Showing posts with label health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health. Show all posts

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Only 39 days to go until concerned Australian citizens can opt out of the Turnbull Government's collection of personal health information for its national database


Apparently this email is currently being sent out to registered Australian citizens.

Australian Digital Health Agency, email, 5 June 2018:

Hello,

You are receiving this email because you registered your email address at myhealthrecord.gov.au to find out more information about how to opt-out of the My Health Record system.

If you do not want a My Health Record, you must register your choice between 16 July and 15 October 2018 during the opt-out period. It is not possible to opt-out of having a record before the opt-out period starts.

The opt-out period will not apply to individuals who have previously chosen to have a My Health Record, or were included in the Nepean Blue Mountains or North Queensland opt-out trials in 2016. Individuals who have an existing My Health Record can cancel their record at any time. Instructions on cancelling a record can be found on the My Health Record website.

Once the opt-out period starts you will receive another email letting you know that the opt-out period has started and what to do if you still want to opt-out.

A My Health Record is a secure online summary of an individual’s key health information. 1 in 5 Australians already have one. It’s an individual’s choice who sees their My Health Record, what’s in it and who it is shared with. My Health Record has safeguards in place to protect an individuals’ information including encryption, firewalls and secure login.

For further information about the My Health Record, please visit the My Health Record website.

Thank you,

The My Health Record System Operator
www.digitalhealth.gov.au

[my yellow highlighting]

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

An insider has finally admitted what any digital native would be well aware of - your personal health information entered into a national database will be no safer that having it up on Facebook


Remembering that a federal government national screening program, working with with a private entity, has already accessed personal information from Medicare without consent of registered individuals and entered these persons into a research program - again without consent - and these individuals apparently could not easily opt out of being listed as a research subject but were often only verbally offered  the option of declining to take part in testing, which presumably meant that health data from other sources was still capable of being collected about them by the program. One has to wonder what the Turnbull Government and medical establishment actually consider patient rights to be in practice when it comes to "My Health Record".

Healthcare IT News, 4 May 2018:

Weeks before the anticipated announcement of the My Health Record opt out period, an insider’s leak has claimed the Australian Digital Health Agency has decided associated risks for consumers “will not be explicitly discussed on the website”.

As the ADHA heads towards the imminent announcement of the three-month window in which Australians will be able to opt out of My Health Record before being signed up to the online health information repository, the agency was caught by surprise today when details emerged in a blog post by GP and member of the steering group for the national expansion of MHR, Dr Edwin Kruys.

Kruys wrote that MHR offers “clear benefits” to healthcare through providing clinicians with greater access to discharge summaries, pathology and diagnostic reports, prescription records and more, but said “every digital solution has its pros and cons” and behind-the-scenes risk mitigation has been one of the priorities of the ADHA. However, he claimed Australians may not be made aware of the risks involved in allowing their private medical information to be shared via the Federal Government’s system.

“It has been decided that the risks associated with the MyHR will not be explicitly discussed on the website,” Kruys wrote.

“This obviously includes the risk of cyber attacks and public confidence in the security of the data.”

The most contentious contribution in the post related to the secondary use of Australians’ health information, the framework of which has yet to be announced by Health Minister Greg Hunt.

Contacted by HITNA, the agency moved swiftly to have Kruys delete the paragraph relating to secondary use.

In the comment that has since been removed, Kruys wrote, “Many consumers and clinicians regard secondary use of the MyHR data as a risk. The MyHR will contain a ‘toggle’, giving consumers the option to switch secondary use of their own data on or off.”

Under the My Health Records Act 2012, health information in MHR may be collected, used and disclosed “for any purpose” with the consent of the healthcare recipient. One of the functions of the system operator is “to prepare and provide de-identified data for research and public health purposes”. 

Before these provisions of the act will be implemented, a framework for secondary use of MHR systems data must be established. 

