Indigenous Australians, of 44.8 per cent, by 2018.

“The rate of smoking among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is still far higher than among other Australians and is damaging their health in many ways,” Minister Wyatt said.

It’s unlikely now that we will meet the COAG target, but we are making progress.

“It’s important that anti-smoking programs are meaningful for Indigenous people and changes made in recent years have ensured that only programs which are evidence based and effective are receiving grants.”

Continued funding for the 37 health services follows a preliminary evaluation of the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program which found that it was operating effectively and using proven approaches to changing smoking behaviour.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Our #ACCHO Members Good News Stories from #NT #WA #VIC #SA #NSW #QLD @KenWyattMP

1. NSW Jullums , Bullinah and Bulgarr Ngaru ACCHO/AMS

2. NSW Wellington Aboriginal Corporation AMS

3. South Australia Nunyara Aboriginal Health Service 

4.Western Australia : Aboriginal Health Council of WA.

5.Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS)

6. NT 6. NT Katherine West Health Board

7. QLD Deadly Choices and  Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service

 For NACCHO the acceptance that our Aboriginal controlled health services deliver the best model of integrated primary health care in Australia is a clear demonstration that every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person should have ready access to these services, no matter where they live.

 Lets celebrate and share our ACCHO’s success

How to submit a NACCHO Affiliate

or Members Good News Story ? 

 Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media     Mobile 0401 331 251

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication each Thursday

 

1.Jullums (Lismore), Bullinah (Ballina), Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Corporation (Casino, Maclean and Grafton) Clinic’s

The idea of these workshops is to raise awareness around the different signs and symptoms of heart disease, and also around prevention and management of the disease.

“This is a new, collaborative approach to addressing this issue, but we’re also working together with existing avenues such as healthy lifestyle and exercise programs to assist participants to make the most of what they’ll be learning.”

Aboriginal Chronic Care Officer with NNSWLHD, Anthony Franks

A series of workshops is being held in Northern NSW to raise awareness of the risk factors for heart disease and engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women on ways to reduce their chances of becoming one of the statistics.

Download dates and venues Northern NSW Workshops dates and Venues

ABORIGINAL and Torres Strait Islander women are at least three times more likely to be hospitalised due to heart disease than their caucasian counterparts.

Heart disease is the leading single cause of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

The program consists of three one-day workshops, with the first being held in March at various sites across the North Coast.

The participants will attend each of the three workshop days in March, May and July, with the aim of continuing the education and providing feedback and follow up at the later meetings.

The workshops are a collaboration between the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSW LHD), local Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS), North Coast Primary Health Network (NCPHN), Solid Mob, and the NSW and Queensland Government health coaching services, Get Healthy and On Track. They are funded by the National Heart Foundation.

Workshops are being held in Grafton, Muli, Casino, Ballina, Maclean, Goonellabah and Tweed Heads.

2. Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service 

Health expo to change bad habits in men

The Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service hosted the QuiBFit Aboriginal Men’s Health Expo in Dubbo.

About 120 men participated from across the region which includes Orange, Coonabarabran, Walgett, Wellington, Dubbo, Parks and Goodooga.

A major focus was tackling Indigenous smoking and mental health and wellbeing.

Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service chief executive Darren Ah See said a lot of th e focus in the Indigenous health sector is on “mums and bubs”.

“It’s good to have an event like this for men because they are the reluctant ones about getting their health checks”, he said.

“We want to try to change that norm and get men to take responsibility not only around their health and wellbeing but to be the leaders of their communities and families.

“It’s all about social and health wellbeing but it is also about mentorship and trying to encourage families and individuals to head in the right direction”.

The expo culminated with a corroboree, with more than 300 people attending.

Western NSW Local Health District Aboriginal health and wellbeing director Brendon Cutmore said it was extremely important to focus on preventive health at the expo.

“It is really our opportunity as Aboriginal men to take control of our lives, whether that be through eliminating some of the negative habits people have, things such as smoking, drugs and alcohol, “he said.

“Coming to these types of event sand having discussions around how to make your life healthier, how to be a leader in the community and how to be a leader in your family and how your actions reflect on the people around you – that’s a big take home message.

 3.Nunyara Aboriginal Health Service Whyalla SA

 “ I encouraged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to attend the gathering in Whyalla to benefit from the stories and experiences of their peers.

