Health gap widens as politicians continue to ignore Senate report

A report that found billions of dollars could be saved annually if recommendations from a tripartisan Senate Inquiry were implemented has failed to spark politicians into action on the social determinants of health.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Senate Community Affairs Committee tabling its report following an Inquiry into Australia's efforts to address health inequity and the social determinants of health. There has been no official response to the report from either major party.

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Duplication, uncertainty provide sufficient cause for scrapping ACNC

Despite good intentions to reduce charity red tape, the legislation creating the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has unnecessarily added regulatory burdens to the nation's crucial charitable sector, and the Federal Government's decision to repeal the ACNC Act should not be blocked by the Opposition and cross-bench members of the Senate.

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CHA welcomes new internship places in Catholic hospitals

Australia's largest non-government provider group of health and aged care services has warmly welcomed the Commonwealth's announcement today that it intends to further utilise the expertise in Catholic hospitals to train the doctors of tomorrow through medical internship placements in another three of those facilities.

Health Minister Peter Dutton, speaking at the Mater Hospital in Townsville this morning, announced the new Commonwealth Medical Internship (CMI) initiative. The program provides $40 million over the next four years to fund internships in regional areas for international full-fee-paying medical graduates who have completed their medical studies in Australia.

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Dutton's health productivity call long overdue

Australia's health funding is unsustainable, but quality improvements and cost efficiencies without essential service cuts can be achieved by expanding not-for-profit health care delivery, Catholic Health Australia said today.

Following Health Minister Peter Dutton's Wednesday address to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia in Brisbane, CHA chief executive officer Martin Laverty said not-for-profit health services have a long history of delivering hospital care and they are seeking a new partnership with governments.

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New initiative will assist in formation of Catholic health, aged care leaders

Following the endorsement of a new strategy to assist Catholic health and aged care services in the formation of trustees, board directors and senior executives, Catholic Health Australia has today launched Pathways – an initiative that will help services maintain their identity and fidelity to their mission.

"At our 'Stewards of the Mission' conference earlier this year, representatives from all the major Catholic health and aged care providers were in agreement that there was huge benefit to be gained from working together in the area of leader formation," Catholic Health Australia CEO Martin Laverty said.

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Doctors should test for and treat poverty

General practitioners should screen patients for chronic diseases for which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified poverty as a key risk factor, a NSW Health Ministry summit will be told today.

Catholic Health Australia CEO Martin Laverty, who is also chair of the national Social Determinants of Health Alliance, will tell the gathering that cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and other chronic diseases could be identified and treated earlier if a socioeconomic screening tool was used in doctor's surgeries to identify poverty-related diseases.

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Government’s first aged care move bad for unions, equitable for workers

The new Government's termination of the previous Government's Aged Care Workforce Supplement will prevent as many as 140,000 aged care staff from being disadvantaged by criteria that would have seen up to 40 per cent of aged care services ineligible for wage funding.

Last night's joint announcement by Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews and Assistant Minister Senator Mitch Fifield of the suspension of the Aged Care Workforce Supplement was accompanied by a pledge to consult on how aged care wages could sustainably be improved.

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Consult before commission of audit, new ministers urged

Catholic Health Australia has welcomed today's announcement of the new ministers in the key portfolios of health and social services but called for them to bring a spirit of engagement – not a fiscal sledgehammer – to their new roles in the lead-up to the commission of audit.

Prime Minister-Elect Tony Abbott today appointed Peter Dutton as the new minister for health and Kevin Andrews as the new minister for social services, who will represent aged care at the Cabinet table.

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Mercy Health executive recognised as national emerging leader

An experienced health executive who has contributed to the financial and organisational turnaround of major Catholic hospitals was recognised with the Emerging Leader Award at last night's Catholic Health Australia awards dinner in Melbourne.

Dr Linda Mellors has worked in the Victorian public health system for more than 12 years and is currently executive director of Mercy Public Hospitals Inc. In a range of areas, her experience and leadership have helped Mercy Health build on its legacy of outstanding service to the people of Victoria.

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National award honours health care for homeless Australians

A program that focuses on the health and well-being of people who are homeless or vulnerably housed has been recognised as making a major contribution to those in need. The program received the Outreach Healthcare Award at last night's CHA awards dinner.

Homeless to Home Healthcare is an initiative of Mater Health Services and Micah Projects. The two organisations have for several years been providing leadership in Brisbane to try to ensure health care can reach people with complex health problems that are not being met by existing health services. St Vincent's Hospital Brisbane was welcomed to the innovative partnership this year.

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Nurses’ staff assistance program earns national award

As Australia continues to struggles with the effects of suicide on families, communities and the nation, the work of two nurses over more than six decades has earned them the Catholic Health Australia Nurse of the Year award.

Sian James and Maria Field developed and have for many years presented a suicide prevention workshop for staff at St John of God Hospitals in Richmond and Burwood – both private psychiatric facilities in New South Wales. With many of the hospitals' patients having attempted suicide, the nurses realised that hospital staff needed training and support in how best to deal with individuals expressing suicidal ideation or having attempted suicide.

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