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Australian Commonwealth and Queensland Governments sign public health funding agreement

August 08, 2017

Commonwealth Health Minister, Tony Abbott, and Queensland Health Minister, Gordon Nuttall, today signed an agreement to provide a Commonwealth contribution of $154.5 million over five years for important public health activities in Queensland.

The Agreement provides funding for a range of public health issues, including: HIV/AIDS and related sexually transmissible and blood borne diseases; women's health, including breast cancer and cervical screening; the misuse of licit and illicit drugs with a focus on tobacco and alcohol misuse; and reproductive and sexual health. The Queensland Government will have greater flexibility to address local needs and priorities within these broad categories, while still ensuring support for relevant services.

"The two previous Public Health Outcome Funding Agreements, operating since 1997, have demonstrated the commitment of the Australian and Queensland governments to jointly fund and improve public health in Queensland," the Ministers said.

"The renewal of the agreement for a further five years demonstrates our continuing commitment to maintain the gains we have made in public health and to work together into the future to address new public health problems as they arise".

Mr Abbott said that agreement has followed detailed negotiations between the two Governments.

???Continuing action to prevent ill-health and improving overall health for Queenslanders, and indeed for all Australians is a priority that overrides the inevitable political differences of Commonwealth-State relations.??? Minister Abbott said.

Minister Nuttall added: ???I am pleased that the Commonwealth has recognised the health implications of the increase in Queensland's share of the Australian population, and I am looking forward to continuing the constructive partnership with the Commonwealth on public health".

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???Women treated for node-negative breast cancer according to consensus recommendations for systemic therapy experience a significant improvement in survival at 7 years,??? said Nicole H?bert-Croteau, MD, PhD, Physician-Epidemiologist at the Quebec National Institute of Public Health and lead author of the study. ???Our associations support the current movement for developing, updating, and disseminating such recommendations.???

Underuse of systemic therapy exists to some degree ??at any cancer center ?? due to the complex nature of cancer care.For example, when a patient??s baseline prognosis is good, a physician may elect not to prescribe systemic therapy in efforts to avoid toxic side effects.Dr. H?bert-Croteau noted that patients may also have other medical problems that might influence the treatment recommendation.

An accompanying editorial by Rebecca A. Silliman, MD, PhD, of Boston University Medical Center notes that translating clinical guidelines into practice is often a slow and complex process.She suggests that interventions that use small-group, case-based approaches that incorporate role-playing and discussion are needed to change provider behaviors.

???Although evidence-based guidelines are a necessary beginning, they are not sufficient in and of themselves to change practice,??? Dr. Silliman said.???What is required is a much more comprehensive approach that incorporates not only knowledge, but also builds skills and affects attitudes.???

Dr. Silliman noted that the results of this study should be interpreted with caution, since they pertain to medical care that was delivered more than a decade ago.

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