Online version of the 2014-15 Department of Health Annual Report

Outcome 1: Population Health

A reduction in the incidence of preventable mortality and morbidity, including through national public health initiatives, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and approaches covering disease prevention, health screening and immunisation

Page last updated: 16 October 2015

Major Achievements

  • Commenced the phased implementation of biennial bowel cancer screening inviting people turning 70 and 74 from January 2015 in addition to those turning 50, 55, 60 and 65 years of age, to undertake free screening through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
  • Educated young people and parents through the next phase of the National Drugs Campaign, Ice destroys lives, about the risks and harms of drug use. The campaign was effective in increasing negative attitudes towards ice particularly with people in regional areas.
  • Expanded the National Immunisation Program (NIP) to include the free annual influenza vaccine for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged six months to less than five years, assisting to close the gap in health outcomes.
  • Adapted the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This new resource complements existing Eat for Health educational resources supporting the Australian Dietary Guidelines, which can assist to reduce the risk of diet related conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
  • Commenced funding for the National Palliative Care Projects from 2014-15 to 2016-17.

Challenges

  • Consistent with the National Immunisation Strategy for Australia 2013-2018, the Department will continue to work with States and Territories to increase immunisation coverage rates through the National Partnership Agreement on Essential Vaccines performance benchmarks.
  • The inclusion of targets for the first time in the National BBV and STI Strategies 2014-2017 provides a renewed focus for action and a framework for accountability to address rates of Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C in the broader community, as well as Blood Borne Virus (BBV) and STI in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Meeting the targets will be a considerable challenge for the Department and all partners to the strategies: requiring the concerted effort of all governments, affected communities, health care providers, the community sector and researchers.

Looking Ahead

In 2015-16, the Department will continue working to reduce preventable disease by providing a range of cancer screening services and fast-tracking the full implementation of biennial bowel screening for all Australians aged 50 to 74 years. The Department will continue to improve immunisation coverage rates including through broader and better immunisation data capture, an incentive to immunisation providers to complete ‘catch-up’ vaccinations, and activities to improve the community’s understanding and awareness of the NIP. The Department will also work with States and Territories to expand the NIP to include two new programmes – an 18 month booster dose of pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine; and a National Shingles Vaccination Programme for 70 year olds (with a catch-up program for 71-79 year olds).

Work is currently underway to develop a National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions (NSFCC), which will supersede the National Chronic Disease Strategy 2005. The approach for the NSFCC reflects a shift towards a high-level strategic policy that considers a broad range of chronic conditions and recognises links with an array of relevant national and state-based strategies. The NSFCC will better cater for shared health determinants, risk factors and multimorbidites across a broad range of chronic conditions, recognising that there are often similar underlying principles for the prevention, management and treatment of many chronic conditions. This work will provide the opportunity to consider how best to facilitate coordinated, integrated and multidisciplinary care and recognise patient needs across the continuum of care.

The Department will be involved in the legislative changes associated with the proposed reforms to the framework for country of origin labelling for food. The new framework proposes the regulation of country of origin labelling for food through a mandatory information standard under the Australian Consumer Law, rather than through the existing standard in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Programmes Contributing to Outcome 1

Divisions Contributing to Outcome 1

In 2014-15, Outcome 1 was the responsibility of Office of Health Protection, Population Health Division, and Primary and Mental Health Care Division.

Programme Performance

In 2014-15, the Department worked to achieve this Outcome by managing initiatives under the following programmes.

Programme 1.1: Public Health, Chronic Disease and Palliative Care

Programme 1.1 aims to reduce the incidence of chronic disease by: encouraging Australians to lead healthy lifestyles; improving detection, treatment and survival outcomes for people with cancer; reducing the incidence of blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections; supporting the development and implementation of evidence-based food regulatory policy; and improving access to high quality palliative care services.

Reduce the incidence of chronic disease and promote healthier lifestyles

Chronic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus, asthma and heart disease, are the leading causes of death and disability in Australia.9 The Department is working to reduce the incidence and improve the management of chronic disease, in line with evidence-based best practice.

Poor diet is the leading cause of disease burden in Australia and internationally. A dietary pattern consistent with the Australian Dietary Guidelines can assist to promote health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of diet-related conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. The Australian Government provides a suite of educational resources on healthy eating as part of the Eat for Health programme. In 2014-15, a new resource was developed to promote healthy eating amongst the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. The new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Guide to Healthy Eating will be a key education tool for nutrition educators and health workers to use in a range of Indigenous community settings.

