Nurse's personal touch, compassion earn national award

As Australia continues to try to find ways to help those living with mental illness, the work of a mental health nurse over more than four decades has earned her the Catholic Health Australia Nurse of the Year award.

For the past eight years, Ailsa Tate has worked as triage nurse at St John of God Pinelodge Clinic, an acute mental health hospital with 18 drug and alcohol rehabilitation beds and 36 acute psychiatric beds. In her current role, and for many years before that, she has developed a manner that, coupled with her experience, allows her to quickly connect with her patients.

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National award honours care for families with young children

A program that focuses on the well-being of parents and their children during pregnancy and the early years of the child's life 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.

The Hawkesbury District Health Service last year established the Safe Start program with the aim of being able to provide support services to families caring for children up to the age of five who have been identified as having complex psychosocial needs.

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Award-winning program helps seniors live best lives possible

Reuniting family and friends. Easing pain for those in palliative care. Teaching a resident computer skills. Funding a trip to the footy. Those are just some of the ways a program that received the Leadership in Positive Ageing Award at last night's Catholic Health Australia awards dinner has improved people's lives.

Southern Cross Care (Vic) established the "Imagine" fund to spark creative thinking from staff to recognise opportunities that would positively affect the lives of the older clients and residents it supports, particularly those with limited finances or those who are socially isolated with little or no family.

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First of its kind website launched at CHA conference

Families dealing with the challenge of a life-limiting condition in their unborn child have a valuable new resource to help them decide how to proceed with their pregnancy following today's launch of a first-of-its-kind Australian website.

In Perth this morning, the Perinatal Palliative Care website, which can be accessed at pnpc.org.au, was launched at the Catholic Health Australia national conference. The website was developed as a collaboration of hospitals that provide perinatal palliative care services and supported by Catholic Health Australia.

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Catholic Health Australia releases Shared Purpose Statement

After a period of consultation and preparation, Catholic Health Australia this morning released a new document that articulates the shared goals and vision underpinning Catholic health and aged care services.

CHA chief executive officer Martin Laverty said the decision to develop the new Shared Purpose Statement was made after association members suggested it would be useful to have such a document. CHA's new Stewardship Board chair, Rowena McNally, launched the statement at the beginning of the association's national conference in Perth.

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Catholic hospitals able to train more of tomorrow's doctors

With concerns being raised about the capacity of state and territory governments to guarantee training opportunities for all this year's medical graduates, Catholic health services that provide 10 per cent of the country's hospital beds may fill the breach.

The Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (AHMAC) today acknowledged with the largest graduating class on record, with more than 3,500 anticipated graduates, there will likely be a shortfall in internship places available in government-run public hospitals.

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Charity red tape will grow if COAG doesn't act

State and territory governments should refer their charitable reporting functions to the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) to avoid the very real possibility of ballooning charity red tape.

Catholic Health Australia, the nation's largest group of not-for-profit hospitals and aged care services, welcomed the scaling back of powers for the ACNC revealed in legislation released late Friday. The legislation will be examined by a Parliamentary Inquiry.

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Guide for Governance assists leaders of Church ministries

A new book launched in Canberra yesterday will serve as a valuable resource for Catholic health and aged care services as lay people are called upon to serve in leadership roles that were previously held by religious and priests.

The Guide for Understanding the Governance of Catholic Health and Aged Care Services was produced by Catholic Health Australia, in conjunction with the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia. Representatives of all three organisations were present for yesterday's launch.

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60,000 avoidable hospital admissions costs taxpayers $2.3 billion

An Australia-first study has found 500,000 people could avoid chronic illness, $2.3 billion in annual hospital costs could be saved, and the annual number of taxpayer-funded Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme prescriptions could be cut by 5.3 million.

The study, The Cost of Inaction on the Social Determinants of Health, reveals avoidable chronic illness costs the Federal Government $4 billion each year in welfare payments and the national economy $8 billion in lost earnings.

Click here to read the study's findings.

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Deferred charity regulation opportunity to cut red tape

The Federal Government's deferral of mooted changes to not-for-profit law provides time for State and Territory Governments to rethink their resistance to creating a genuine National not-for-profit regulator.

Welcoming the Federal Government's decision today to delay new not-for-profit governance and reporting requirements until 2013, Catholic Health Australia (CHA) thanked Ministers David Bradbury and Mark Butler for acting in response to problems that rushed regulatory change of not-for-profit law would have created.

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Catholic health leader addresses Vatican conference

The chair of the Catholic Health Australia Stewardship Board has addressed a Vatican conference about the physical and spiritual care of people with visual impairment living in Australia.

Tony Wheeler was one of several international speakers invited to the conference, hosted by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, to describe efforts to improve the visual health of people in their home countries.

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