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Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation/Service (ACCHO, ACCHS)

Community control is a process that allows the local Aboriginal community to be involved in its affairs in accordance with whatever protocols or procedures are determined by the community.
Aboriginal community control has its origins in Aboriginal peoples’ right to self-determination. This includes the right to be involved in health service delivery and decision making according to protocols or procedures determined by Aboriginal communities based on the Aboriginal holistic definition of health.
An ACCHO is:

  • an incorporated Aboriginal organisation
  • initiated by a local Aboriginal community
  • based in a local Aboriginal community
  • governed by an Aboriginal body which is elected by the local Aboriginal community
  • delivering a holistic and culturally appropriate health service to the community that controls it.

Acute rheumatic fever (ARF)

ARF is a disease caused by an auto-immune reaction to a bacterial infection with Group A streptococcus. ARF is a short illness, but can result in permanent damage to the heart—rheumatic heart disease (RHD). A person who has had ARF once is susceptible to repeated episodes, which can increase the risk of RHD. Following an initial diagnosis of RHD, patients require long term treatment, including long term antibiotic treatment to avoid infections that may damage the heart (Steer & Carapetis 2009).

Steer AC, Carapetis JR 2009. Acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in indigenous populations. Pediatric Clinics Dec 1;56(6):1401-19.


The formal process, using registration procedures, under which a person is accepted by a hospital or an area or district health service facility as an inpatient.

Statistics on admitted cases are compiled when an admitted patient (a patient who undergoes a hospital’s formal admission process) completes an episode of admitted-patient care and ‘separates’ from the hospital. This is because most of the data on the use of hospitals by admitted cases are based on information provided at the end of the cases’ episodes of care, rather than at the beginning. The length of stay and the procedures carried out are then known and the diagnostic information is more accurate (AIHW: Pointer SC 2019).

AIHW: Pointer SC 2019. Hospitalised injury and socioeconomic influence in Australia, 2015–16. Injury research and statistics series no. 125. Cat. no. INJCAT 205. Canberra: AIHW.

Age-adjusted rate

See age-standardised rate.

Age-specific rate

Rate for a specified age group. Both numerator and denominator refer to the same age group.

Age-standardised rate

Rate adjusted to take account of differences in age composition when rates for different populations are compared. The direct method of standardisation is used for the HPF. To calculate age-standardised rates using the direct method: 
ASR = (SUM (ri * Pi))/SUM Pi

  • ASR is the age-standardised rate for the population being studied
  • ri is the age-group specific rate for age group i in the population being studied
  • Pi is the population for age group i in the standard population.
Also called age-adjusted rate.


The presence of the protein albumin in the urine, typically as a symptom of kidney disease.

Ambulatory care

Care provided to hospital patients who are not admitted to the hospital, such as patients of emergency departments and outpatient clinics.


Angioplasty is a procedure to widen narrowed or obstructed arteries or veins, typically to treat arterial atherosclerosis. An empty, collapsed balloon is passed over a wire into the narrowed arteries or veins and then inflated to a fixed size. The balloon forces expansion of the vessel and the surrounding muscular wall, opening up the blood vessel for improved flow, and the balloon is then deflated and withdrawn. A stent may or may not be inserted at the time of ballooning to ensure the vessel remains open.

Antenatal care

Includes recording medical history, assessment of individual needs, advice and guidance on pregnancy and delivery, screening tests, education on self-care during pregnancy, identification of conditions detrimental to health during pregnancy, first-line management and referral if necessary.

Antepartum haemorrhage

An antepartum haemorrhage (APH) is bleeding from the vagina after 20 weeks of pregnancy and before the birth of the baby. The common causes of bleeding include: cervical ectropion (when the cells on the surface of the cervix change in pregnancy, the tissue is more likely to bleed), vaginal infection, placental edge bleed (when the lower-half of the uterus begins to stretch and grow, the edge of the placenta can separate from the wall of the uterus), placenta praevia (when the placenta covers all or part of the cervix) or placental abruption (when the placenta detaches from the uterus). The latter two conditions can lead to death of the foetus and/or mother.

At-risk communities (regarding trachoma)

The National Trachoma Surveillance and Reporting Unit analysed jurisdictional trachoma screening and management data for 2018 in 120 remote Indigenous communities at risk of endemic trachoma in Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, and the Northern Territory.