HealthConsult was engaged to assist the Federal Government in developing a draft framework and implementation plan for the process and within its public consultation process in 2017 received supportive submissions from the Australasian College of Health Informatics, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and numerous research institutes, universities, and clinicians’ groups.

Computerworld, 14 May 2018:

Use of both de-identified data and, in some circumstances, identifiable data will be permitted under a new government framework for so-called “secondary use” of data derived from the national eHealth record system. Linking data from the My Health Record system to other datasets is also allowed under some circumstances.

The Department of Health last year commissioned the development of the framework for using My Health Record data for purposes other than its primary purpose of providing healthcare to an individual.

Secondary use can include research, policy analysis and work on improving health services.

Under the new framework, individuals who don’t want their data used for secondary purposes will be required to opt-out. The opt-out process is separate from the procedure necessary for individuals who don’t want an eHealth record automatically created for them (the government last year decided to shift to an opt-out approach for My Health Record)……

Access to the data will be overseen by an MHR Secondary Use of Data Governance Board, which will approve applications to access the system.

Any Australian-based entity with the exception of insurance agencies will be permitted to apply for access the MHR data. Overseas-based applicants “must be working in collaboration with an Australian applicant” for a project and will not have direct access to MHR data.

The data drawn from the records may not leave Australia, but under the framework there is scope for data analyses and reports produced using the data to be shared internationally……

The Department of Health came under fire in 2016 after it released for download supposedly anonymised health data. Melbourne University researchers were able to successfully re-identify a range of data.

Last month the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner revealed that health service providers accounted for almost a quarter of the breaches reported in the first six weeks of operation of the Notifiable Data Breach (NDB) scheme.


Australians who don't want a personal electronic health record will have from July 16 to October 15 to opt-out of the national scheme the federal government announced on Monday.

Every Australian will have a My Health Record unless they choose to opt-out during the three-month period, according to the Australian Digital Health Agency.

The announcement follows the release of the government’s secondary use of data rules earlier this month that inflamed concerns of patient privacy and data use.


Under the framework, medical information would be made available to third parties from 2020 - including some identifying data for public health and research purposes - unless individuals opted out.

In other news....... 


A cyber attack on Family Planning NSW's website has exposed the personal information of up to 8000 clients, including women who have booked appointments or sought advice about abortion, contraception and other services.

Clients received an email from FPNSW on Monday alerting them that their website had been hacked on Anzac Day.

The compromised data contained information from roughly 8000 clients who had contacted FPNSW via its website in the past 2½ years to make appointments or give feedback.

It included the personal details clients entered via an online form, including names, contact details, dates of birth and the reason for their enquiries….

The website was secured by 10am on April 26, 2018 and all web database information has been secure since that time

SBS News, 14 May 2018:

Clients were told Family Planning NSW was one of several agencies targeted by cybercriminals who requested a bitcoin ransom on April 25…..
The not-for-profit has five clinics in NSW, with more than 28,000 people visiting every year.

The most recent Digital Rights Watch State of Digital Rights (May 2018) report can be found here.

The report’s 8 recommendations include:

Repeal of the mandatory metadata retention scheme

Introduction of a Commonwealth statutory civil cause of action for serious invasions of privacy

A complete cessation of commercial espionage conducted by the Australian Signals Directorate

Changes to copyright laws so they are flexible, transparent and provide due process to users

Support for nation states to uphold the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in the digital age

Expand the definition of sensitive information under the Privacy Act to specifically include behavioural biometrics

Increase measures to educate private businesses and other entities of their responsibilities under the Privacy Act regarding behavioural biometrics, and the right to pseudonymity

Introduce a compulsory register of entities that collect static and behavioural biometric data, to provide the public with information about the entities that are collecting biometric data and for what purpose

The loopholes opened with the 2011 reform of the FOI laws should be closed by returning ASD, ASIO, ASIS and other intelligence agencies to the ambit of the FOI Act, with the interpretation of national security as a ground for refusal of FOI requests being reviewed and narrowed

Telecommunications providers and internet platforms must develop processes to increase transparency in content moderation and, make known what content was removed or triggered an account suspension.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Saying "Thank you"......




