Health in Focus Newsletter
Health in Focus

September 2018

Welcome to the second edition of the NSW Health e-bulletin, Health in Focus. This new quarterly update features the latest news from the largest public health system in Australia.

If you have any suggestions, comments or ideas for future editions, please email us.

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to colleagues and others who may be interested, and encourage them to subscribe online.

NSW leads the way in access to emergency care

The Bureau of Health Information (BHI) has released its annual performance report benchmarking healthcare performance in NSW against comparable countries and Australian states and territories.

Healthcare in Focus 2017: How does NSW compare? examines healthcare in the context of three important dimensions of performance – accessibility, appropriateness and effectiveness – for more than 60 measures.

The report shows that NSW Health is performing exceptionally well on many indicators and outperforming all other states in areas like access to emergency care.

Healthcare in Focus report cover artwork
Read more about the BHI report

Flu prevention programs continue

NSW Health has distributed more than 2.3 million doses of flu vaccine to GPs and other providers this year, over 50 per cent more than the total distributed in 2017. Around 200,000 of these doses are the special junior vaccine used in children from six months up to three years of age which the State Government is offering for free.

The flu season officially started in August in NSW, two months later than in 2017, but the number of confirmed cases reported across the state is still a mere fraction of the total at this time last year.

The NSW Government is spending a record $22.75 million on state-wide immunisation programs which will assist with flu prevention this season. This includes $3.5 million for free flu shots to children up to five years of age and a $1.75 million immunisation and influenza prevention campaign.

Don't spread flu
Read more about flu prevention

Enhanced palliative care services


The NSW Government has committed an additional $100 million between 2017 and 2021 to enhance palliative care services.

Palliative care is an essential component of health care services, whether it’s helping people with life-limiting conditions to maximise their quality of life or ensuring comfort at the end of life.

In 2018-19, funding has been allocated for:

  • enhanced community-based palliative care in Western Sydney, including a 24 hour, seven days a week on-call specialist palliative care service at home, supporting patients to die in their place of choice
  • 27 new positions for social workers, allied health and Aboriginal Health Workers
  • 30 palliative care nurses
  • nine palliative care specialists in rural and regional areas
  • palliative care training for nurses and allied health staff and scholarships for rural and regional staff to enhance palliative care skills
  • two specialist positions to provide relief to other specialists in rural and regional areas
  • improved medication management for palliative care patients through community pharmacy initiatives.
Read more about palliative care funding

Men’s Health Framework launched

NSW Health has launched the Men’s Health Framework to encourage males to play an active role in their own health.

More than half of men in NSW aged 24 to 34 are either overweight or obese and they are more likely to smoke.

Overweight men are being urged to take small steps to change their lifestyle as part of the new men’s health initiative or risk dying four years earlier than women.

The NSW Government is investing more than $2.1 billion in four priority areas of the framework – mental health and wellbeing, cancer, healthy living and chronic disease and sexually transmitted infections.

NSW Men's Health Framework
Read more about the Men's Health Framework

Health initiative recognised at Mumbrella Awards

NSW Health has been recognised at the Mumbrella Awards for a clever health initiative which asks young people to take an STI test in exchange for access to VIP areas at music festivals across the state.

The Down to Test program has visited five music festivals in NSW since it launched last year, including Australia’s largest festival, Splendour in the Grass, in Byron Bay.

Over 3500 young people have provided a urine sample in exchange for access to chill out areas, free phone charging, clean toilets and make-up bars.

The program is helping to normalise STI testing and improve people’s sexual health. After surveying past participants, researchers found over half reported improved knowledge of STIs and sexual health, while 70 per cent vowed to continue STI testing.

Mumbrella awards
More info about Down to test

Featured stories from our health partners


Making every drop count

John Perry is alive today thanks to blood transfusions. He is now helping tell the story of the network of health professionals who worked hand-in-hand to save his life.

NSW Health Pathology experts are a vital partner in this story. Our transfusion experts are making sure every drop of donated blood is getting to where it’s needed most. Over the past three years they’ve helped make transfusions available to patients not only on the ground, but also in the air.

