Department of Health Annual Report 2016-17


Page last updated: 19 October 2017

Aedes albopictusExotic mosquitoes that are carriers (vectors) of dengue, yellow fever, Zika and chikungunya.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)The ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses and parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it.
Blood Borne Viruses (BBV)Viruses that are transmitted through contact between infected blood and uninfected blood (eg. hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV).
Cervical cancerA cancer of the cervix, often caused by human papillomavirus, which is a sexually transmissible infection.
ChemotherapyThe treatment of disease by chemical agents, for example the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells.
Chronic diseaseThe term applied to a diverse group of diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis, that tend to be long-lasting and persistent in their symptoms or development. Although these features also apply to some communicable diseases (infections), the general term chronic diseases is usually confined to non-communicable diseases.
Closing the GapCOAG Closing the Gap initiatives designed to close the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Communicable diseaseAn infectious disease transmissible (as from person to person) by direct contact with an affected individual or the individual’s discharges or by indirect means. Communicable (infectious) diseases include sexually transmitted diseases; vector-borne diseases; vaccine preventable diseases and antimicrobial resistant bacteria.
DengueA mosquito-borne viral infection.
DiabetesRefers to a group of syndromes caused by a malfunction in the production and release of insulin by the pancreas leading to a disturbance in blood glucose levels. Type 1 diabetes is characterised by the abrupt onset of symptoms, usually during childhood, and inadequate production of insulin requiring regular injections to regulate insulin levels. Type 2 diabetes is characterised by gradual onset commonly over the age of 45 years, but increasingly occurring in younger age groups, and is usually able to be regulated through dietary control.
Digital HealthApplication of internet and other related technologies in the health care industry to improve the access, efficiency, effectiveness and quality of clinical and business processes utilised by health care organisations, practitioners, patients and consumers to improve the health status of patients.
Elective surgeryElective care in which the procedures required by patients are listed in the surgical operations section of the Medicare Benefits Schedule, with the exclusion of specific procedures frequently done by non-surgical clinicians.
EpidemicAn outbreak of a disease or its occurrence at a level that is clearly higher than usual, especially if it affects a large proportion of the population.
Epidermolysis BullosaA rare inherited skin disorder which causes blistering. The Department provides access to clinically appropriate dressings through the National Epidermolysis Bullosa Dressing Scheme.
Financial yearThe 12 month period from 1 July to 30 June.
Single, interpretive five star rating front-of-pack labelling system for use on packaged foods sold in Australia indicating nutritional content and kilojoules.
General Practitioner (GP)A medical practitioner who provides primary care to patients and their families within the community.
Gene technologyGene technology involves techniques for understanding the expression of genes and taking advantage of natural genetic variation for the modification of genetic material. It does not include sexual reproduction or DNA crossover.
Haemopoietic progenitor cell (HPC)Blood cells found in bone marrow, peripheral blood and umbilical cord blood that are capable of self-renewal into all blood cell types.
Health careServices provided to individuals or communities to promote, maintain, monitor or restore health. Health care is not limited to medical care and includes self-care.
Health outcomeA change in the health of an individual or population due wholly or partly to a preventive or clinical intervention. See outcomes.
Hepatitis A
(infectious hepatitis)
An acute but benign form of viral hepatitis transmitted by ingesting food or drink that is contaminated with faecal matter.
Hepatitis B
(serum hepatitis)
An acute (sometimes fatal) form of viral hepatitis transmitted by sexual contact, by transfusion or by ingestion of contaminated blood or other bodily fluids.
Hepatitis CA blood borne viral disease that can result in serious liver disease such as cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. Hepatitis C is usually transmitted by parenteral means (as injection of an illicit drug or blood transfusion or exposure to blood or blood products).
Human papillomavirus (HPV)The virus that causes genital warts and which is linked in some cases to the development of more serious cervical cell abnormalities.
Illicit drugsThe term ‘illicit drug’ can encompass a number of broad concepts including:
  • illegal drugs – a drug that is prohibited from manufacture, sale or possession in Australia – for example, cannabis, cocaine, heroin and ecstasy
  • misuse or extra-medical use of pharmaceuticals – drugs that are available from a pharmacy, over-the-counter or by prescription, which may be subject to misuse – for example, opioid-based pain relief medications, opioid substitution therapies, benzodiazepines, over-the-counter codeine and steroids
  • other psychoactive substances – legal or illegal, potentially used in a harmful way – for example, kava, or inhalants such as petrol, paint or glue.
ImmunisationInducing immunity against infection by the use of an antigen to stimulate the body to produce its own antibodies. See vaccination.
IncidenceThe number of new cases (of an illness or event, and so on) occurring during a given period. Compare with prevalence.
Influenza (flu)An acute contagious viral respiratory infection marked by fevers, muscle aches, headache, cough and sore throat.
JurisdictionsIn the Commonwealth of Australia, these include the six States, the Commonwealth Government and the two Territories.
MeaslesA highly contagious infection, usually of children, that causes flu-like symptoms, fever, a typical rash and sometimes serious secondary problems such as brain damage. Preventable by vaccine.
Medical indemnity insuranceA form of professional indemnity cover that provides surety to medical
practitioners and their patients in the event of an adverse outcome arising from medical negligence.
MedicareA national, Government-funded scheme that subsidises the cost of personal medical services for all Australians and aims to help them afford medical care. The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) is the listing of the Medicare services subsidised by the Australian Government. The schedule is part of the wider Medicare Benefits Scheme (Medicare).