A letter from mum and dad

Ed,

We will never forget certain things from this journey ever in our lives. On March 22, 2018 our lives changed forever.

Watching our baby Emerald (7 months old) go into cardiac arrest and multi organ failure one hour after arriving at our local hospital, me just taking her because I thought she was sick, then it all went downhill from there. The NETs retrieval team was called in to take us to Westmead; Emerald suffered a seizure in Grafton from low blood sugar that resulted in a brain injury and fluid on her brain, needing life support. It took NETS another six hours to stabilise her to get on the plane. Emerald was blue and lifeless and no one thought she would make it; in that moment I thought my baby had died, then the next day eight hours after arrival at the children’s hospital, we had a diagnosis of a very rare CHD called ALCAPA that Emerald had been silently fighting for seven months and was never picked up. They took her for major open heart surgery at 8am on March 23; the longest day of my life. They told me to be prepared for the worst as they expected Emerald to come back on the ECMO (the double bypass machine for lungs and heart).

3pm came and Emmy was about to come out of surgery and she wasn’t on the machine! When the head surgeon sat me down and pretty much told me no one told him about her low blood sugar and Emerald suffered another seizure creating a complication for the surgery, yet she still didn’t come back on that machine, they kept telling me that she would end up on it to give her heart a rest; the next week was very touch and go, we almost lost our girl three more times but still no ECMO; Emerald was fighting so hard
And the doctors telling me that her liver and kidneys won’t make it; she was so puffed up with fluid and so yellow from the jaundice and that they thought she had more seizures, but couldn’t tell because she was on the muscle relaxant, the only thought in my head was if she was going to be ok. I didn’t care if her brain injury resulted in her being a little more special, I just wanted to know she was ok – they couldn’t guarantee us anything and they still can’t. Emerald also contacted two blood infections, pneumonia from being on the life support and a collapsed lung.

This experience has been very trying and testing and very traumatising and we feel so out of our comfort zone being here and almost 700km away from home.

A few anxiety attacks from mum and dad over the last 5 weeks
Some very touch and go moments I will never forget.
We are slowly on the road to recovery, Emerald has astounded all her doctors with how far she has come and that she ever once stopped fighting.
Emerald is a miracle five weeks post op and she is saying mum, hi, can do high 5; eating solids again and rolling over from side to side!

I could not be standing here today beside my heart warrior if it wasn’t for the support from my family and friends and the entire community who has rallied around my daughter to help us. Thank you for all the donations and the prayers; we are truly blessed to have such caring kind hearted people in our lives and our little gem is fighting to get back to our little community so we can say thank you to everyone that has helped us.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I know this journey still has a long, long way to go and the shock has worn off finally and is only just hitting me now, but every day is a step closer to home and Emmy is improving every single day.
And I appreciate everything you all have done – Thank you.

Thank you for never leaving Emerald in the dark.
Jess and Kev – Emerald’s parents

Sunday, 29 April 2018

HTLV-1 Infection: “I suspect we would have dealt with the problem before now if it was in Sydney”



The Guardian, 24 April 2018:

Researchers say HTLV-1 is more widespread across central and northern Australia than previously thought. Dr Lloyd Einsiedel is an infectious diseases clinician with the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute based at Alice Springs hospital.

“We cover all the way out to the western desert and we have patients from northern South Australia, and it’s endemic throughout our entire catchment area of a million square kilometres,” Einsiedel says.

“So it’s very suggestive that we have a major problem and it really pays no attention to borders, these very artificial constructs of Europeans.”

Einsiedel worries there will be “significant mortality” over the next five to 10 years from HTLV-1 related bronchiectasis (lung disease). The region already has the highest reported prevalence of adult bronchiectasis in the world.

