Promoting a strong ethical organisational culture in your service; New Resource!

Clinical Ethics Capacity Building Resource Manual

Published: August 2015

Publisher: National Health and Medical Research Council

NHMRC Publication reference: E114

Online version:

This manual is designed to help you plan, develop and implement a clinical ethics service in your organisation. It is intended as a resource for information on the potential forms that a clinical ethics service might take, its scope, its internal structure and place within your organisation, and the roles, operational processes and governance arrangements that it might adopt. This manual is offered by the NHMRC as a contribution to the continued development and growth of clinical ethics services across Australia.



Alcohol and other drug use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men entering prison in New South Wales

Michael F Doyle1*, Tony G Butler1, Anthony Shakeshaft2, Jill Guthrie3, Jo Reekie1 and Peter W Schofield4

Health & Justice 2015, 3:15  doi:10.1186/s40352-015-0027-1

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Received: 25 February 2015
Accepted: 29 July 2015
Published: 11 August 2015

© 2015 Doyle et al.


Introduction and aims

Prison entrants commonly have a history of problematic alcohol and other drug (AoD) use. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) Australians are vastly overrepresented in Australian prisons with an incarceration rate 16 times that of non-Indigenous Australians. Relatively little attention has been given to the patterns of AoD use among prison entrants and we hypothesise that they may differ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous entrants. The aim of this paper is to compare the prior AoD use among Indigenous and non-Indigenous prison entrants and identify the implications for AoD treatment provision within prisons.

Design and method

Cross-sectional random sample of 200 men recently received into New South Wales (NSW) criminal justice system.


During the 12 months prior to imprisonment, 106 prison entrants consumed alcohol at levels at which an intervention is recommended. Additionally during the four weeks prior to prison, 94 inmates had used illicit drugs daily. There was some overlap between these two groups; however, heroin users were less likely to consume alcohol at harmful levels. Relative to non-Indigenous entrants, Indigenous entrants prior to imprisonment used more cannabis but less amphetamine on a daily basis. There were no other significant differences between the alcohol or drug use of Indigenous and non-Indigenous prison entrants.

Discussion and conclusion

Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous men entering prison have a history of high levels of AoD use but a slightly different treatment focus may be required for Indigenous inmates.

National Complex Needs Alliance (NCNA) Program and Registration

The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) – in conjunction with the National Complex Needs Alliance (NCNA) – is holding the Second National Complex Needs Conference in Canberra on 17-18 November 2015.  This will be the second Australian conference to showcase successful programs/approaches in addressing complex needs – with the broader purpose of identifying what works and how.  The first conference in 2013 was a huge success – leading to the establishment of the NCNA.

You can register to attend online at:

Keynote speakers at the conference include:

Dr Tom Calma AO, National Coordinator, Tackling Indigenous Smoking; Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia

TOPIC: Justice Reinvestment – is it the policy solution for Australia’s Indigenous incarceration challenge?

Bernadette Mitcherson, Executive Director, ACT Corrective Services

TOPIC: Throughcare programs and initiatives for detainees with complex needs in the ACT

Kate Carnell AO, CEO, Chamber of Commerce and Industry

TOPIC: A hand up, not a hand out – how the business community can support disadvantaged Australians to re-enter the labour market

Kieran Palmer, Clinical Service Manager, Psychologist, Ted Noffs Foundation

TOPIC: Embracing the potential of youth: Integrated treatment approaches to improving outcomes and supporting greatness

Sue Miers AM, Chair, National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (NOFASD)

TOPIC: Comprehensive responses to the needs of children and families affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Day 2 of the conference will also feature an Opening Address by Yvette Berry MLA, ACT Minister for Housing, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Community Services, Multicultural Affairs, Women and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Social Inclusion and Equality

TOPIC: ACT Government’s Human Services Blueprint and the related Strengthening Families and Local Services Network initiatives

Among the other features of the conference program is a Hypothetical Plenary Panel Session – entitled ‘Great expectations – can we meet complex need effectively?’ – which will feature panellists with different perspectives and expertise exploring options for providing comprehensive assistance to a hypothetical family with complex needs.  The hypothetical will also be followed by a political perspectives panel session rounding off the speaker program with key federal politicians participating in a moderated discussion with other panellists and the audience.

