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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Ground-breaking research earns national award

First-of-its-kind research assessing the long-term effects of anaesthesia and surgery on older people with mild age-related loss of memory, reasoning and decision-making has earned a hospital department the Catholic Health Australia Leadership in Positive Ageing award.

The study, being conducted by St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne's anaesthetics department under the leadership of Associate Professor David Scott, continues the department's long history of clinical practice in caring for the aged. The department has also initiated a drive for more thorough pre-operative assessment of cognition.

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St John of God Sister honoured for lifetime of service, leadership

From the training grounds of country Victoria to an Irish university, en route to hospitals in Western Australia, Hong Kong and Pakistan and back to Australia again, St John of God Sister Isobel Moran has been a trailblazer in Catholic health and aged care for more than 50 years.

Her enduring contribution to the Catholic health and aged care community in Australia was last night recognised with her announcement as the fourth recipient of the Sr Maria Cunningham Lifetime Contribution Award at the Catholic Health Australia awards dinner in Melbourne.

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Coalition health policy acknowledges Catholic hospitals' training role

Catholic Health Australia has welcomed the Coalition's commitment to think outside the square in the training of increasing numbers of medical graduates, with Catholic hospitals' role in training acknowledged in the Support Australia's Health System document launched today.

CHA chief executive officer Martin Laverty said the network of 75 hospitals in the Catholic network welcomed the Coalition's commitment of $40 million for medical internships in private and non-traditional settings.

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Politicians told "MEND MEDICARE!"

Medicare is failing while our politicians turn a blind eye to the widespread and growing inequities facing those needing treatment. Out-of-pocket health costs running into thousands of dollars a year for families and seniors, lengthening delays for elective surgery and widespread disparities in access to doctors and other health professionals demonstrate the emergence of a two-tier health system: Full treatment for the well off and patchy care for the rest.

Click here to access the MEND MEDICARE document.

Click here to view a video of Martin Laverty explaining why politicians need to MEND MEDICARE

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Changes to aged care mustn’t affect poorest of the poor

The decision announced in today's Pre-Election Statement to introduce a national fees policy for the Home Support Program must not lead to reduced access to care by older Australians, and particularly the poorest and most frail members of that group, Catholic Health Australia has urged.

Treasurer Chris Bowen's announcement will allow millions of dollars in savings under the Home Support Program by requiring some older Australians to make greater contributions to their own care costs, and importantly ensure that people around the country with the same financial means contribute the same for their care services.

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One third of aged care providers not breaking even

The release of analysis into the financial sustainability of aged care providers points to the need for aged care to play a key role in the 2013 federal election, according to the organisation representing one of the largest aged care networks in Australia.

An Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA) report released today found 30 per cent of aged care providers failed to break even in the last year, which Catholic Health Australia's CEO Martin Laverty said underscored the need for a continuing focus on aged care reform.

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