The verdict is in: Prevention is better than cure when it comes to tackling Australia’s chronic disease burden, but is Australia pulling its weight when it comes to tackling the nation’s greatest public health challenge?
A new economic report looking at what Australia invests in preventive health has found Australia ranks poorly on the world stage and has determined that governments must spend more wisely to contain the burgeoning healthcare budget.
One in two Australians suffer from chronic disease, which is responsible for 83 per cent of all premature deaths in Australia, and accounts for 66 per cent of the burden of disease.
This report was co-funded by the Heart Foundation, Kidney Australia, Alzheimer’s Australia, the Australia Health Promotion Association and the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education.
Produced by La Trobe University’s Department of Public Health, the report examines trends in preventive health spending, comparing Australia’s spending on preventive health, as well as the funding models used, against selected Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.
The report also explores the question: ‘how much should Australia be spending on preventive health?’
Treating chronic disease costs the Australian community an estimated $27 billion annually, accounting for more than a third of our national health budget.
Yet Australia currently spends just over $2 billion on preventive health each year, or around $89 per person. At just 1.34 per cent of Australian healthcare expenditure, the amount is considerably less than OECD countries Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, with Australia ranked 16th out of 31 OECD countries by per capita expenditure.