It is important that these gatherings to take place in regional areas so Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women living outside of Adelaide have the chance to network and share community news.

Previous gatherings have been very successful and attracted many participants from across the state.

These events are also an opportunity for the State Government to strengthen ties with local service providers and gain insight into matters affecting the community.

Status of Women Minister Zoe Bettison

Co-facilitator’s Kimberley from OfW and Zena Wingfield for the in Whyalla today

The first State Aboriginal Women’s Gathering for 2017 was held in Whyalla this week

The gathering took place on Tuesday 28 March at Nunyara Aboriginal Health Service, Whyalla Stuart.

The gatherings gave Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women an opportunity to discuss a range of issues and share news from their communities.

Guest speakers presented information on topics including health, women’s legal services, sports and recreation, mental health and wellbeing, and caring support.

Status of Women Minister Zoe Bettison said the gatherings give women the opportunity to learn from each other, share experiences and discuss issues, in a safe and supportive environment.

The Office for Women has partnered with Whyalla’s Nunyara Aboriginal Health Service to convene this event.

Background

In 2016, five separate State Aboriginal Women’s Gatherings were held across the state to make it easier for women in regional areas to participate.

Whyalla was identified as a significant location for the first gathering of 2017 as a way to provide support and information to Aboriginal women in the region.

Gatherings have also been planned for 2017 in the Far West Coast and the South East.

For more information about the State Aboriginal Women’s Gatherings visit www.officeforwomen.sa.gov.au

4. Aboriginal Health Council of WA.

“ The prevalence of ear disease and hearing loss in Aboriginal kids has a major effect on their speech and educational development, social interactions, employment and future wellbeing,

While many children are vulnerable to chronic ear disease, in WA it represents a significant burden for Aboriginal children who can experience their first onset within weeks following birth.

Aboriginal children can also have more frequent and longer lasting episodes compared to non-Aboriginal children.”

AHCWA Chairperson Michelle Nelson-Cox said poor ear health was a significant problem among Aboriginal people, particularly children.

Training program to improve ear health among Aboriginal people

A training program to assist Aboriginal Health Workers to provide ear health care to their communities is being delivered around the state by the Aboriginal Health Council of WA.

The two week ear health training program was delivered in four different locations last year, and 23 Aboriginal Health Workers (AHWs) have graduated from the course so far.

The program is scheduled to be delivered in at least four more locations this year including Perth, Broome and Kalgoorlie. More trainings will be scheduled for the second half of the year.

The program teaches AHWs how to manage ear infections, carry out screening, identify risk factors and plan ear health promotion and strategies.

AHCWA Chairperson Michelle Nelson-Cox said poor ear health was a significant problem among Aboriginal people, particularly children.

“The prevalence of ear disease and hearing loss in Aboriginal kids has a major effect on their speech and educational development, social interactions, employment and future wellbeing,” she said.

“While many children are vulnerable to chronic ear disease, in WA it represents a significant burden for Aboriginal children who can experience their first onset within weeks following birth.

“Aboriginal children can also have more frequent and longer lasting episodes compared to non-Aboriginal children.”

Ms Nelson-Cox said people in regional areas were more susceptible to ongoing ear problems.

“Children living in remote communities have some of the highest rates of chronic ear disease in the world,” she said.

“We want to spread the message in regional communities that early detection and treatment of ear diseases in children is vital to ensure optimum development of speech, language, and to minimise the long term effects on educational performance.”

AHCWA has also launched a giant inflatable ear to be used as an interactive teaching tool among Aboriginal communities.

Koobarniny, which means ‘big’ in the Noongar language, is believed to be the first of its type in Australia.

Koobarniny is currently being used at different events around the metropolitan area, but it’s hoped it will travel to regional areas in the future.

 5. Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS)
 
 7. QLD Deadly Choices and  Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service

It’s been a great couple of days in the North with today’s visit by Steve Renouf, Lote Tiquiri & Brisbane Broncos James Roberts at the DC Yarrabah Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service Aboriginal Corporation

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Aboriginal Health #obesity : 10 major health organisations support #sugartax to fund chronic disease and obesity #prevention

Young Australians, people in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and socially disadvantaged groups are the highest consumers of sugary drinks.