In 2014-15, the Diabetes Care Project pilot was completed, with the public release of the Evaluation Report. The pilot tested new models of health care delivery to improve care for adults with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes and involved over 7,500 patients from around 150 general practices in Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

Findings from the Evaluation Report are already being used by the Department to develop policies that will better support chronic disease management in the future. The findings will support primary care researchers and the new Primary Health Networks to develop their own innovative health care approaches.

The findings from the evaluation will also feed into the work of the new Primary Health Care Advisory Group. This group will consider innovative care and funding models, along with better care for people with complex and chronic illness, better recognition and treatment of mental health conditions, and greater connection between primary health care and hospital care.

Qualitative Deliverable: New National Diabetes Strategy in place to support better prevention and management of diabetes.
2014-15 Reference Point: National Diabetes Strategy finalised.
Result: Substantially met
The timeframe for public consultation on the National Diabetes Strategy commenced later than initially anticipated, and was subsequently extended to allow the public to review new reports, including the evaluation of the Diabetes Care Project, and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report Incidence of type 1 diabetes in Australia 2000-2013 which were released during the consultation period.

There was overwhelming engagement from stakeholders and members of the public with over 400 submissions received. Additional time has been allocated to review the submissions and to inform the Strategy. The Strategy is expected to be finalised by the end of 2015.
Qualitative Deliverable: Review the evaluation findings from the Diabetes Care Project pilot to test a more comprehensive, patient-centred approach to improve the care of patients with diabetes.
2014-15 Reference Point: Evaluation findings from the Diabetes Care Project are provided to the Australian Government.
Result: Met
The Evaluation Report of the Diabetes Care Project was publicly released by the Australian Government on 22 May 2015 and is available on the Department’s website.10

Develop evidence-based food regulatory policy

The Department has continued to work with the States, Territories and New Zealand implementing the outcomes of the independent report Labelling Logic: Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy. The ongoing work will endeavour to balance improving the information on food labels to meet consumers’ needs, while maintaining marketing flexibility and minimising the regulatory burden on industry and barriers to trade.

Qualitative Deliverable: Develop advice and policy for the Australian Government on food regulatory issues.
2014-15 Reference Point: Relevant, evidence-based advice produced in a timely manner.
Result: Met
The Department provided advice and policy to the Australian Government in relation to food regulation issues such as low Tetrahydrocannabinol hemp in food, labelling of food including health claims, front-of-pack labelling and country of origin labelling.
Qualitative KPI: Promote a nationally consistent, evidence-based approach to food policy and regulation.
2014-15 Reference Point: Consistent regulatory approach across Australia through nationally agreed evidence-based policies and standards.
Result: Met
In 2014-15, the Department continued to work with the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) and the Implementation Subcommittee for Food Regulation (ISFR) to develop and implement consistent food policies and regulations. Both FRSC and ISFR met twice during the year and considered a range of policy and regulatory issues, with the Department providing advice.

Improve detection, treatment and survival outcomes for people with cancer

Bowel Cancer Screening

Bowel cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in Australia. Screening using faecal occult blood tests can detect asymptomatic early bowel cancers and pre-cancers when treatment is more effective and lives can be saved.

In 2014-15, the Department successfully negotiated variations to contracts and agreements for the delivery of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program to enable people aged 70 and 74 years to be invited to undertake bowel screening from 1 January 2015. The Department also launched the campaign A Gift for Living campaign to inform 50-74 year olds of the Program expansion and increase participation.

Media activities included print (national, regional, community press, consumer magazines), radio (metro and regional), and out of home and online channels. Media activities were also adapted for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse audiences by specialist agencies.

Qualitative Deliverable: Implement the expansion of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program to a biennial screening interval.
2014-15 Reference Point: Negotiation and execution of appropriate funding contracts and funding agreements to be completed by June 2015 to enable commencement of invitations to 70 and 74 year olds in 2015.
Result: Met
The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program has previously provided screening to people turning 50, 55, 60 and 65 years. The expansion of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program to biennial screening for Australians aged 50-74 years has commenced with 70 and 74 year olds being invited to undertake screening from 1 January 2015.
Qualitative KPI: Percentage of people invited to take part in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program who participated.
2014-15 Target: 41.0%
2014-15 Actual: Data not available
Result: Data not available
As there can be up to a 12 month time lag between an invitation being sent and a person participating, complete participation rates for 2014-15 are not yet available.