Australian 2001 standard population

The 2001 Australian population has been used as the standard population for calculation of directly age standardised rates. This is the estimated resident population based on the 2001 Census.

Australian Statistical Geography Standard—Remoteness Area (ASGS–RA)

The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) is the Australian Bureau of Statistics geographical framework effective from July 2011. The ASGS replaces the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). It classifies data from Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s) into broad geographical categories, called Remoteness Areas (RAs). The RA categories are defined in terms of ‘remoteness’—the physical distance of a location from the nearest Urban Centre (based on population size). Remoteness is calculated using the road distance to the nearest Urban Centre (access to goods and services) for five categories:

  • RA1—Major Cities of Australia
  • RA2—Inner Regional Australia
  • RA3—Outer Regional Australia
  • RA4—Remote Australia
  • RA5—Very Remote Australia.

Avoidable mortality

Refers to deaths from certain conditions that are considered avoidable given timely and effective health care. Avoidable mortality measures premature deaths (for those aged 0–74 years) for specific conditions defined internationally and nationally as potentially avoidable given access to effective health care.


Body Mass Index (BMI)

Used to assess overweight and obesity levels. BMI is calculated as follows: BMI = weight (kg) / height (m)²:

  • Underweight: BMI below 18.5
  • Normal weight: BMI from 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight: BMI from 25.0 to 29.9
  • Obese: BMI of 30.0 and over.
The BMI cut-off points are derived from mainly European populations and can vary for other groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Burden of disease (or injury)

The quantified impact of a disease or injury on a population using the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) measure (AIHW 2016).

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2016. Australian Burden of Disease Study: Impact and causes of illness and death in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2011. Australian Burden of Disease Study series no. 6. Cat. no. BOD 7. Canberra: AIHW.


Care and Protections Orders

Care and protection orders (CPOs) are legal orders or arrangements that place some responsibility for a child’s welfare with child protection authorities. They set up arrangements to provide support and assistance for vulnerable children and young people to protect them from abuse, neglect or other harm, or where their parents are unable to provide adequate care or protection (AIHW 2017).

AIHW 2017. Child protection Australia 2015–16. Child Welfare series no. 66. Cat. no. CWS 60. Canberra: AIHW.


Cataract is a degenerative condition in which the lens of the eye clouds over, obstructing the passage of light and affecting vision. The most common type of cataract is associated with ageing. Other causes of cataract include:

  • smoking
  • alcohol consumption
  • sunlight exposure
  • facial trauma
  • diabetes
  • arthritis
  • short-sightedness
  • some blood pressure lowering medications.

Cerebrovascular disease

Disease of the blood vessels, especially the arteries that supply the brain. It is usually caused by hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and can lead to a stroke.


A sexually transmissible infection (STI) that can affect women and men. Chlamydia is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. If left untreated, chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women, which can lead to chronic pain and infertility.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

COPD is a serious long-term lung disease that mainly affects older people and is often difficult to distinguish from asthma. It is characterised by chronic obstruction of lung airflow that interferes with normal breathing and is not fully reversible. COPD includes bronchitis or emphysema.

Circulatory disease

Any disease of the circulatory system, namely the heart (cardio) or blood vessels (vascular). Includes heart attack, angina, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Also known as cardiovascular disease.

Closing the Gap

A commitment made by Australian governments to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) set seven targets on closing the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians:

  • closing the life expectancy gap within a generation (2006 to 2031)
  • halving the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade (2008 to 2018)
  • 95 per cent of all Indigenous four year olds enrolled in preschool by 2025.
  • close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous school attendance within five years (2014 to 2018)
  • halving the gap for Indigenous students in reading, writing and numeracy within a decade (2008 to 2018)
  • halving the gap for Indigenous Australians aged 20–24 in Year 12 attainment or equivalent attainment rates (by 2020)
  • halving the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade (2008 to 2018).

With four of the seven targets expiring unmet, a new approach was needed.

The new National Agreement on Closing the Gap is a marked shift in the approach to the Closing the Gap framework. The agreement represents the culmination of a significant amount of work by the Joint Council on Closing the Gap in partnership between all Australian governments and the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations.

This is the first time an agreement designed to improve life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been developed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The agreement was launched on 30 July 2020 by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt, and Pat Turner, the convenor of the Coalition of Peaks—a representative body of more than fifty Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled peak organisations that have come together to partner with Australian governments on closing the gap.