The full Provisional Program for the conference is available at:

We are seeking your support in attending the conference – and encouraging your colleagues and networks to also attend – to build on the previous successful event and provide a strong framework for continuing cross-sectoral engagement to achieve better long term outcomes for people with complex needs.

Please forward this email to others you think may be interested in attending.

Labor road-blocks war on ice

John Elferink

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice

16 September 2015

Today the Labor Party prevented Territory Police from obtaining new powers that are urgently needed to help fight the distribution and manufacture of methamphetamines in the Northern Territory.

“Labor played politics in Parliament today to prevent the introduction of legislation that would have given Northern Territory Police powers to interrupt the flow of methamphetamines into the Territory from other jurisdictions,” Attorney General John Elferink said.

“Rather than demonstrate community leadership in our Parliament, the Opposition has, by its actions, condemned more families to the suffering that this drug causes.”

The Government asked the Labor Party to provide support for the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill 2015 to be introduced on urgency.

The proposed Bill would allow police to declare certain areas as ‘declared drug detection areas’ where police could conduct random searches of vehicles for drugs.

Had Labor supported the urgency motion, the Bill could have been passed this Sittings.

“This drug is a menace on society,” Mr Elferink said, “it destroys families, as well as the users.

“The incidence of ice being brought into the Northern Territory has increased alarmingly and we have to do something sooner rather than later.

“It is extremely disappointing that the Opposition has decided to oppose the urgency motion.”

Labor’s actions in refusing to understand the urgency involved means the Bill will have to be debated in the November Sittings.

“Labor has now denied our police force the tools they need for a minimum 60 days,” Mr Elferink said.

“Sixty days that could ease the suffering for many Territory families and potentially prevent the introduction of others to the drug, ice.”

Media contact: Dimitra Grehl 0439 640 895

New Early Intervention Program for Families and Young People Affected by Mental Illness

TEAMhealth is a non-government, non- clinical organisation that provides support for people who are at risk of, or whose lives are affected by mental illness. TEAMhealth has 13 programs across the Top End including community housing, respite, and psychosocial rehabilitation support for individuals.

Child and Family Wellbeing Service

The Child and Family Wellbeing Service (CFWS) is a voluntary program that provides early intervention support to children and young people aged 0-18 years who are showing early signs of, or are at risk of developing a mental illness.  The service works alongside families to provide practical and strengths based support to improve a child or young person’s wellbeing and enable them to reach their full potential.

The service provides the following levels of support:

Short term immediate assistance- Direct support and assistance for families including information and referrals where appropriate (up to approximately 6 sessions)

Intensive, long term, early intervention support (6 – 12 months)- work with families to identify the child or young person’s needs, support them to develop a family action plan and achieve goals in the 6 life areas listed below in accordance with the Common  Approach:


Physical health

Mental health and emotional wellbeing


Material wellbeing

Learning and development

Community education to engage the community and increase capacity and awareness of mental health issues affecting children and young people


The Child or young person must be under 18 years of age and willing to actively engage with the service

There is parent or family member willing to engage and support  the young person or child

The family must live within the service area (Palmerston, Litchfield or Katherine)

Children/young people who are under the care of Department of Children and Families or in detention are ineligible for service, however families that are involved with DCF may be eligible

Referral Pathway

Referrals are accepted from any source but must have consent of the child or young person’s parent or guardian.

Additional Information

For further information please contact the Child and Family Wellbeing Team on 08 8943 9600.

TEAMhealth introduces a new program titled Child and Family Wellbeing Service that provides non-clinical, practical and strengths-based support to families where there is a child or young person between the ages of 0-18, who is at risk of developing, or showing early signs of mental illness. Working in a child-focused and whole-of-family approach, the program aims to improve the wellbeing of young people and build the capacity of parents and families.

For more information regarding this program contact: or

08 8943 9600