In 2013-14, a participation rate of 36.0% was recorded; an increase from the previous reporting period primarily due to a higher rate (73.5%) of participation in the second screening round.
11-1212-1313-14
35%33.4%36%
Breast Cancer Screening

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting Australian women (after non-melanoma skin cancer). Age, not family history, is the biggest risk factor in developing breast cancer. Expanding the BreastScreen Australia Program target age range by five years from women aged 50-69 years to women aged 50-74 years will ensure more Australian women are screened. This will increase the chances of detecting breast cancer early, and through this, save more lives.

In 2014-15, the Department continued to work with the States and Territories to provide free screening in the expanded age range of women 50-74 years of age.

Qualitative Deliverable: Support the expansion of BreastScreen Australia to invite Australian women 70-74 years of age through the implementation of a nationally consistent communication strategy.
2014-15 Reference Point: Delivery of communication activities such as print, radio and online promotion.
Result: Met
In April 2015, the Australian Government launched the campaign An invitation that could save your life to support the expansion of the BreastScreen Australia Program target age to include women aged 70-74.

Media activities included print (national, regional, community press, consumer magazines), radio (metro and regional), and out of home (static panel of mainstream advertisement in female bathrooms across State and Territory Returned Services League facilities) and online channels. Media activities were also adapted for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse audiences by specialist agencies.
Quantitative KPI: Percentage of women 50-69 years of age participating in BreastScreen Australia.
2014-15 Target: 55.2%
2014-15 Actual: Data not available
Result: Data not available
As there is a time lag between an invitation being sent, test results and collection data from registries, participation rates for 2014 and 2015 are not yet available.

From 2013 to 2014, 53.7% of women in the target age group participated in the programme. This compares to 54.6% in 2011-12 and 2010-11.
10-1111-1213-14
54.6%54.6%53.7%
Quantitative KPI: Percentage of women 70-74 years of age participating in BreastScreen Australia.
2014-15 Target: 51.0%
2014-15 Actual: Data not available
Result: Data not available
As there is a time lag between an invitation being sent, test results and collection data from registries, participation rates for 2014 and 2015 are not yet available. Participation rates will not be available until 2016.
Breast Cancer Nurses

The Department funds the McGrath Foundation to provide specially trained breast care nurses to assist and care for women diagnosed with breast cancer, their families and carers. This programme aims to improve the quality of care received by Australians experiencing breast cancer, in particular for Australians residing in rural and regional areas. Around 86 per cent of the nurses funded by the Department are situated in rural and remote communities.

Quantitative Deliverable: Number of breast care nurses employed through the McGrath Foundation.
2014-15 Target: 57
2014-15 Actual: 57
Result: Met
In 2014-15, the Department funded the employment of 57 breast care nurses through the McGrath Foundation. These nurses provide information, care, practical and emotional support, and are predominantly located in rural and regional areas.
11-1212-1313-14
304453
Cervical Screening

In 2014-15, the Department continued work in the areas of early detection and prevention of cervical cancer through the National Cervical Screening Program. Since the introduction of this programme in 1991, there has been a 50 per cent reduction in deaths from cervical cancer.11

A review of cervical screening policy was completed in April 2014 and resulted in recommendations to replace the Pap smear with a new cervical screening test. The Australian Government has accepted these recommendations and the new programme will commence on 1 May 2017 when the new cervical screening test will become available on the Medicare Benefits Schedule. The new cervical screening test detects human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and has been found to be more effective, and just as safe, as the Pap smear. The new test is expected to further reduce cervical cancer incidence and deaths by at least 15 per cent.