I suspect we would have dealt with the problem before now if it was in Sydney
Dr Lloyd Einsiedel

Einsiedel says testing and treatment are a priority. There also needs to be a public awareness campaign in Aboriginal languages, and all remote area health workers need to be educated too.

However, HTLV1 presents a unique set of problems.

First, the world doesn’t know enough about it. In the early 1980s, HTLV-1 and HIV were discovered around the same time but HIV was a major global emergency that rightly got attention. HTLV-1 was thought to be asymptomatic; people might carry it their whole lives and never show any adverse effects. Five to 10% of patients might develop fatal lung disease or leukaemia in later life but most would be fine. A map of the world’s HTLV-1 hotspots reveals another clue as to why it’s so neglected. [my yellow highlighting]


Guardian graphic | Source: ECDC


Read the full aticle here.

Turnbull Government has just placed a multinational corportion with an appalling human rights record at the first contact interface with the National Disability Insurance Scheme


“It has a history of problems, failures, fatal errors and overcharging”  [Senior Appleby compliance officer quoted in The Guardian on the subject of Serco, 7 June 2017]

If the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) didn't have enough internal structural problems to deal with along comes the UK-based multinational Serco Group.

A group implicated in: human rights abuses in prisons and immigration detention centres it has managed; poor to unsafe health service delivery including at Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth, overcharging for services rendered under government contractsfraudulent record keeping and manipulating results when there was a failure to reach targets; mishandling of radioactive waste and labour rights abuses.

The Guardian, 23 Apri 2018:

Disability rights groups, Labor and the Greens have slammed a decision to hire the multinational outsourcing giant Serco in a key role administering the national disability insurance scheme.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) announced on Friday afternoon that Serco, a company with a chequered corporate history, would help run its contact centres under a two-year contract.

The decision would put the company at the frontline of the NDIS, interacting frequently with people with disability and service providers, many of whom are still grappling with a vast, complex and sometimes confusing scheme.

 “Sourcing our contact centre services from Serco will give ongoing flexibility, responsiveness and value for money,” the NDIA said in a statement.

But the decision has outraged disability rights campaigners, who say Serco’s poor history abroad and its lack of experience in disability should have precluded it from any role delivering the landmark scheme. 

People with Disability Australia co-chief executive, Matthew Bowden, said he was “gravely concerned” that Serco would, like other third-party providers, fail to uphold the values, objectives and principles underpinning the NDIS.

“We have no details on what expertise Serco have in providing communication services for people with disability, or why the NDIA has decided to outsource such a vital part of its services,” Bowden said.

“The NDIA needs to hire more staff and make their communication avenues with people with disability more transparent. Instead, they are offloading their responsibilities, and requirements, to deliver services to people with disability.”
Paralympian Kurt Fearnley was among those expressing concern at the decision, saying Serco would be “racking their brains on how they can bring lived experience of disabilities into their workplace”.

“The NDIS will be worthless if people with disabilities aren’t at its core!” he tweeted.


Saturday, 14 April 2018

Quotes of the Week



“We have the right to store a copy of your  [personal e-health] record and we are the only ones in the market to have this level 4 certification.”  [Romain Bonjean, co-founder Tyde, app developer registered portal operator with Australian Government Digital Health Agency & My Health Record, quoted in the Australian Financial Review on 6 April 2018]

“Life is short and shorter for smokers. Just legalise vaping.”  [Andrew Laming MP, Dissenting Report, submitted to Australian HoR Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport, March 2018]

“When we kick their ass they all like to claim we’re drunk. I’ve been hanging out getting ready to ram a hot poker up David Hogg’s ass. Busy working; preparing.”  [St. Louis radio host Jamie Allman threatening anti-gun activist & highschool student David Hogg, as reported by Snopes, 9 April 2018]


“They promised us a grilling. We got PR.”  [UK journalist Carole Cadwalladr tweeting about US Senate hearing at which Facebook founder & CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared on 10 March 2018]

“I start to wonder if, in fact, how the developers mine money for Facebook has become a bit of a mystery to Zuck.”  [IT journalist Richard Chirgwin opining on Facebook founder & CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter, 12 April 2018]

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Mainstream media continues to amplify racist dog whistles in 2018


In September 2017 the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) published the new Code of Conduct for Nurses and Code of Conduct for Midwives. The codes took effect for all nurses and midwives in Australia on 1 March 2018.


