#352 Communications and Advocacy update
23 September 2021
Here’s an update on a few of the issues AMA Victoria is working on for members, including:
- Local adult and older adult mental health & wellbeing services
- 'Every Kit Counts' bowel cancer screening campaign
- International day of sign languages and international week of deaf people.
Local adult and older adult mental health & wellbeing services: AMA Victoria feedback
The Victorian Department of Health has concluded the initial phase of its consultation on the establishment of up to 60 Local Adult and Older Adult Mental Health and Wellbeing Services. The establishment of such services was one of the reforms recommended by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System: Local Adult and Older Adult Mental Health and Wellbeing Services | Engage Victoria.
In the Department’s telling, these services are intended to provide easier access to treatment and support for people aged 26 years and over experiencing mental illness or psychological distress, and those who may also have issues with alcohol and other drug use. The Department says these new services will act as a “front door” to the reformed mental health system; allowing Victorians to access the care they need sooner and in their own community.
In response to the Department’s invitation to provide feedback, we expressed our view that these services should not duplicate what is done already in the primary care and private sectors. Instead, they should target those who ‘fall between the cracks’ (for example, particularly disabled or unwell people, or those who have difficulties attending a GP) rather than people who could be effectively managed in other parts of the health system.
Moreover, we informed the Department that the services need to be able to recognise who is best managed in other services and have the linkages and support to provide that transition, and that the clinical culture, skills and experience to manage the most complex or disabled ‘missing middle’ patients will be necessary. Importantly, these should not be solely early intervention centres, taking on new people at the onset of illness.
We also noted that many mental illnesses are relapsing and remitting, and the most vulnerable are forgotten and poorly supported. Accordingly, there should be capacity to support and manage patients treated in acute area mental health services intensively, who have been stabilised and are to be stepped down in care once improved.
‘Every Kit Counts’ bowel cancer screening campaign
The ‘Every Kit Counts’ campaign encourages GPs to help their patients participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP). Currently, only 43.5 percent of eligible Australians participate in the NBCSP. Modelling research shows that by increasing NBCSP participation to 60 percent, 84,000 lives can be saved by 2040.
How can GPs improve bowel cancer screening participation?
- Demonstrate the use of the NBSCP kit to eligible patients.
- Promote the NBCSP in your practice via posters and brochures (in languages relevant to patients).
- Undertake patient audits.
- Send reminders (consider sending letters, SMS or even telephoning patients who are eligible for the NBCSP).
- Send endorsement SMS or letters to patients shortly before their 50th birthday.
- Follow recommended screening strategies based on the clinical practice guidelines for the prevention, early detection and management of colorectal cancer.
- Consider appropriate use of colonoscopy (evaluate relative harms vs benefits in asymptomatic people at average risk of bowel cancer).
- Have opportunistic conversations about bowel screening at other key health checks.
Click here for more information.
International Day of Sign Languages 2021 and International Week of Deaf People 2021
23 September is the International Day of Sign Languages, a day that recognises thriving deaf communities and the rich variety of sign languages around the world, and forms part of the wider celebrations for International Week of Deaf People.
The International Week of Deaf People is celebrated during the last full week of September. This year’s theme is ‘Celebrating Thriving Deaf Communities’. Deaf communities have been expanding and thriving throughout the years and the International Week of Deaf People acknowledges their incredible endurance at the local, national and international level.
Click here for more information.