Partnerships with Royal Flying Doctors Service and rescue helicopter teams, as well as rotating stocks more regularly across the network of smaller rural and regional hospitals, has translated into cost savings each year.

More importantly, this work is saving people’s lives.

Read more about blood transfusions

My Health Record

Your health record in your hands

By the end of 2018, a My Health Record will be created for every Australian, unless they choose not to have one.

More than 6 million Australians already have a My Health Record, which is a secure online summary of a person’s health information – including allergies, medical conditions and treatments, medicine details and scan reports – that can be accessed through one system.

My Health Record allows patients to take more control of their own health and wellbeing, manage their children’s health, and upload key documents such as advance care directives.

People who do not want to have a My Health Record can opt out by going to My Health Record or calling the Help line on 1800 723 471 before 15 November.

Read more about My Health Record

Junior Medical Officer Survey


Results of the Your Training and Wellbeing Matters Junior Medical Officer (JMO) online survey are now available. The survey was undertaken by NSW Health in November 2017 and is one of 10 initiatives outlined in the JMO Wellbeing and Support Plan.

It is the first time that a survey of all employed junior medical officers has been undertaken by any state or territory Health Department in Australia.

NSW Health is undertaking system wide change to improve the health and wellbeing of its junior medical workforce. The Your Training and Wellbeing Matters survey is an important initiative in supporting change and improvement.

The survey will be run again in October 2018.

Junior Medical Officer
Read more about the JMO survey

A healthier start for Aboriginal kids

NSW Health has released Aboriginal Kids – a healthy start to life: Report of the Chief Health Officer 2018.

The report was developed in collaboration with the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council and focuses on key improvements in the health of Aboriginal children in NSW in the first five years of life. The report emphasises the importance of services and programs being carried out in partnership with Aboriginal people, their communities, the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector and across government.

As the report outlines, Aboriginal children face a brighter future with the teenage motherhood rate almost halving in 20 years, smoking in pregnancy down by a third, and child vaccination rates among the best in the country.

Aboriginal Kids – a healthy start to life: Report of the Chief Health Officer 2018 cover artwork
Read more about the report

National Disability Insurance Scheme

NSW Health is continuing to work with the Australian Government on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rollout.

The NDIS is available across NSW for eligible people under 65. More than 89,000 people with disability in NSW now have choice and control over the support they receive, and can use their NDIS funding to determine who provides the goods and services they need.

NSW Health has been working with providers and staff across the state to ensure patients get access to the right support.

People who need to access the Scheme, should visit their local health district website or browse the resources on the NSW Government NDIS site. They can also speak to their GP or health professional.

Older man and young man smiling at each other
More info about the NDIS

NSW Health Awards - sponsorship opportunity

The 20th Annual NSW Health Awards will be held on Monday 5 November 2018. These Awards recognise innovation and excellence in the delivery of health programs and services to the NSW community throughout the public health system.

Companies interested in sponsoring an award, can view the Sponsorship Prospectus or email

NSW Health Award recipients with Elizabeth Koff, Secretary NSW Health and the Hon. Brad Hazzard, Minister for Health
More info about sponsoring the NSW Health Awards

Women of the Year Awards

NSW Women of the Year Awards

Nominations are open for the 2019 NSW Women of the Year Awards.

The Awards profile women who have demonstrated excellence in their career and elsewhere, women who make significant community contributions, young women whose achievements make them leaders in facilitating change and inspiring female role models. They are also an opportunity to celebrate women and to press for progress in gender equality.

Last year Professor Hala Zreiqat won the 2018 NSW Women of the Year Award for her outstanding contribution to regenerative medicine and orthopaedic research.

The seven state-wide Award categories in 2019 are:

  • Premier’s Woman of the Year Award 
  • Community Hero Award 
  • Harvey Norman Young Woman of the Year Award 
  • Rex Airlines Regional Woman of the Year
  • First State Super Lifetime Achievement Award
  • NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year Award 
  • NSW Business Woman of the Year Award

Nominations for the Awards close on Sunday 11 November 2018. Winners will be announced at a gala breakfast on 7 March 2019, to coincide with International Women’s Day the following day.

Nominate now

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