The North Coast Primary Health Network has been chosen as one of Australia’s 10 lead sites for the roll-out of the national mental health reforms.

In this role the NCPHN will be a pioneer in primary mental health care reform, with work to include testing models of co-ordinated care for adults with severe mental illness and complex care needs, including approaches to assessment, referral pathways and packages of care.

These models are likely to be tested in small cohorts in some regions. Implementing a systems approach to suicide prevention will also form part of its Lead Site work.

Dr Megan Passey

A ‘gross disparity’ in the funding of research focused on rural and remote health issues continues, despite the fact that this 30 per cent component of the population has a higher rate of complex chronic disease and dies earlier than urban dwellers. Other challenges include a shortage of medical specialists, and the difficulty of accessing efficient and appropriate health services because of dispersed populations.

In the Australian Rural Health Research Collaboration’s newly released annual report, the Director, Associate Professor Megan Passey said that despite these challenges the ARHRC continues to work in partnership with rural health service providers to undertake rigorous research to generate locally relevant evidence on priority issues.

Book Reviews

We’re All Going to Die - Dr Leah Kaminsky (HarperCollins 293 pp)

A Long Time Coming  - Melanie Joosten (Scribe 232 pp)

Reviewed by Robin Osborne

Mirroring the demographics of our society, books about ageing, end-of-life-care and death have become increasingly frequent and these works from two well-regarded Australian authors are valuable additions to the burgeoning field.*

Both are well written, brimming with empathy for their subjects, and sharply analytical about the barriers and prejudices faced by Australians as we age.

While commenting on covers may be superficial, I would note the coincidence of both depicting butterflies - do they signify old age, and if so, how? - although in the case of the Kaminsky book an heirloom butterfly brooch makes an appearance.

Dr Kaminsky, a GP, observes that, “During thirty years of practice you get to see a wide range of ailments, a veritable litany of woes. Always at the back of my mind has been a rumbling sense of dread, loosely disguised by a morbid curiosity to know where and when I am going to die.

A rare chance to see the inside of Lismore Base Hospital’s new emergency department and renal unit without entering for medical treatment will take place this Saturday 30 July, 2016, from 11.00 am-2.00 pm.

The community open day will give visitors a close-up view of the new 51-bay ED and 18-bay renal unit, which comprise part of the Stage 3A phase of LBH’s $260 million redevelopment,

Jointly funded by the NSW and Commonwealth Governments, these are the first sections of works to be completed, and are scheduled to open in late August.

Stage 3B of the redevelopment will include new medical and surgical wards, a new Women’s Care Unit, new operating theatres and central sterilising unit, and a new paediatric ward.

No bookings are required for the open day, and free parking will be available in the new Uralba Street multi-storey carpark. No food or drink will be permitted to be taken on the tour.

Contrary to the perceived wisdom that regional/rural dwellers are generally less healthy than their urban counterparts, the latest survey of Australian households says children in non-urban areas are reportedly healthier than their city cousins, with the latter group undertaking a greater number of GP visits.

Another reported paradox is that activity levels are positively associated with relatively high alcohol consumption (15-42 drinks per week) for males, and moderate alcohol consumption (11-14 drinks per week) for females. Further, being a smoker is not associated with any effects on activity levels for females, while for males it is - “surprisingly”, as the survey observed - associated with a higher activity level than that of non-smokers.