The agreement is available at

Congenital malformations

Physical or anatomical abnormalities present in a baby at birth. Examples include heart defects, spina bifida, limb defects, cleft lip and palate, and Down syndrome. Congenital malformations can be genetic or caused by environmental factors (such as alcohol), or be of unknown origin.

Coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease, also known as ischaemic heart disease, is the most common form of heart disease. There are two major clinical forms—heart attack (often known as acute myocardial infarction) and angina.

Crude rate

An estimate of the proportion of a population that experiences an outcome during a specified period. It is calculated by dividing the number of people with an outcome in a specified period by the defined population during that period.

Crude death rate

An estimate of the proportion of a population that dies in a specified period. It is calculated by dividing the number of deaths in a specified period by the defined population during that period.



Hearing impairment, deafness or hearing loss refers to the inability to hear things, either totally or partially. Symptoms can range from mild to profound and it is caused by many different events including injury, disease and genetic defects. In this report, it comprises complete deafness, partial deafness and hearing loss not elsewhere classified.

Decayed, missing, or filled teeth scores

Oral health outcomes are usually measured in terms of the number of decayed, missing or filled baby or deciduous (dmft) and adult or permanent (DMFT) teeth. The dmft score measures decay experience in deciduous teeth, and the DMFT score measures decay experience in permanent teeth.

Diabetes mellitus

A chronic condition marked by high levels of glucose in the blood. This condition is caused by the inability to produce insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas to control blood glucose levels), or the insulin produced becomes less effective, or both. The three main types of diabetes are: Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes.

  • Type 1 diabetes, an auto-immune condition, is marked by the inability to produce any insulin and those affected need insulin replacement for survival. Type 1 diabetes is rare among Indigenous Australians.
  • Type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent) is the most common form of diabetes. Those with Type 2 diabetes produce insulin but may not produce enough or cannot use it effectively. There is a high prevalence of Type 2 diabetes among Indigenous Australians, who tend to develop it earlier than other Australians and die from the disease at younger ages.
  • Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and usually disappears after birth.

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the tiny blood vessels inside the retina at the back of the eye are damaged as a result of diabetes. This can seriously affect vision and in some cases may even cause blindness.


A medical procedure for the filtering and removal of waste products from the bloodstream. Dialysis is used to remove urea, uric acid and creatinine (a chemical waste molecule that is generated from muscle metabolism) in cases of chronic end-stage renal disease. Two main types are:

  • haemodialysis—blood flows out of the body into a machine that filters out the waste products and returns the cleansed blood back into the body
  • peritoneal dialysis—fluid is injected into the peritoneal cavity and wastes are filtered through the peritoneum, the thin membrane that surrounds the abdominal organs.

Disability-adjusted life years (DALY)

A year of healthy life lost, either through premature death or living with disability due to illness or injury (AIHW 2016).

AIHW 2016. Australian Burden of Disease Study: Impact and causes of illness and death in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2011. Australian Burden of Disease Study series no. 6. Cat. no. BOD 7. Canberra: AIHW.


Ear or hearing problems

Diseases of the ear and mastoid including deafness, otitis media, other diseases of the middle ear and mastoid, Meniere’s disease, other diseases of the inner ear and other diseases of the ear.

Ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that develops outside the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. In almost all cases, the embryo dies as the developing placenta can’t access a rich blood supply and the fallopian tube is not large enough to support the growing embryo. Implantation can also occur in the cervix, ovaries, and abdomen, but this is rare.


The term ‘employed’ includes people who have worked for at least 1 hour in the reference week.

End-stage renal disease

Chronic irreversible renal failure. The most severe form of chronic kidney disease where kidney function deteriorates so much that dialysis or kidney transplantation is required to survive.

Equivalised gross household income

In measuring and comparing income, equivalised gross household income adjusts for various factors, such as the number of people living in a household, particularly children and other dependants.

External cause (when related to hospitalised injury and injury deaths)

Is defined as the environmental event, circumstance or condition that was the cause of injury or poisoning. Whenever a patient has a principal or additional diagnosis of an injury or poisoning, an external cause code should be recorded (AIHW: Pointer SC 2019).

AIHW: Pointer SC 2019. Hospitalised injury and socioeconomic influence in Australia, 2015–16. Injury research and statistics series no. 125. Cat. no. INJCAT 205. Canberra: AIHW.


Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

Conditions that may result from fetal exposure to alcohol during pregnancy. Disorders include fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder and alcohol-related birth defects. These disorders include antenatal and postnatal growth retardation, specific facial dysmorphology and functional abnormalities of the central nervous system.



Glaucoma is a common form of eye disease that often runs in families. It affects the optic nerve connecting the eye to the brain. Glaucoma is usually caused by high intraocular pressure as a result of a blockage in the eye’s drainage system, which can lead to irreversible vision loss and blindness. Early detection and treatment can prevent vision loss in most cases.


Gonorrhoea is a common sexually transmissible infection that affects men and women. Gonorrhoea is caused by bacteria known as Neisseria gonorrhoea. It usually affects the genital area, although the throat or anus may also be affected. It can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility in women. Gonorrhoea can be treated with antibiotics.



A process used to treat kidney failure. A machine is connected to the patient’s bloodstream and then filters the blood externally to the body, removing water, excess substances and waste from the blood as well as regulating the levels of circulating chemicals. In doing this the machine takes on the role normally played by the kidneys (see also dialysis).

High blood triglycerides

Triglycerides make up about 95 per cent of all dietary fats. In many cases, regular overeating leading to obesity causes a person to have raised triglycerides, which are linked with an increased risk of health conditions including diabetes and heart disease. High triglyceride levels in the blood are also known as hypertriglyceridemia.

Hospital separation or hospitalisation

See Separation.

Hypertension/hypertensive disease

High blood pressure, defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg—a systolic pressure above 140 with a diastolic pressure above 90.


Illicit drugs

Illicit drugs include illegal drugs (amphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, heroin, hallucinogens), pharmaceuticals when used for non-medical purposes (pain-killers, sleeping pills) and other substances used inappropriately (inhalants such as petrol or glue).


The rate at which new events or cases occur during a certain period of time.

Indigenous deaths identification rate

Almost all deaths in Australia are registered. However, the Indigenous status of the deceased may not be recorded correctly or reported. This means that the identification of Indigenous Australians in deaths data is incomplete. The number of deaths registered as Indigenous may therefore be an underestimate of deaths occurring among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population (ABS 1997). As a result, the observed differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous mortality are underestimates of the true differences.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 1997, Occasional paper: Mortality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, ABS Cat. no. 3315.0, ABS:Canberra.

Infant death

The death of a child before one year.

Invasive pneumococcal disease

A more serious form of pneumococcal disease, an infection caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacterium. It occurs inside a major organ or in the blood and can result in pneumonia, sepsis, middle-ear infection (otitis media), or bacterial meningitis.

Ischaemic heart disease

Ischaemic heart disease, or myocardial ischaemia, is a disease characterised by reduced blood supply (ischaemia) of the heart muscle, usually due to coronary artery disease. See also coronary heart disease.


Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K5)

A measure of psychological distress in people aged 16 and over. K5 is a 5 item questionnaire that measures the level of psychological distress in the most recent 4-week period. At both the population and individual level, the K5 measure is a brief and accurate screening scale for psychological distress.


Labour force

The labour force comprises all people who are either employed or unemployed.

Life expectancy

The average number of years of life remaining to a person at a particular age. Life expectancy at birth is an estimate of the average length of time (in years) a person can expect to live, assuming that the currently prevailing rates of death for each age group will remain the same for the lifetime of that person.

Live birth

The birth of a child who after delivery, breathes or shows any other evidence of life, such as a heartbeat.

Low birthweight babies

Infants born weighing less than 2,500gm.


Mastoid process

The mastoid process—a bony protrusion located behind the ear in the lower part of the skulls—contains mastoid cells (small air-filled cavities) that communicate with the middle ear. Infection of the mastoid process can lead to hearing loss and other complications.

Meningococcal disease

Meningococcal disease describes infections caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis (meningococci bacteria). These bacteria can cause meningitis (an inflammatory response to an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord) and sepsis (an infection in the bloodstream). Meningitis can lead to deafness, epilepsy, cognitive defects and death. Sepsis can lead to organ dysfunction or failure and death.

Multivariate analysis

A set of statistical techniques used to analyse data with more than one variable.

Myocardial infarction

Myocardial infarction or acute myocardial infarction are terms commonly used to refer to a heart attack, but more correctly refer only to those heart attacks that have caused some death of heart muscle.