Quantitative KPI: Percentage of women in the target age group participating in the National Cervical Screening Programme.
2014-15 Target: 57.0%
2014-15 Actual: Data not available
Result: Data not available
As there is a time lag between invitations being sent, test results and collection of data from registries, participation rates for 2014 and 2015 are not yet available. In 2013-14, 57% of women aged 20-69 participated in the National Cervical Screening Programme. The target for the 2013-14 reporting period was 58.6%.
10-1111-1213-14
57.3%57.7%57%

Reduce the incidence of blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections

In 2014-15, the Department supported education and prevention activities to reduce the incidence of Blood Borne Virus (BBV) and Sexually Transmissible Infection (STI). These activities aim to improve knowledge, attitudes and behaviours among target groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, culturally and linguistically diverse Australians, youth, people in rural and regional areas, and people who inject drugs.

The Department continued implementing the National Blood Borne Virus and Sexually Transmissible Infection Strategies 2014-2017. These strategies guide policies and programmes related to the prevention, testing, management and treatment of BBV and STI.

The Department has continued to work closely with State and Territory health departments and the sector to maximise efforts towards achieving the targets in the National Strategies. The Department developed the Implementation and Evaluation Plan for the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council and the National Surveillance and Monitoring Plan for BBV and STI, which will assist in monitoring and measuring progress towards the targets.

Qualitative Deliverable: Implement priority actions contained in the National BBVs and STIs Strategies 2014-17.
2014-15 Reference Point: Commence implementation of programmes which support delivery of priority action areas to reduce BBVs and STIs.
Result: Met
Priority actions contained in the National BBV and STI Strategies 2014-2017 and the Implementation and Evaluation Plan continued to be implemented in 2014-15 by non-government organisations representing communities affected by HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and sexually transmissible infections. Funds have supported education and awareness programmes to increase testing and treatment, and provide information on prevention measures.
Qualitative KPI: Provide funding to non-government organisations to support programmes which are effective in reducing the spread of communicable disease and achieving the national strategy targets.
2014-15 Reference Point: Organisations funded in accordance with the priorities outlined in the National BBVs and STIs Strategies 2014-17.
Progress reports from contracted organisations indicate that activities are being implemented in accordance with contractual arrangements and are achieving expected outcomes.
Result: Met
Funding contracts with non-government organisations have been aligned to the 2014-2017 National Strategies and the corresponding Implementation and Evaluation Plan. Regular reports on key milestones from funded organisations indicate activities are being implemented effectively in accordance with contractual arrangements.

Progress reports for 2014-15 have been evaluated and expected outcomes have been achieved to date.

Improve palliative care in Australia

To enhance the quality of palliative care service provision and support for people who are dying, their families and carers, the Department funds a range of national palliative care projects primarily focusing on education, training, quality improvement and advance care planning.

In 2014, the Department undertook a competitive grants round for national palliative care projects over a three year period from 2014-15 to 2016-17. In May 2015, the Assistant Minister for Health, the Hon Fiona Nash MP, announced the successful organisations to undertake several projects to address health professional skill development, service quality improvement, research and benchmarking, advance care planning, and knowledge building and awareness.

In 2014-15, the Department commenced a review of the Guidelines for a Palliative Approach in Residential Aged Care and the Guidelines for a Palliative Approach in Aged Care in the Community Setting. This review is expected to be completed in 2016.

Programme 1.2: Drug Strategy

Programme 1.2 aims to reduce the harm to individuals and communities from tobacco use and from the misuse of alcohol, pharmaceuticals and use of illicit drugs.

Reduce harm to individuals and communities from misuse of alcohol, pharmaceuticals and use of illicit drugs

The Department has continued to support service delivery and education initiatives aimed at minimising the harmful effects of alcohol consumption, misuse of pharmaceuticals and use of illicit drugs.

In 2014-15, the Department continued to promote responsible alcohol consumption through increased education using the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol. The Department also continued to support the Good Sports Programme, which aims to change behaviour and attitudes around alcohol consumption through partnerships with more than 6,500 sporting clubs. In addition, the Department continued to undertake activities outlined in the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Action Plan to reduce the prevalence and impact of FASD.

In 2014-15, the National Drugs Campaign focused on the drug ‘ice’, targeting young people aged 18-25 years, who are at greater risk of ‘ice’ use, young people aged 14-17 years who are beginning to be exposed to illicit drugs and parents of 14-25 year olds. The campaign included digital/online, television and cinema advertising. The campaign supported public consultations for the National Ice Taskforce by encouraging people to provide feedback.

The Review of the Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services Sector was completed in 2014-15. The Department is progressing the outcomes from this review in consultation with the States and Territories to inform the approach to future funding, improve planning, address reporting and accountability, and improve the quality of services delivered.