The new codes for nurses and midwives can be found here.

These codes passed without much comment until far-right Senator Cory Bernardi began to bay about “political correctness” on 31 January 2018 and claim that Nurses must acknowledge white privilege and voice this acknowledgment if asked.

According to ABC Media Watch he was followed by the Murdoch media running with this blatant dog whistle, followed by Andrew Bolt, Peta Credlin and various radio shock jocks.

Misleading media coverage culminating in a truly appalling piece of journalism by Channel 7 which elicited this response…………..

Luke Pearson writing at @IndigenousX on 24 March 2018:


“BUT FIRST TONIGHT, THE CONTENTIOUS NEW CODE TELLING NURSES TO SAY ‘SORRY FOR BEING WHITE’ WHEN TREATING THEIR INDIGENOUS PATIENTS..

That’s how Today Tonight Adelaide began last night.
It continued:

“Now, it’s the latest in a string of politically correct changes for the health industry, but this one has led to calls for the Nursing Board boss to resign.”

It was followed by a five minute story with the new code being condemned by someone you’ve probably never heard of, Graeme Haycroft, explaining that: “According to how the code is written, the white nurse would come in and say, ‘before I deal with you, I have to acknowledge to you that I have certain privileges that you don’t have” followed by Cory Bernardi calling it divisive.

It goes on in this vein for a full five minutes before it cuts back to the presenter, who finally says, “The Nursing and Midwifery Board has told us that the code was drafted in consultation with Aboriginal groups and has been taken out of context as it’s not a requirement for health workers to declare or apologise for white privilege”.

And just to reinforce that point, the entire premise for the segment was false. There is no requirement for nurses to apologise for being white, which would be very awkward for the more the more than 1500 Indigenous nurses across Australia, and the countless others who also aren’t white to begin with. But, even for the nurses who are – THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT FOR THEM TO APOLOGISE FOR BEING WHITE.

So, why on Earth would Today Tonight run such a story?

Why would they base a story off the demonstrably false allegations of this Graeme Haycroft person?

To answer that, it might useful to cut back to a 2005 Sydney Morning Herald story about Mr Haycroft:

“A member of the National Party and the H.R. Nicholls Society, he (Mr Haycroft) boasts that, because of a tussle he had with the Australian Workers Union 15 years ago, the union does not have a single member shearing sheep in south-western Queensland today.

Now he runs a labour hire firm with a thriving sideline in moving small-business employees off awards and collective agreements and onto the Federal Government’s preferred individual contracts, Australian Workplace Agreements.

…Mr Haycroft’s business stands out because he is targeting lower-skilled, lower-paid workers, often with poor English – the people unions say have much to fear from individual contracts.”

Cut back to 2018, and Graeme Haycroft now runs the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland, which promotes itself as an alternative to the Qld Nurses Union.

So, a man with a long history of fighting Unions, who ‘saved’ the mushroom farming business by showing businesses how to move “small-business employees off awards and collective agreements and onto the Federal Government’s preferred individual contracts, Australian Workplace Agreements.”

According to the 2005 article, “Mr Haycroft said workers had been more than happy to sign on, most with their penalty rates, holiday pay and other conditions being rolled into a flat rate.”

“However, [there is always a ‘however’], Mr Haycroft was stripped of his preferred provider status with the Office of the Employment Advocate on Thursday, after a Sydney picker, Carmen Walacz Vel Walewska, said she was sacked after she contacted the Australian Workers Union for advice on AWAs.”

