Aboriginal health info sources
Looking for a reputable resource for Aboriginal health info? Try www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au including a yearly overview of indigenous health. The aim is to provide access to evidence for people interested in improving the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians. Access is free, available to all, and funded by the federal government. Online “yarning places” encourage information-sharing among practitioners, policy-makers and others, including one for indigenous social and emotional wellbeing, nutrition, substance use and health workers. Go to www.yarning.org.au/index.php/groups. The HealthBulletin online journal on indigenous health is at www.healthbulletin.org.au.
AHPRA discontent response
Someone in AHPRA has woken up to the mess the national system has created. We guess there were consumers not getting Medicare rebates from consulting non-registered practitioners or nurses not turning up to work because cumbersome and poorly thought out systems had left some health practitioners more than a month past their registration date. This meant AHPRA had no option but to de-register them. Then follows a mountain of paperwork to get re-registered. Now, we have fast-track applications to re-register these people, with no additional fees and much reduced paperwork. Service delivery improvements include WA office phone response by more experienced personnel, a simplified website, and an online tracking system for renewals/applications (aiming for >60% renewals online).
A bloody good idea
With a unit of blood costing $700 it makes sense to minimise transfusions so WA Health has launched the Patient Blood Management (PBM) program – presurgical correction of anaemia and iron deficiency, low loss surgery techniques, and revised thresholds for transfusions. Fremantle Hospital successfully trialled the system and PBM clinical nurse consultants will now drive it in each major hospital. Between 5-75% of patients presenting for elective surgery are anaemic, and of those over age 75 with normal Hb levels, 20% of men and 17% of women are iron deficient. Transfusing to correct this perioperatively only increases morbidity, hospital stay, readmission rates and mortality. See www.health.wa.gov.au/bloodmanagement
NFP mental health funding
The Western Australian Association for Mental Health (WAAMH) received $1.695m over two years – to pass it to 75 NFP agencies that assist those with mental illness to self-direct their support, and avoid the helplessness that government intervention creates (says Minister Morton). It’s for the agencies to develop workforce training in leadership and mental health first aid. Agencies will be encouraged to group together and a directory will be developed for consumers.
E-health scramble continues
As the shuffle for e-Health supremacy quickens up, Communicare Systems Pty Ltd and the UWA’s Centre for Software Practice will seek to combine systems – Communicare and MMEx – to service remote areas in particular. MMEx has a foothold in regional hospitals and centres as the communication portal with community doctors and others. The web-based information sharing and clinical patient management systems will be aimed at chronic disease management and telehealth, two areas government wants to create savings for using e-Health. Communicare software is used extensively in Aboriginal community health services primarily.
Aboriginal involvement, top down
HDWA has allocated an extra $0.5m over three years in its partnership with the Aboriginal Health Council of WA (AHCWA). The money will be used to ensure more Aboriginal people become “actively involved in key leadership and strategic decision-making roles” in healthcare delivery. AHCWA was established in 2005 and is the peak body for 19 Aboriginal medical services across the state. Medical Forum will tackle the issue of Aboriginal competency training for health workers in our next edition.
Fresh Start gets government tick
The Fresh Start drug and alcohol recovery program run by Dr George O’Neil has secured $1.5m from State Government. The centre is operated by the Australian Medical Research Procedures Foundation and treats patients with heroin, opiate and alcohol addictions. Naltrexone implants, central to treatment, are seeking registration through the TGA. The State Government has contracted researchers to assist with this application. $500,000 to support the centre until June 30, with $1m to last until June 30, 2012. This covers 244 treatments. The struggle for legitimacy seems almost over.