Qualitative Deliverable: Provide up-to-date information to young people on the risks and harms of illicit drug use.
2014-15 Reference Point: Dissemination of materials and delivery of the National Drugs Campaign including provision of resources for parents, teachers and students.
Result: Met
The National Drugs Campaign Ice destroys lives was implemented in May 2015 running through to the end of June. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the harms associated with ‘ice’ use in an effort to reduce the uptake of ‘ice’ by young Australians. The campaign delivery had a significant online element to provide easy access to information to the target audiences.
Qualitative KPI: Availability of prevention and early intervention substance misuse resources for teachers, parents and students.
2014-15 Reference Point: Enhanced access to materials on the National Drugs Campaign website.
Result: Met
An illicit drugs resource package was developed for use by teachers (primary users), parents and students (secondary users). This includes the development of information booklets for teachers, parents and students as well as an interactive game for young people. Hardcopies of resources were sent to over 3,000 secondary schools in Australia. As part of the package, the Positive Choices website12 was developed to provide curriculum specific materials aimed at preventing drug and alcohol harms, which can be used by schools in an Australian context. The website includes a menu of age appropriate options for school teachers, students and their parents and provides information, tools, and access to evidence-based programmes on illicit drugs and related harms.
Quantitative KPI: Percentage of population 14 years of age and older recently (in the last 12 months) using an illicit drug.
2014-15 Target: <13.4%
2014-15 Actual: Data not available
Result: Data not available
The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) is undertaken every three years and is the primary data source used to report on this KPI.
200720102013
13.4%14.7%15.0%

Reduce the harmful effects of tobacco use

Smoking remains one of the leading causes of preventable death and disease in Australia. In 2014-15, the Australian Government continued significant efforts to reduce tobacco use in Australia, including through a broad range of national tobacco control measures, including the National Tobacco Campaign (the Campaign).

In 2014-15, compliance and enforcement activities under the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 continued. The Department is required to report on contraventions of the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 and the 2014-15 report is included under Part 3.2: External Liaison and Scrutiny of this annual report.

Throughout 2014-15, the Government continued to fund the defence of legal challenges to the tobacco plain packaging legislation in international forums. The Department also undertook a post-implementation review of the tobacco plain packaging measure.

Qualitative Deliverable: Implement social marketing campaigns to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking and encourage and support attempts to quit.
2014-15 Reference Point: Deliver the National Tobacco Campaign within agreed timeframes.
Result: Met
Management of the Campaign was returned to the Department as part of the transfer of functions from the Australian National Preventive Health Agency. The latest phase of the campaign used social marketing to encourage all adult smokers to quit. Particular focus was on those aged between 18 and 50 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people from regional and rural communities, and pregnant women and their partners.
Quantitative KPI: Percentage of population 18 years of age and over who are daily smokers.
2014-15 Target: 13.9%
2014-15 Actual: 13.3%
Result: Met
The latest data, released on 27 November 2014, reported daily smoking has significantly fallen to 13.3% in 2013 from 15.9% in 2010.13 This decrease in smoking prevalence supports the Governments implementation of a multi-pronged approach to national tobacco control.
2004200720102013
18.2%17.5%15.9%13.3%

Programme 1.3: Immunisation

Programme 1.3 aims to increase national immunisation coverage rates and improve the efficiency of the National Immunisation Programme (NIP).

Strengthen immunisation coverage

In 2014-15, the Department continued to provide free vaccines to eligible Australians through the NIP.

High immunisation rates were maintained in 2014-15 with nearly 91 per cent of children fully immunised. This included an increase for one year old children (91.3 per cent), a decrease for two year old children (89.2 per cent) and an increase for five year old children (92.3 per cent) compared to the previous year. From December 2014, the additional vaccines meningococcal C and varicella were included in the assessment of fully immunised children of two years of age. As more vaccines are added to the criteria of ‘fully immunised’, the coverage rates are likely to appear lower. However, this is expected to resolve over time.

In April 2015, the Government announced the addition of an 18 month booster dose of pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine under the NIP. The Department continues to work with States and Territories to implement this new immunisation programme, which is planned to commence in late 2015.