With that track record, it’s hard to imagine why nurses would want to leave their current union in favour of his ‘professional association’.

It seems as though, once again, Indigenous people have become a political football and a convenient scapegoat for issues that have nothing to do with us.

Queensland has a long history of political success found through anti-Aboriginal sentiment, so what better way to undermine a Union and recruit new members to a professional association than to accuse the Union of ‘racism against white people’ and ‘political correctness gone made’ by spreading the blatantly false and misleading accusation that white nurses now have to apologise to Aboriginal people for being white?

And just like Dick Smith’s anti-immigration campaign, Blair Cottrell’s anti-African ‘community safety group’, and Prue McSween’s call for a new Stolen Generation, it seems Channel 7 is always more than happy to ignore the facts and sensationalise issues about race and racism.

There is always one more thing.

We, and others, will soon publish articles explaining what the Code of Conduct actually calls for, and explain why cultural competence and cultural safety are important (editor’s note: we did, here’s one of them), but I can’t help but be reminded of this quote from Toni Morrison:
“The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.”

So, instead of working on the very real business of ensuring best practice within the nursing industry, our Indigenous experts in this area will have to take a few days away from this important work to explain that no one is asking for white nurses to apologise for being white.
Just like we have to explain that not all Aboriginal parents abuse their children, or that we don’t want to steal white people’s backyards, or that we had (and have) science, or that Australia wasn’t Terra Nullius, or, as Malcolm Turnbull suggested last year, that acknowledging Indigenous history and addressing the issue of colonial statues and place names across Australia is not a “Stalinist exercise of trying to wipe out or obliterate or blank out parts of our history”.

So long as Australian media and politics finds value, profit and opportunity in promoting racism, there will always be one more thing.

So, I might as well clear up a few others while I’m here, and empty a few more buckets out of the endless ocean of racist misinformation.

Child abuse isn’t a ‘cultural’ thing.

Police are not scared to arrest Aboriginal people out of fear of being called racist.

We don’t get free houses.

Aboriginal people using white ochre on their faces in dance and ceremony is not the same thing as white people dressing up in blackface.

We don’t get free university.

The Voice to Parliament is not a third chamber of parliament.

We are not the problem.

Anything else?

We aren’t vampires?

We don’t shoot laser beams out of our eyes?

We aren’t secretly developing a perpetual motion machine that runs on white tears?

I’m sure I, and countless others, will undoubtedly need to keep adding to this list because, as Toni Morrison tells us, there will always be one more thing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, Response to Media Watch, 23 March 2018, excerpt:

 Do nurses under the new code have to announce their ‘white privilege’ before treating indigenous patients?
It is not a requirement of the codes of conduct for nurses and midwives to announce or apologise for white privilege. Any claim that nurses and midwives need to announce or apologise for white privilege is completely untrue. The recent criticisms from Mr Haycroft are based on completely untrue statements. The requirements for nurses when working with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples are clearly outlined in section 3.1 of the code.

Are nurses encouraged to announce their ‘white privilege’ before treating indigenous patients?
No.

Is there any requirement to acknowledge or announce ‘white privilege’ before treating a patient?
No.

Can a nurse be sacked for NOT declaring or addressing their ‘white privilege’ to a patient?
No.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUSTRALIAN NURSING AND MIDWIFERY FEDERATION, AUSTRALIAN COLLEGE OF NURSING, AUSTRALIAN COLLEGE OF MIDWIVES AND CONGRESS OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER NURSES AND MIDWIVES JOINT STATEMENT, 23 March 2018:
 In response to Graeme Haycroft’s recent comments, we welcome the opportunity to provide further information on how important cultural safety is for improving health outcomes and experiences for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

 It is clear from the 2018 Closing the Gap Report tabled by Prime Minister Turnbull in February 2018 that Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples still experience poorer health outcomes than non-Indigenous Australians. It is well understood these inequities are a result of the colonisation process and the many discriminatory policies to which Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australians were subjected to, and the ongoing experience of discrimination today.

