Partyline #59, June 2017 is out now at http://www.ruralhealth.org.au/partyline
The biennial National Rural Health Conference is the largest and most influential event on the rural and remote health calendar in Australia. The 2017 Conference held in Cairns in late April lived up to this reputation and in this issue of Partyline we are pleased to bring you some of the highlights.
In his editorial, Alliance CEO David Butt focuses on one of the key recommendations to come from the Conference – the call for a dedicated national rural health strategy and associated implementation plan. The Alliance will be looking to work with all Governments and other stakeholders to bring about this long-overdue strategy.
You’ll also find: a pictorial essay on the Conference arts and health program; an overview of the wide-ranging research projects covered in the poster presentations; the winners of the Friends of the Alliance Photo and Poetry Competitions; an article on Wuchopperen Health Service which, together with Elders from local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, provided a Culture, Healing and History space at the Conference; and the presentation of the Friends Unsung Hero Award to the Pusmucans/Lawrence family.
The first year of life is crucial to a child’s social and emotional development. The National Health and Medical Research Council has analysed the evidence on programs and services delivered during pregnancy or the first year of life that may influence infant social and emotional development and wellbeing. In other articles focusing on children’s health, Sarah Moeller describes how the Earbus and Starlight Foundations are working together to reduce the incidence of otitis media in Aboriginal children living in remote Western Australia; and Lindsay Cane discusses a coordinated approach from schools and allied health professionals to support children with conditions of emotional dysregulation or developmental delays.
Following the tragic death of Remote Area Nurse colleague Gayle Woodford in March 2016, there has been a drive to improve the safety and security of the remote health workforce. CRANAplus has just released safety guidelines for the remote health workforce which provide a structured pathway to identify risks and prioritise areas for improvement.
The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network outlines concerns about telecommunications issues in regional, rural and remote Australia and the need for guaranteed access to voice and internet services in rural areas.
Three articles tackle issues relating to drugs and alcohol: Allan Murphy from the Drug and Alcohol Foundation describes the Local Drug Action Team program supporting community organisations to find local solutions; ‘Getting the facts about ice’ covers the Cracks in the Ice Online Community Toolkit providing trusted, evidence-based information and resources about ice for the community; and Jenny Beach discusses the expansion of alcohol and drugs outreach services in Western New South Wales.
Other articles cover: support for primary eye care in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services; the benefits and challenges of point of care pathology testing in remote areas; the national strategy that is improving access to pain services; and a trial of GP video consultations in residential aged care.
We also congratulate award winners Tim Duffy, optometrist from Gunnedah; and James Fitzpatrick, paediatrician and researcher from Western Australia.
For these stories and many more, visit http://ruralhealth.org.au/partyline/