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Defence Health

Health Alerts & Updates

The RESTORE Trial

Serving members that may have developed PTSD during or after their military service may be able to participate in a new clinical treatment trial known as the RESTORE Trial - Rapid Exposure Supporting Trauma Recovery.

The RESTORE Trial is investigating one of the most effective treatments for PTSD - known as Prolonged Exposure (PE). Prolonged Exposure therapy is a gold standard evidence-based treatment best described as a type of trauma - focused cognitive behavioural therapy.

The trial is being held in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

For more information visit the RESTORE page.

Cadets now have access to the Employee Assistance Program

ADF Cadets now have access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAP provides free, confidential and professional counselling to help people resolve problems that may impact their life. For more information see For Cadets.

Joint Health Command Annual Review 2014-15

The annual performance review for health services provided to ADF personnel highlighting the significant progress made in delivering high quality healthcare during the reporting period.

The JHC Annual Review 2013-14 is available via this link

Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Australian Gulf War Veterans’ Follow Up Health Study 2015

  • Aim: To examine the physical, psychological and social health of Australian veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War, more than 20 years after deployment.
  • Participants: 715 Gulf War veterans and 675 military comparison group members in the health study component; 1,871 Gulf War veterans and 2,922 military comparison group members in the mortality and cancer incidence component.
  • The overall participation rate for the Follow Up Study was 50 per cent.
  • Cost: $1.56 million.

Research contributors

  • Monash University, University of Adelaide, University of Melbourne

Key findings

No detected increased levels of mortality or cancer among Gulf War veterans. Results showed a “healthy worker effect” with lower than expected death and cancer morbidity rates.

Smoking rates significantly reduced since the 2003 study.

When compared to the military comparison group, Gulf War veterans had:

  • poorer physical and psychological health and quality of life;
  • greater use of DVA health services;
  • more likely to experience posttraumatic stress disorder;
  • higher risk of irritable bowel syndrome;
  • higher risk of chronic fatigue;
  • higher risk of alcohol disorder; and
  • higher risk of chronic multisymptom illness.

Details of the findings of the Australian Gulf War Veterans’ Follow Up Health Study, including background information, are available on the DVA website.

Overview

The Australian Gulf War Veterans’ Follow Up Health Study 2015 (Follow Up Study) conducted from 2011-2012, compares the physical, psychological and social health and military related exposures of Australian Defence Force (ADF) veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War against a military comparison group and the Australian Gulf War Veterans’ Health Study 2003.

The 2003 study sample was drawn from the Australian Gulf War Nominal Roll consisting of 1,871 Navy, Army and Air Force personnel. All participants from the 2003 study were eligible to participate in the current study.

The participation rate for the Follow Up Study was 50 per cent. This high response rate ensured that the response data was comprehensive and representative. Ninety-eight per cent of respondents were male with an average age of 50 years.

An advisory committee involving a number of service and ex-service organisations represented the veteran community during the study.

At follow up, Gulf War veterans were found to be resilient and were likely to have accessed disability and health services in the 12 months prior to the study.

At follow up there was a reduction in smoking, with one half of those who reported being a smoker in the 2003 study no longer smoking at follow up.

The study found that at follow up Gulf War veteran participants were more likely than the comparison group to suffer from a number of conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder, alcohol disorder, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic multi-symptom illness.

At follow up there were no statistically significant differences in cancer and mortality rates between Gulf War veterans and the comparison group.

The findings support the work already being undertaken by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to improve access to services, streamline the compensation claims process and expand access to mental health treatment.

Support

DVA may be able to pay for treatment for a number of mental health conditions, whether or not the condition is caused by military service. Rehabilitation and compensation is currently available for eligible Gulf War veterans experiencing conditions related to their military service.

Gulf War veterans and their families can access assistance through the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS). VVCS provides free and confidential, nation-wide counselling and support for war and service-related mental health and wellbeing conditions.

For help, to learn more or to check eligibility call 1800 011 046 (24/7) or visit the VVCS website. Further support tools and information are available through the ADF Health Portal and the DVA At-Ease Website.

Resilience App for ADF Members


A new smart phone app developed by the Departments of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) and Defence has been released to help current and former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) manage immediate responses to stress and help build resilience.

Features include:
  • Tools for managing stress
  • Assess and adjust your physical and behavioural responses, your thoughts and emotions
  • Performance and resilience training
  • Improving physical reactions
  • Controlling thoughts
  • Controlling emotions
  • Changing behaviours
  • Personal goal setting and ability to measure progress
  • Immediate assistance for crises

This app is a self help tool and is not designed to replace professional help. There are a range of professional help options such as through your local Defence Health Centre, the ADF All-Hours Support Line on 1800 628 036, the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) on 1800 011 046.

High Res is free to download from the iOS App Store and Android Google Play.

Further information on the app is available on Defence’s Fighting Fit health and wellbeing portal, as well as on DVA’s At Ease mental health portal www.at-ease.dva.gov.au.

Health Information Privacy in Defence

On 12 March 2014 changes to the Privacy Act 1988 took effect. These changes replace the Information Privacy Principles (IPP) with 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APP), which govern the way agencies collect, store, use and disclose personal information. As an agency, Defence must comply with the APP. Health information is considered to be sensitive personal information, and has additional protections under the Privacy Act.

The Joint Health Command (JHC) Privacy Statement explains how the personal health information of Defence members is collected, managed and used by Defence. See the following PDF or Word documents:

JHC Privacy Statement—Health Information of Defence members (PDF)

JHC Privacy Statement—Health Information of Defence members (Word)

For further information visit the Defence information privacy site, or email the Defence privacy officer on defence.privacy@defence.gov.au.

ADF Family Health News

Participating ADF families are now able to lodge manual claims via the new Online Claiming functionality. For more details visit ‘How to Claim’.

RADM Walker has launched the Strategic Intent for Joint Health Command for 2013-15 (PDF). The Strategic Intent informs JHC planning, performance and governance over the next two years.