Budget lacks understanding of preventive health

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The 2016 Budget shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the importance of prevention for the economy and the health of the Australian population, says PHAA Vice President David Templeman.

“After tonight’s budget release, it is clear the Government is not prioritising prevention and has missed a significant opportunity to invest in the health and wellbeing of Australians,” says Templeman.

“This budget is very treatment focused. We must shift to a model which focuses on prevention rather than waiting for someone to become sick and relying on healthcare and hospital services,” he say.

PHAA says its election priorities identify ways the Federal Government can save lives and help the economy, for every dollar invested in prevention, the Government can save over five dollars in health spending.

“We know prevention works. While we applaud the Government for reinvesting in initiatives such as the Health Star Rating and tobacco consumption rates but we would like to see a greater level of investment in  public health prevention initiatives such as a sugar tax on soft drinks,” says Templeman.

“A sugar tax on soft drinks would not only improve the health of Australians but it would inject money back into the economy. The funds can be reinvested back into prevention initiatives and research.

“Initiatives such as these have had flow on affects. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples smoking rate is now at 39% the lowest recorded rate which is attributed to prevention and educational programssays

“People don’t want to be in hospital. A comprehensive approach is vital to keep Australians out of hospital and have the best quality of life.

“Over the last decade, there has been a significant increase of people living with multiple chronic diseases including type II diabetes and heart disease.”

He says this should be a wakeup call to the Government to implement strategies to prevent this from happening.

“The Federal Government has missed an opportunity to consider how the pressure could be taken off the health system.

“There doesn’t have to be a choice – treatment and prevention can both be funded but investment in prevention can stop the problem before it starts.”

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