Lifestyle diseases are set to fuel spiralling cost rises in the health care system over the next 40 years – so Australia needs to reorient our approach towards preventing them, says ASMI executive director, Dr Deon Schoombie.
“The Intergenerational Report reinforces the need for the Federal Government to put in place policy settings that encourage self-care, where consumers are more engaged in managing their health, whether preventing disease, treating symptoms, managing chronic conditions or enhancing their well-being,” Dr Schoombie says.
“It also highlights the need for the health system to support consumers to take more responsibility for managing minor conditions and chronic illnesses in partnership with health professionals rather than being passive recipients of healthcare.
“Self-care requires informed consumers; the expertise of GPs, pharmacists and other healthcare practitioners; the supply by industry of evidence based-products; government to facilitate a regulatory environment conducive to self-care, and private health insurers to create incentives that will encourage self-care behaviour.
“In Australia, the newly formed Self Care Alliance is advising governments on ways to increase the prominence of self-care in national healthcare policy.
“Government must make self-care integral to health policy, with stakeholders working to develop affordable, practical and sustainable solutions. These should include greater investment in health promotion and disease prevention,” says Dr Schoombie.
The IGR states that Commonwealth health expenditure is projected to increase from 4.2 % of GDP in 2014–15 to 5.5% of GDP in 2054–55 under the Federal Government’s ‘proposed policy’ scenario. In today’s dollars, health spending per person is projected to more than double from around $2,800 to around $6,500, says ASMI.