All healthcare leaders and health professionals have a role to play in closing the gap.
The approach the NMBA has taken for nurses and midwives (the largest workforce in the healthcare system) by setting expectations around culturally safe practice, reflects the current expectations of governments to provide a culturally safe health system. (For more information please see the COAG Health Council 4 August 2017 Communiqué).

Culturally safe and respectful practice is not a new concept. Nurses and midwives are expected to engage with all people as individuals in a culturally safe and respectful way, foster open, honest and compassionate professional relationships, and adhere to their obligations about privacy and confidentiality.

Many health services already provide cultural safety training for their staff. Cultural safety is about the person who is providing care reflecting on their own assumptions and culture in order to work in a genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
Nurses and midwives have always had a responsibility to provide care that contributes to the best possible outcome for the person/woman they are caring for. They need to work in partnership with that person/woman to do so. The principle of cultural safety in the new Code of conduct for nurses and Code of conduct for midwives (the codes) provides simple, common sense guidance on how to work in a partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The codes do not require nurses or midwives to declare or apologise for white privilege.

The guidance around cultural safety in the codes sets out clearly the behaviours that are expected of nurses and midwives, and the standard of conduct that patients and their families can expect. It is vital guidance for improving health outcomes and experiences for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

The codes were developed through an evidence-based and extensive consultation process conducted over a two-year period. Their development included literature reviews to ensure they were based on the best available international and Australian evidence, as well as an analysis of complaints about the conduct of nurses and midwives to ensure they were meeting the public’s needs.

The consultation and input from the public and professions included working groups, focus groups and preliminary and public consultation. The public consultation phase included a campaign to encourage nurses and midwives to provide feedback.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, the Australian College of Nursing, the Australian College of Midwives and the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives all participated in each stage of the development and consultation of the new codes. The organisations strongly support the guidance around cultural safety in the codes for nurses and midwives.

Lynette Cusack Chair Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
Ann Kinnear CEO Australian College of Midwives (ACM)
Kylie Ward CEO Australian College of Nursing (ACN)
Janine Mohamed CEO Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives
Annie Butler A/Federal Secretary Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation


Friday, 2 March 2018

Family, Domestic & Sexual Violence in Australia: "On average, 1 woman a week and 1 man a month is killed by a current or former partner"


“Family violence refers to violence between family members, typically where the perpetrator exercises power and control over another person. The most common and pervasive instances occur in intimate (current or former) partner relationships and are usually referred to as domestic violence. Sexual violence refers to behaviours of a sexual nature carried out against a person’s will. It can be perpetrated by a current or former partner, other people known to the victim, or strangers.” [Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; Family,domestic and sexual violence in Australia, 2018]


 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, media release, 28 February 2018: 