Myopia or near-sightedness is a type of refractive error of the eye, in which the eye does not focus light correctly. This makes distant objects appear blurred.

Myringotomy procedures

Incision in eardrum to relieve pressure caused by excessive build-up of fluid.


National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA)

The NIRA was an agreement between the Commonwealth and state and territory Governments that provided the framework for Closing the Gap in Indigenous disadvantage. It set out the objectives, outcomes, outputs, performance indicators and performance benchmarks agreed by COAG. The NIRA has now been replaced by the National Agreement on Closing the Gap (see Closing the Gap).

Neonatal death

Death within 28 days of birth of any child who, after delivery, breathed or showed any other evidence of life, such as a heartbeat.


An abnormal growth of tissue. Can be ‘benign’ (not a cancer) or ‘malignant’ (a cancer). Same as a tumour.


Nephritis is an inflammation of the kidneys. It is often caused by toxins, infections, and auto-immune diseases.


Nephrosis is a condition of the kidneys. It is usually caused by diseases that damage the kidneys' filtering system, allowing a protein called albumin to be filtered out into the urine (albuminuria). Symptoms include protein in the urine, high triglyceride levels, high cholesterol levels, low blood protein levels, and swelling.

Non-ambulatory care

Care provided to a patient, whose condition requires admission to hospital or other inpatient facility.


In this report, notifications are cases of communicable diseases reported by general practitioners, hospitals and pathology laboratories to the relevant authorities.


Otitis media

Also known as middle ear infection. In severe or untreated cases, otitis media can lead to hearing loss.

Overweight and obesity

Overweight and obesity are measured using height and weight to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI scores in the range 25.00 to 29.99 are classified as ‘overweight’ and scores 30.00 or more as ‘obese’.


Perinatal death

A fetal death (death of a fetus at 20 or more weeks of gestation, or at least 400 grams birthweight) or neonatal death within 28 days of birth. See also live birth and neonatal death.

Post-Enumeration Survey (PES)

The PES is a short survey run in the month after each Census, to determine how many people were missed or counted more than once. It collects information about where people were on Census night and their characteristics. The PES provides information on the population and dwelling characteristics of the net undercount in the Census of Population and Housing.

Potentially avoidable hospital admissions

See Selected potentially avoidable/preventable hospitalisations.

Preterm labour

Preterm labour is defined as birth before 37 completed weeks of gestation.


The rate at which existing events or cases are found at a given point or in a period of time.

Primary health care

Primary health care usually is the first point of contact a person encounters with the health care system. In mainstream health throughout Australia primary health care is normally provided by general practitioners, community health nurses, pharmacists, environmental health officers etc., although the term usually means medical care. Primary health care may be provided through an ACCHO or satellite clinic (AH&MRC 1999).

Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) of NSW 1999, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Health Care Services to Aboriginal Communities: Core Functions of Primary Health Care in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS), 1, AH&MRC Monograph Series, AH&MRC, Strawberry Hills, NSW.

Primary Health Networks (PHN)

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) have been established with the key objectives of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes, and improving coordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time.

Primordial prevention

Primordial prevention aspires to establish and maintain conditions to minimize hazards to health. It consists of actions and measures that inhibit the emergence and establishment of environmental, economic, social and behavioural conditions, and cultural patterns of living known to increase the risk of disease.

Principal diagnosis (relating to hospitalisation)

Is the diagnosis established, after study, to be chiefly responsible for occasioning the patient’s episode of admitted-patient care.


Refractive error

A refractive error, or refraction error, is an error in the focusing of light by the eye and a frequent reason for blurred vision. It may lead to visual impairment.

Respiratory disease

Respiratory disease includes conditions affecting the respiratory system—which includes the lungs and airways—such as asthma, COPD and pneumonia (see also Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).

Rheumatic heart disease (RHD)

RHD may develop after illness with rheumatic fever, usually during childhood. Rheumatic fever can cause damage to various structures of the heart including the valves, lining or muscle and this damage is known as RHD (see also acute rheumatic fever).

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, specifically the synovium, a thin membrane that lines the joints. As a result of the attack, fluid builds up in the joints causing pain in the joints and inflammation throughout the body.