These groups are also most responsive to price changes, and are likely to gain the largest health benefit from a levy on sugary drinks due to reduced consumption ,

A health levy on sugary drinks is not a silver bullet – it is a vital part of a comprehensive approach to tackling obesity, which includes restrictions on children’s exposure to marketing of these products, restrictions on their sale in schools, other children’s settings and public institutions, and effective public education campaigns.

We must take swift action to address the growing burden that overweight and obesity are having on our society, and a levy on sugary drinks is a vital step in this process.”

Rethink Sugary Drink campaign Download position statement

health-levy-on-sugar-position-statement

Read NACCHO previous articles Obesity / Sugartax

Amata SA was an alcohol-free community, but some years earlier its population of just under 400 people had been consuming 40,000 litres of soft drink annually.

See NACCHO Story

SBS will be showing That Sugar Film this Sunday night 2 April at 8.30pm.

There will be a special Facebook live event before the screenings

 ” The UK’s levy on sugar sweetened beverages will start in 2018, with revenue raised to go toward funding programs to reduce obesity and encourage physical activity and healthy eating for school children.

We know unhealthy food is cheaper and that despite best efforts by many Australians to make healthier choices price does affect our decisions as to what we buy.”

Sugar tax adds to the healthy living toolbox   see full article 2 below

 ” Alarmingly, with overweight becoming the perceived norm in Australia, the number of people actively trying to lose weight is declining.   A recent report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that nearly 64 per cent of Australians are overweight or obese.  This closely mirrors research that indicates around 66 per cent of Americans fall into the same category.

With this apparent apathy towards personal health and wellbeing, is it now up to food and beverage companies to combat rising obesity rates?

Who is responsible for Australia’s waistlines?  Article 3 Below

Ten of Australia’s leading health and community organisations have today joined forces to call on the Federal Government to introduce a health levy on sugary drinks as part of a comprehensive approach to tackling the nation’s serious obesity problem.

The 10 groups – all partners of the Rethink Sugary Drink campaign – have signed a joint position statement calling for a health levy on sugary drinks, with the revenue to be used to support public education campaigns and initiatives to prevent chronic disease and address childhood obesity.

This latest push further strengthens the chorus of calls in recent months from other leading organisations, including the Australian Medical Association, the Grattan Institute, the Australian Council of Social Services and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

Craig Sinclair, Chair of the Public Health Committee at Cancer Council Australia, a signatory of the new position statement, said a health levy on sugary drinks in Australia has the potential to reduce the growing burden of chronic disease that is weighing on individuals, the healthcare system and the economy.

“The 10 leading health and community organisations behind today’s renewed push have joined forces to highlight the urgent and serious need for a health levy on sugary drinks in Australia,” Mr Sinclair said.

“Beverages are the largest source of free sugars in the Australian diet, and we know that sugary drink consumption is associated with increased energy intake and in turn, weight gain and obesity. Sugary drink consumption also leads to tooth decay.

“Evidence shows that a 20 per cent health levy on sugar-sweetened beverages in Australia could reduce consumption and prevent thousands of cases of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke over 25 years, while generating $400-$500m in revenue each year to support public education campaigns and initiatives to prevent chronic disease and address childhood obesity.

“The Australian Government must urgently take steps to tackle our serious weight problem. It is simply not going to fix itself.”

Ari Kurzeme, Advocacy Manager for the YMCA, also a signatory of the new position statement, said young Australians, people in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and socially disadvantaged groups have the most to gain from a sugary drinks levy.

The Rethink Sugary Drink alliance recommends the following actions to tackle sugary drink consumption:
• A public education campaign supported by Australian governments to highlight the health impacts of regular sugary drink consumption
• Restrictions by Australian governments to reduce children’s exposure to marketing of sugar-sweetened beverages, including through schools and children’s sports, events and activities
• Comprehensive mandatory restrictions by state governments on the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages (and increased availability of free water) in schools, government institutions, children’s sports and places frequented by children
• Development of policies by state and local governments to reduce the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages in workplaces, government institutions, health care settings, sport and recreation facilities and other public places.

To view the position statement click here.

Rethink Sugary Drink is a partnership between major health organisations to raise awareness of the amount of sugar in sugar-sweetened beverages and encourage Australians to reduce their consumption. Visit www.rethinksugarydrink.org.au for more information.