Memorandum of UnderstandingA written but non-contractual agreement between two or more entities or other parties to take a certain course of action.
Meningococcal diseaseThe inflammation of meninges of the brain and the spinal cord caused by meningococcal bacteria which invade the body through the respiratory tract. The infection develops quickly and is often characterised by fever, vomiting,
an intense headache, stiff neck and septicemia (an infection in the bloodstream).
MorbidityRefers to ill health in an individual and to levels of ill health in a population or group.
MumpsAn acute, inflammatory, contagious disease caused by a paramyxovirus and characterised by swelling of the salivary glands, especially the parotids, and sometimes of the pancreas, ovaries, or testes. This disease mainly affects children and can be prevented by vaccination.
Non-communicable diseasesNon-communicable diseases, also known as chronic diseases, are not passed from person to person. They are of long duration and generally slow progression. The 4 main types of non-communicable diseases are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.
ObesityMarked degree of overweight, defined for population studies as a body mass index of 30 or over.
OncologyThe study, knowledge and treatment of cancer and tumours.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)An organisation of 35 countries including Australia, mostly developed and some emerging (such as Mexico, Chile and Turkey); the organisation’s aim is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social wellbeing of people around the world.
OutcomesOutcomes are the Government’s intended results, benefits or consequences
for the Australian community. The Government requires entities, such as the Department, to use Outcomes as a basis for budgeting, measuring performance and reporting. Annual administered funding is appropriated on an Outcomes basis. The Department’s current Outcomes are listed on page 30.
Out-of-pocket costsThe total costs incurred by individuals for health care services over and above any refunds from Medicare and private health insurance funds.
Palliative careCare provided to achieve the best possible quality of life for patients with a progressive and far-advanced disease, with little or no prospect of cure.
PathologyThe study and diagnosis of disease through the examination of organs, tissues, cells and bodily fluids.
Pertussis (whooping cough)An extremely contagious respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Bordatella pertussis. The disease causes uncontrolled coughing and vomiting, which can last for several months and can be particularly dangerous for babies under the age of 12 months.
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)A national, Government-funded scheme that subsidises the cost of a wide range of pharmaceutical drugs for all Australians to help them afford standard medications. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule lists all the medicinal products available under the PBS and explains the uses for which they can be subsidised.
Plain packagingThe Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 requires all tobacco products manufactured or packaged in Australia for domestic consumption from 1 October 2012 to be in plain packaging, and all tobacco products to be sold in plain packaging by 1 December 2012.
Population healthTypically described as the organised response by society to protect and promote health, and to prevent illness, injury and disability. Population health activities generally focus on: prevention, promotion and protection rather than on treatment; populations rather than on individuals; and the factors and behaviours that cause illness. In this sense, often used synonymously with public health. Can also refer to the health of particular subpopulations, and comparisons of the health of different populations.
Portfolio Additional Estimates StatementsStatements prepared by portfolios to explain the Additional Estimates Budget appropriations in terms of outcomes and programs.
Portfolio Budget StatementsStatements prepared by portfolios to explain the Budget appropriations in terms of outcomes and programs.
PrevalenceThe number or proportion (of cases, instances, and so forth) in a population at a given time. In relation to cancer, refers to the number of people alive who had been diagnosed with cancer in a prescribed period (usually 1-, 5-, 10- or 26-years). Compare with incidence.
Primary careProvides the patient with a broad spectrum of care, both preventive and curative, over a period of time and coordinates all of the care the person receives.
Program/ProgrammeA specific strategy, initiative or grouping of activities directed toward the achievement of Government policy or a common strategic objective. In 2016-17, the Department had 28 specific programs (see page 30).
Prostheses ListUnder the Private Health Insurance Act 2007, private health insurers are required to pay benefits for a range of prostheses that are provided as part of an episode of hospital treatment or hospital substitute treatment for which a patient has cover and for which a Medicare benefit is payable for the associated professional service. The types of products on the Prostheses List include cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators, cardiac stents, joint replacements and intraocular lenses, as well as human tissues such as human heart valves. The list does not include external legs, external breast prostheses, wigs and other such devices. The Prostheses List contains prostheses and human tissue prostheses and the benefit to be paid by the private health insurers. The Prostheses List is published bi-annually.
Public healthActivities aimed at benefiting a population, with an emphasis on prevention, protection and health promotion as distinct from treatment tailored to individuals with symptoms. Examples include conduct of anti-smoking education campaigns, and screening for diseases such as cancer of the breast or cervix. See also population health.
Quality Use of Medicines (QUM)QUM means:
  • selecting management options wisely
  • choosing suitable medicines if a medicine is considered necessary,
  • using medicines safely and effectively.
The definition of QUM applies equally to decisions about medicine use by individuals and decisions that affect the health of the population.
Radiation oncology (radiotherapy)The study and discipline of treating malignant disease with radiation. The treatment is referred to as radiotherapy or radiation therapy.
RegistrarAny person undertaking medical vocational training in a recognised medical specialty training program accredited by the Australian Medical Council.
Sexually transmissible infection (STI)An infectious disease that can be passed to another person by sexual contact. Notable examples include chlamydia and gonorrhoea.
StomaArtificial body opening in the abdominal region, for the purpose of waste removal.
VaccinationThe process of administering a vaccine to a person to produce immunity against infection. See immunisation.
World Health Organization (WHO)The World Health Organization is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN). Its primary role is to direct and coordinate international health within the United Nations’ system. The WHO has 194 member states, including Australia.
Zika virusA flavivirus, closely related to dengue. It is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of certain infected Aedes species mosquitoes.