Globally, rotavirus is the most common cause of severe gastroenteritis in early childhood. The main symptom of rotavirus is watery diarrhoea, lasting up to 7 days. Fever, stomach pain and vomiting may also occur. Infants can become severely dehydrated, resulting in hospitalisation. Older adults can experience severe symptoms too. Vaccination against rotavirus for young infants is available through the Australian National Immunisation Program (NIP). Almost all children in Australia have been exposed to the rotavirus by the time they reach five years of age.


Second hand smoke

Refers to the exposure that occurs from inhaling smoke from someone else using cigarettes.

Secondary antibiotic prophylaxis

This refers to the administration of antibiotics to people with a history of Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF) to prevent GAS (Group A streptococcus) infection, subsequent ARF recurrence and to minimise progression to RHD (RHD Action 2020).
RHD Action 2020. World Heart Foundation/RhEACH/Medtronic Foundation. Viewed 5 November 2020,

Secondary health care

Secondary health care refers to particular services provided by hospitals, such as acute care, as well as services provided by specialists.

Selected potentially avoidable hospital admissions

Selected potentially preventable hospitalisations refers to admissions to hospital that are considered sensitive to the effectiveness, timeliness and adequacy of non-hospital care. This includes conditions for which hospitalisation could potentially be avoided through effective preventive measures or early diagnosis and treatment (Page et al. 2007). 

Page, A, Ambrose, S, Glover, J & Hetzel, D 2007. Atlas of Avoidable Hospitalisations in Australia: ambulatory care-sensitive conditions, Public Health Information Development Unit, University of Adelaide, PHIDU: Adelaide.


This is the term used to refer to the episode of admitted-patient care, which can be a total hospital stay (from admission to discharge, transfer or death) or a portion of a hospital stay beginning or ending in a change of type of care (for example, from acute care to rehabilitation). ‘Separation’ also means the process by which an admitted patient completes an episode of care by being discharged, dying, transferring to another hospital or changing type of care. The number of separations is the most commonly used measure of the utilisation of hospital services.

Statistically significant

An indication from a statistical test that an observed difference or association may be significant or ‘real’ because it is unlikely to be due just to chance.

Substantiated child protection notifications

A child protection notification is substantiated where it is concluded that the child has been, is being, or is likely to be, abused, neglected or otherwise harmed.

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

The sudden and unexpected death of a baby with no known illness, typically affecting sleeping infants between the ages of 2 weeks to 6 months.

Sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI)

SUDI is a broad term used to describe the sudden and unexpected death of a baby for which the cause is not immediately obvious.


Syphilis is a sexually transmissible infection caused by a bacterium called Treponema pallidum. It can affect both men and women. Syphilis is transmitted through close skin-to-skin contact and is highly contagious when the syphilis sore (chancre) or rash is present. If untreated, syphilis can damage internal organs, such as the heart and brain and can result in death.


Tertiary health care

Tertiary health care refers to highly specialised or complex services provided by specialists or allied health professionals in a hospital or primary health care setting, such as cancer treatment and complex surgery.

Thirdhand smoke (THS)

Thirdhand smoke refers to residual tobacco smoke constituents that remain on surfaces and in dust after tobacco has been smoked.


Trachoma is an eye infection that can result in scarring, in-turned eyelashes and blindness. Australia is the only developed country where trachoma is still endemic and it is found almost exclusively in remote and very remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. Trachoma is associated with living in an arid environment (including the impact of dust); lack of access to clean water for hand and face washing; and overcrowding and low socioeconomic status (Taylor 2008).

Taylor, HR 2008. Trachoma: a blinding scourge from the Bronze Age to the twenty-first century, Centre for Eye Research Australia, Melbourne.


Trichiasis is a sight-threatening complication of trachoma where the lid margin and eyelashes turn inwards. The rubbing of the eyelashes on the cornea leads to corneal damage and blindness in later life (Commonwealth of Australia 2005).

Commonwealth of Australia 2005. Eye Health in Australia – A background paper to the National Framework for Action to Promote Eye Health and Prevent Avoidable Blindness and Vision Loss.


A surgical intervention to reconstruct a perforated eardrum.



The term ‘unemployed’ refers to people who are without work, but have actively looked for work in the last four weeks and are available to start work.

Unemployment rate

The number of unemployed people expressed as a proportion of the labour force (i.e., employed and unemployed).


Vocational Education and Training (VET) load pass rate

The VET load pass rate is a ratio of hours of supervision in assessable modules or units that students have completed to the hours of supervision in assessable modules or units that students have either completed, failed or withdrawn from.