The need for Primary Health Care reform has been highlighted with the release of new statistics today that show half of all Australians have at least one chronic disease, says Minister for Health Sussan Ley.
Minister Ley says the new figures back the Abbott Government’s decision to set up a Primary Health Care Advisory Group, which is travelling the country over the next three weeks to discuss primary health care reform.
She says the Abbott Government is committed to reforming primary health care with the release last week of an options discussion paper ‘Better outcomes for people living with Chronic and Complex Health Conditions through Primary Health Care’. Australians can comment on the discussion paper and supporting documents or fill out the consultation survey at the Department of Health’s website.
“As our population ages, we know that the prevention and treatment of chronic disease is an increasing challenge for the health system and Australians generally,” Ms Ley says.
“The Abbott Government is committed to engaging with health professionals and patients to reform the way we treat people with chronic and complex conditions.
“It is concerning these stats show not only do half of all Australians have a chronic disease but one-in-five have at least two of the most common eight chronic diseases including diabetes, cardio-vascular disease and mental health conditions.”
Ms Ley says the discussion paper considers possible reform options which will inform the government’s development of a healthier Medicare to keep people out of hospital longer.
“We are committed to finding better ways to care for people with chronic and complex conditions and ensure they receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time,” Ms Ley says.
Ms Ley says the Primary Health Care Advisory Group, led by former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton, has developed the discussion paper and will hold public consultations across Australia over the next three weeks to finalise its recommendations to Government.
“I encourage all Australians including patients, health professionals and interested parties to look at the options included in the discussion paper and provide their feedback as we work hand-in-hand to deliver a primary health care system that better looks after Australians earlier,” she says.
Ms Ley says the Primary Health Care Advisory Group will seek further feedback through public consultations in Sydney, Western Sydney and Dubbo before moving on to Melbourne, Geelong, Hobart, Brisbane, Cairns, Rockhampton, Adelaide, Alice Springs, Darwin, Perth and Broome.