The 10 organisations calling for a health levy on sugary drinks are:

Stroke Foundation, Heart Foundation, Kidney Health Australia, Obesity Policy Coalition, Diabetes Australia

the Australian Dental Association, Cancer Council Australia, Dental Hygienists Association of Australia,  Parents’ Voice, and the YMCA.

Sugar tax adds to the healthy living toolbox 

Every day we read or hear more about the so-called ‘sugar tax’ or, as it should be more appropriately termed, a ‘health levy on sugar sweetened beverages’.

We have heard arguments from government and health experts both in favour of, and opposed to this ‘tax’. As CEO of one the state’s leading health charities I support the state government’s goal to make Tasmania the healthiest population by 2025 and the Healthy Tasmania Five Year Strategic Plan, with its focus on reducing obesity and smoking.

However, it is only one tool in the tool box to help us achieve the vision.

Our approach should include strategies such as restricting the marketing of unhealthy food and limiting the sale of unhealthy food and drink products at schools and other public institutions together with public education campaigns.

Some of these strategies are already in progress to include in our toolbox. We all have to take some individual responsibility for the choices we make, but as health leaders and decision makers, we also have a responsibility to create an environment where healthy choices are made easier.

This, in my opinion, is not nannyism but just sensible policy and demonstrated leadership which will positively affect the health of our population.

 Manufacturers tell us that there are many foods in the marketplace that will contribute to weight gain and we should focus more on the broader debate about diet and exercise, but we know this is not working.

A recent Cancer Council study found that 17 per cent of male teens drank at least one litre of soft drink a week – this equates to at least 5.2 kilograms of extra sugar in their diet a year.

Evidence indicates a significant relationship between the amount and frequency of sugar sweetened beverages consumed and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  We already have 45,000 people at high risk of type 2 diabetes in Tasmania.

Do we really want to say we contributed to a rise in this figure by not implementing strategies available to us that would make a difference?

I recall being quite moved last year when the then UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said that he wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t act on reducing the impact of sugary drinks.

“I am not prepared to look back at my time here in this Parliament, doing this job and say to my children’s generation… I’m sorry. We knew there was a problem with sugary drinks…..But we ducked the difficult decisions and we did nothing.”

The UK’s levy on sugar sweetened beverages will start in 2018, with revenue raised to go toward funding programs to reduce obesity and encourage physical activity and healthy eating for school children. We know unhealthy food is cheaper and that despite best efforts by many Australians to make healthier choices price does affect our decisions as to what we buy.

In Mexico a tax of just one peso a litre (less than seven cents) on sugary drinks cut annual consumption by 9.7 per cent and raised about $1.4 billion in revenue.

Similarly, the 2011 French levy has decreased consumption of sugary drinks, particularly among younger people and low income groups.

The addition of a health levy on sugar sweetened beverages is not going to solve all problems but as part of a coordinated and multi-faceted approach, I believe we can effect change.

  • Caroline Wells, is Diabetes Tasmania CEO

3. Who is responsible for Australia’s waistlines? from here

Alarmingly, with overweight becoming the perceived norm in Australia, the number of people actively trying to lose weight is declining.   A recent report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that nearly 64 per cent of Australians are overweight or obese.  This closely mirrors research that indicates around 66 per cent of Americans fall into the same category.

With this apparent apathy towards personal health and wellbeing, is it now up to food and beverage companies to combat rising obesity rates?

Unfortunately it is not clear cut.  While Big Food and Big Beverage are investing in healthier product options, they also have a duty to shareholders to be commercially successful, and to expand their market share. The reality is that unhealthy products are very profitable.  However companies must balance this against the perception that they are complicit in making people fatter and therefore unhealthier with concomitant disease risks.

At the same time, the spectre of government regulation continues to hover, forcing companies to invest in their own healthy product ranges and plans to improve nutrition standards.

The International Food and Beverage Alliance (a trade group of ten of the largest food and beverage companies), has given global promises to make healthier products, advertise food responsibly and promote exercise. More specific pledges are being made in developed nations, where obesity rates are higher and scrutiny is more thorough.

However companies must still find a balance between maintaining a profitable business model and addressing the problem caused by their unhealthy products.