In late 2014-15, the Department commenced work on an incentive programme for immunisation providers to identify children who are overdue for vaccination and arrange for them to receive catch up vaccinations. This incentive programme, which will be available to providers in January 2016, forms part of the Improving Immunisation Coverage Rates measures announced in the 2015-16 Budget.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

In 2014, the HPV vaccine coverage rate for Australian girls aged 15 years in 2014 who have received all three doses is 73.1 per cent up from 70.9 per cent last year. This coverage rate is among the best in the world. The National HPV Vaccination Program was extended to males from 2013. In 2014, the HPV vaccine coverage rate for Australian males aged 15 years was extremely positive at 60 per cent.

Influenza

The National Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Program was expanded in 2014-15 to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged six months to less than five years, and included targeted communications materials and enhanced vaccine safety surveillance. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are five times more likely to die from influenza, and are much more likely to be hospitalised than others who have access to free vaccine. Providing free influenza vaccines to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is a positive step towards closing the gap in health outcomes.

In 2015, the Department noted high demand for free influenza vaccination under the NIP, similar to that experienced in 2014. More than 4.5 million doses of influenza vaccine were ordered by States and Territories. There was also high demand for influenza vaccine for the private market. The Department has worked closely with vaccine providers to ensure enough influenza vaccine is available for those most at risk of severe influenza.

National Immunisation Strategy 2013-18 (the Strategy)

The Strategy sets out action areas to maintain the successful delivery of the NIP, including further improvement of national immunisation coverage rates and vaccine delivery. The Strategy also addresses vaccine safety, security of vaccine supply for Australia into the future, and use of data from various sources to better monitor and evaluate the NIP. Progress against the priority areas is set out below.

Qualitative Deliverable: The priority actions contained in the National Immunisation Strategy are being undertaken.
2014-15 Reference Point: Implement priority actions in accordance with timeframe set out in the National Immunisation Strategy.
Result: Met
In 2014-15, the Department progressed actions under each of the eight strategic priorities. A major achievement (under priority one, to improve immunisation coverage for high risk population groups) was the extension of the NIP to include Influenza vaccination for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children aged six months to less than five years. The Department also continued to enhance vaccine safety monitoring systems under priority four, developing two new vaccine safety plans, for influenza and pertussis containing vaccines. The Department also initiated active vaccine safety surveillance by funding the AusVaxSafety project, a collaborative surveillance project led by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.

Other key actions that have progressed during this period include an evaluation of the Australian Immunisation Handbook; review of the National Guidelines for Immunisation Education for Registered Nurses & Midwives; and a review of the National HPV Vaccination Program Register.
Qualitative Deliverable: Provide up-to-date information to health professionals, providers and consumers about the National Immunisation Programme (NIP).
2014-15 Reference Point: Development of materials on the NIP and provide information through the Immunise Australia website and the Immunise Australia Information Line to encourage up-take of vaccines.
Result: Met
In 2014-15, the Department continued to develop and disseminate information for health professionals, providers and consumers regarding childhood vaccination under the NIP schedule.

The Immunise Australia website14 is an important information resource for a range of audiences including health professionals, individuals and families for accurate, up-to-date, and evidence-based information on the NIP. In 2014-15, the Department updated the Immunise Australia website with improved functionality and useability, to provide more accessible and user friendly immunisation information to a wide audience.

The Department also managed a website to inform the public of the National HPV Vaccination Program which included resources such as fact sheets for parents, adolescents and health professionals; and information kits for schools, including brochures and posters.
Qualitative KPI: States and Territories meet requirements of the National Partnership Agreement on Essential Vaccines.
2014-15 Reference Point: The performance benchmarks are used to assess State and Territory performance and consist of:
  • maintaining or increasing vaccine coverage for Indigenous Australians
  • maintaining or increasing coverage in agreed areas of low immunisation coverage
  • maintaining or decreasing wastage and leakage
  • maintaining or increasing vaccination coverage for four year olds.
Result: Met
All States and Territories met benchmarks required by the National Partnership Agreement on Essential Vaccines and were eligible to receive reward payments.
Quantitative KPI: Increase the immunisation coverage rates among children 12-15 months of age.
2014-15 Target: 92.0%
2014-15 Actual: 91.3%
Result: Substantially met
Immunisation rates in 2014-15 continued to be high with the national immunisation rate for children aged 12-15 months at 91.3%. This has increased slightly compared to 90.4% in 2013-14, 91.3% in 2012-13, and 91.8% in 2011-12.
11-1212-1313-14
91.8%91.3%90.4%
Quantitative KPI: Increase the immunisation coverage rates among children 24-27 months of age.
2014-15 Target: 92.9%
2014-15 Actual: 89.2%
Result: Not met
Immunisation rates in 2014-15 decreased, with the national immunisation rate for children aged 24-27 months at 89.2%. This compares to 92.4% in 2013-14 and 2012-13, and 92.6% in 2011-12. The coverage rate decreased because in December 2014 the criteria to be assessed as fully immunised was changed to include the additional vaccines meningococcal C and varicella. The more vaccines included in the assessment, the higher the likelihood of reduced coverage rates, although this usually resolves over time as the changes become more routine.

