The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s Australia’s health 2016 report shows why Australia simply can’t afford this Government’s continued attacks on our health system.
While there are some positive trends – such as a life expectancy which is one of the highest in the world, and declined smoking rates and alcohol consumption – the report sends a clear message about future needs of our health system.
Chronic diseases are the leading cause of ill health and death in Australia, with the report revealing that in 2014–15, more than 11 million Australians had at least one chronic disease. A quarter of Australians are living with two or more chronic diseases.
There is a clear and persistent health inequality gap with people living in rural and remote areas, people living in the lowest socioeconomic areas, and people living with disability all having lower health outcomes.
This is also the case with Indigenous Australians, who have a lower life expectancy at birth than non-Indigenous Australians. The gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in 2010–2012 was around 10 years. Around 81 per cent of deaths among Indigenous people occurred before the age of 75, compared with 34% of deaths for non-Indigenous people during the period 2009–2013 and the rate for Indigenous Australians who died by intentional self-harm or suicide was more than double the rate for non-Indigenous Australians
Critically, the report warns that:
“An ageing population, increases in consumer expectations, more expensive technologies, and a growing burden of chronic conditions are among the factors driving an increased demand for services and rising health expenditure.”
With evidence such as this, it simply doesn’t make sense to be hacking at our health system, as this Government is doing.
This Government’s cuts will impact the sickest and most vulnerable and drive people from the GP and into the emergency room. People with chronic conditions who more frequently access blood tests, vital screening and medicines will be hit with soaring coasts.
As this report shows, Australia’s future relies on a strong health system and the last thing we can afford is this Government’s cuts.
WEDNESDAY, 14 SEPTEMBER 2016