An example of this tension was evident when one leading company attempted to boost the sale of its healthier product lines and set targets to reduce salt, saturated fat and added sugar.  The Company also modified its marketing spend to focus on social causes.  Despite the good intentions, shareholders were disgruntled, and pressured the company to reinstate its aggressive advertising.

What role should governments play in shaping our consumption habits and helping us to maintain healthier weights? And should public policy be designed to alter what is essentially personal behaviour?

So far, the food and beverage industry has attempted to avoid the burden of excessive regulation by offering relatively healthier product lines, promoting active lifestyles, funding research, and complying with advertising restrictions.

Statistics indicate that these measures are not having a significant impact.  Subsequently, if companies fail to address the growing public health burden, governments will have greater incentive to step in.  In Australia, this is evident in the increased political support for a sugar tax.  The tax has been debated in varying forms for years, and despite industry resistance, the strong support of public health authorities may see a version of the tax introduced.

Already, Australia’s food labelling guidelines have been amended and tightened, and a clunky star rating system introduced to assist consumers to make healthier choices. Companies that have worked to address and invest in healthy product ranges must still market them in a responsible way. Given the sales pressure, it is tempting for companies to heavily invest in marketing healthier product ranges.  However they have an obligation under Australian consumer law to ensure products’ health claims do not mislead.

We know that an emboldened Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is taking action against companies that deliberately mislead consumers.  The food industry is firmly in the its sights, with a case currently underway against a leading food company over high sugar levels in its products. This shows that the Regulator will hold large companies to account, and push for penalties that ‘make them sit up and take notice.’

At a recent Consumer Congress, ACCC Chair Rod Sims berated companies that don’t treat consumers with respect.  He maintains that marketing departments with short-term thinking, and a short-sighted executive can lead to product promotion that is exaggerated and misleading.  All of which puts the industry on notice.

With this in mind, it is up to Big Food and Big Beverage to be good corporate citizens.  They must uphold their social, cultural and environmental responsibilities to the community in which they seek a licence to operate, while maintaining a strong financial position for their shareholders. It is a difficult task, but there has never been a better time for companies to accept the challenge.

Eliza Newton, Senior Account Director

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Reform : @KenWyattMP Shortfall on Indigenous health targets prompts new reform drive

 

” The Department of Health has moved to evaluate the effectiveness of primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including the $3.4 billion Indigenous Australians’ Health Program, established in 2014 as a key component of a 10-year health plan

A focus on how well the health system is working for consumers is critical to inform and bring about real change to improve service delivery and health outcomes

There also remain potentially significant groups of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who are not receiving access to the services they need … If health equality is to be achieved, the speed and scale of transformational change needs to considerably increase.”

A department spokeswoman told The Weekend Australian Picture above Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt. Picture: Kym Smith

The government has moved to target the socio-economic ­determinants of health for policy revisions. Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt has called on communities to contribute to discussions through the My Life, My Lead consultations.

Further reforms are likely from next year

The Australian Government is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and communities, and other stakeholders to improve progress against the goals to improve health outcomes for Indigenous Australians, and is  welcoming participation in the IPAG Consultation 2017 from a broad range of stakeholders.

You can have your say by taking part in the online submission to the IPAG consultation 2017.

The online submission will be open from Wednesday 8 March 2017 and will close 11.59 pm Sunday 30 April 2017.

The failure to adequately improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health has prompted the Turnbull government to order a sweeping review of its multibillion-dollar primary health programs.

Malcolm Turnbull’s recent update on Closing The Gap initiatives showed little improvement in indigenous health and a consistently dire outlook, at a time health systems and budgets are under strain.

The target of closing the life expectancy gap — 16 years for ­indigenous women and 21 years for indigenous men — will not be reached by 2031. While the chronic diseases death rate has improved, cancer deaths still rise and smoking rates are too high.

Documents provided to companies interested in conducting the independent review reveal the department’s frustration at the lack of improvement and the need to reassess the approach to serving indigenous communities.

“While some inroads are being made, Australia is not on track to achieve the COAG targets to close the gap — either in health or a number of other related areas,” the documents state. “There also remain potentially significant groups of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who are not receiving access to the services they need … If health equality is to be achieved, the speed and scale of transformational change needs to considerably increase.”