Health groups welcome National Preventive Health Strategy
13 December 2021
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The National Preventive Health Strategy was released today, after more than two years of consultation and input from health professionals, communities and individuals around Australia.
The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (ACDPA) welcomed the release of the National Preventive Health Strategy and particularly its targets and aims to increase spending on prevention and reduce chronic disease risk factors by 2030.
Sharon McGowan, ACDPA Chair and member of the Expert Reference Group for the National Preventive Health Strategy noted the collaborative approach to develop the Strategy.
“There are millions of Australians affected by chronic conditions and, at every opportunity, ACDPA has provided input to highlight the enormous burden of chronic disease and the urgent need to invest in the long-term health and wellbeing of Australians.
“We strongly support the Strategy's Aim to increase investment in prevention to 5% of the health budget by 2030 and we urge Federal, State and Territory governments to commit to this , recognising the return on investment associated with preventive health interventions.”
National and international modelling supports the cost-effectiveness and feasibility of many prevention interventions. For every $1 invested in prevention, there would be an expected return on investment of $14 in Australia.
ACDPA is calling for the Government to build on the momentum generated by the Strategy’s release and commit to developing the Blueprint for Action in the next year with funding for implementation.
Ms McGowan highlighted that the Blueprint for Action will need to include detail around how the Strategy will be implemented, particularly with regard to increasing risk assessment and early detection of chronic conditions.
“The Strategy provides solid targets for action to reduce risk factors and increase cancer screening. The Blueprint for Action will need to build on these targets and provide detail to support broader commitments around risk assessment and early detection of other chronic conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and kidney disease.”
Ms McGowan reflected that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the chronic disease community, through changes in access to care, delayed screening and health checks, increases in risk factors like unhealthy diets, and the ongoing effects of long-COVID.
“With chronic conditions affecting one in two Australians and accounting for half of all hospitalisations, the National Preventive Health Strategy marks an important step forward to prevent chronic disease.
“We need strong commitments, targets and funding to counter the effects of COVID-19 and we look forward to opportunities to inform the Blueprint for Action to achieve meaningful change in shifting the health system towards prevention.”
The National Preventive Health Strategy is available from the Department of Health website.