11-1212-1313-14
92.6%93.4%92.4%
Quantitative KPI: Increase the immunisation coverage rates among children 60-63 months of age.
2014-15 Target: 91.5%
2014-15 Actual: 92.3%
Result: Met
Immunisation rates in 2014-15 continued to be high with the national immunisation rate for children aged 60-63 months at 92.3%. This has increased from 92% in 2013-14, 91.5% in 2012-13 and 90% in 2011-12.
11-1212-1313-14
90%91.5%92%

Improve the efficiency of the National Immunisation Programme

During 2014-15, the Department implemented a more streamlined process for progressing future vaccine procurements to reduce the administrative burden on industry, States and Territories and the Department.

Quantitative Deliverable: Number of completed tenders under the National Partnership Agreement on Essential Vaccines (Essential Vaccines Procurement Strategy).
2014-15 Target: 2
2014-15 Actual: 1
Result: Not met
The Department continues to transition to centralised purchasing arrangements. Two tenders for the supply of pneumococcal vaccine, one for the infant cohort and one for the older cohort were released in the fourth quarter of 2013-14. The tender for the infant cohort has been completed. Complex negotiations have delayed contract finalisation on the tender for the older cohort, but it was completed in early August 2015.

Outcome 1 – Financial Resource Summary

Budget
Estimate
2014-15
$’000
(A)
Actual
2014-15
$’000
(B)
Variation
$’000
(B) - (A)
Programme 1.1: Public Health, Chronic Disease & Palliative Care1
Administered expenses
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Act No. 1) 166,738 156,702 (10,036)
Special appropriations
Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 s77 - repayments 500 501 1
Departmental expenses
Departmental appropriation 2 31,384 31,451 67
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year 3 1,497 2,088 591
Total for Programme 1.1 200,119 190,742 (9,377)
Programme 1.2: Drug Strategy 1
Administered expenses
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Act No. 1) 138,415 121,559 (16,856)
Departmental expenses
Departmental appropriation 2 21,131 19,808 (1,323)
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year 3 1,001 1,304 303
Total for Programme 1.2 160,547 142,671 (17,876)
Programme 1.3: Immunisation 1
Administered expenses
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Act No. 1) 20,444 20,330 (114)
to Australian Childhood Immunisation Register Special Account (5,802) (5,802) -
Special appropriations
National Health Act 1953 - essential vaccines 159,905 136,420 (23,485)
Special accounts
Australian Childhood Immunisation Register Special Account 9,475 9,692 217
Departmental expenses
Departmental appropriation 2 9,418 9,468 50
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year 3 466 643 177
Total for Programme 1.3 193,906 170,751 (23,155)
Outcome 1 Totals by appropriation type
Administered expenses
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Act No. 1) 325,597 298,591 (27,006)
to Special accounts (5,802) (5,802) -
Special appropriations 160,405 136,921 (23,484)
Special accounts 9,475 9,692 217
Departmental expenses
Departmental appropriation 2 61,933 60,727 (1,206)
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the current year 3 2,964 4,035 1,071
Total expenses for Outcome 1 554,572 504,164 (50,408)
Average staffing level (number) 335 340 5
  1. This Programme includes National Partnerships payments to State and Territory Governments by the Treasury as part of the Federal Financial Relations Framework.
  2. Departmental appropriation combines ‘Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Act No. 1)’ and ‘Revenue from independent sources (s74)’.
  3. ‘Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year’ is made up of depreciation expense, amortisation, make good expense and audit fees.