New national statistical report sheds light on family violence

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released its first comprehensive report on family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia.
The report brings together, for the first time, information from more than 20 different major data sources to build a picture of what is known about family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia. It also highlights data gaps and offers suggestions to help fill these gaps.
The report, Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia, 2018, covers family violence (physical violence, sexual violence and emotional abuse between family members, as well as current or former partners), domestic violence (a subcategory of family violence, involving current or former partners), and sexual violence (a range of nonconsensual sexual behaviours, perpetrated by partners, former partners, acquaintances or strangers).
‘Women are more likely to experience violence from a known person and in their home, while men are more likely to experience violence from strangers and in a public place,’ said AIHW spokesperson Louise York.
1 in 6 women (aged 15 or above) —equating to 1.6 million women—have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner, while for men it is 1 in 16—or half a million men. Three in 4 (75%) victims of domestic violence reported the perpetrator as male, while 1 in 4 (25%) reported the perpetrator as female.
Overall, 1 in 5 women (1.7 million) and 1 in 20 men (428,800) have experienced sexual violence. Most (96%) female victims of sexual violence reported the perpetrator as male, while male victims reported a more even spilt (49% female and 44% male perpetrators).
On average, 1 woman a week and 1 man a month is killed by a current or former partner.
While overall the data show that women are at greater risk, certain groups are particularly vulnerable, such as Indigenous women, young women and pregnant women.
Children who are exposed to violence experience long-lasting effects
‘Children can be victims of or witnesses to family violence—and this early exposure can heighten their chances of experiencing further violence later in life,’ Ms York said. 
Children who were physically or sexually abused before they were 15 were around 3 times as likely to experience domestic violence after the age of 15 as those children who had not experienced or witnessed violence earlier in life.
Women who, as children, witnessed domestic violence towards either their mother or father were more than twice as likely to be the victim of domestic violence themselves, compared with women who had not witnessed this violence.
Men who witnessed violence towards their mother by a partner were almost 3 times as likely to be the victim of domestic violence compared with men who had not, while men who witnessed violence towards their father were almost 4 times as likely to experience domestic violence compared with those who had not.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience higher rates of family violence
The report shows that Indigenous women were 32 times and Indigenous men were 23 times as likely to be hospitalised due to family violence as non-Indigenous women and men respectively, while Indigenous children were around 7 times as likely as non-Indigenous children to be the victims of substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect.
Two in 5 Indigenous homicide victims (41%) were killed by a current or former partner, compared with 1 in 5 non-Indigenous homicide victims (22%).
A significant toll on victims and society
The report also shows that family, domestic and sexual violence can have a profound effect on people’s ability to work, health and financial situation.
‘People who experience domestic violence are likely to need time off work as a result, and women affected by domestic violence experience significantly poorer health and mental health than other women,’ Ms York said.
For women aged 25–44, domestic violence causes more illness, disability and deaths than any other risk factor, such as smoking, alcohol use, being overweight, or being physically inactive.
Domestic violence is a leading cause of hospitalised assault, particularly among women. In 2014–15, 2,800 women and 560 men were hospitalised after being assaulted by a spouse or partner.
‘Family and domestic violence is also a leading cause of homelessness. In 2016–17, 72,000 women, 34,000 children and 9,000 men sought homelessness services due to family and domestic violence,’ Ms York said.
The financial impacts are also substantial, with violence against women and their children estimated to cost at least $22 billion in direct (healthcare, counselling, child and welfare support) and indirect (lost wages, productivity and potential earnings) costs in 2015–16.
The importance of evidence, data gaps and looking forward
AIHW CEO Barry Sandison said the report was a significant piece of work for the AIHW—and one with a real human impact. But there’s more to be done.
‘We know that family, domestic and sexual violence is a major problem in Australia, but without a comprehensive source of evidence and analysis, tackling such a complex issue will continue to be difficult,’ he said.
He noted that while the report was certainly a step in the right direction, its development had highlighted several areas where future work is needed. For example, inconsistent definitions of violence in data collections pose a challenge, as does the limited information available on specific at-risk groups (such as people with disability), childhood experiences, the characteristics of perpetrators and the service responses for both victims and perpetrators.
‘It’s important to note that while looking only at the numbers can at times appear to depersonalise the pain and suffering that sits behind the statistics, the seriousness of these issues cannot be overstated,’ Mr Sandison said.
‘This work is an excellent example of organisations working together to build the evidence on an important issue. It was achieved through financial support and collaboration from several Australian Government and state government departments.’
If the information presented raises any issues for you, these services can help:
1800RESPECT (1800 737 732, www.1800respect.org.au)
Lifeline (13 11 14, www.lifeline.org.au)
Kids Helpline (1800 551 800, www.kidshelpline.com.au)
Men's Referral Service (1300 766 491, www.ntv.org.au)
Further information: Elizabeth Ingram, AIHW: Tel. 02 6249 5048, mob. 0431 871 337
                                       Elise Guy, AIHW: Tel. 02 6244 1156, mob. 0468 525 418
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