Investment in health surveys, mental health and prevention money well spent

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

‘The $90 million Intergenerational Health and Mental Health Study announced today by Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, is a great boost to reforming our health system for better value and affordability for patients and for the nation’, said Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven.

The Study will include four surveys over three years covering mental health and wellbeing; people’s health characteristics and chronic health conditions; nutrition and physical activity; and various health measures involving the collection of voluntary blood and urine samples.

‘In March 2018 we said publicly that if we wanted Australians to have the best possible health system then we need better data in order to make better decisions in healthcare.

‘We called for commitment to a national health survey, similar to the excellent Australian Health Survey last conducted in 2011–2013.

‘It is very pleasing that the Government has listened and has committed the necessary funds to achieve this.

‘It is also pleasing to see mental health, and nutrition and physical activity added in to the characteristics being surveyed. As noted by the Minister it has been several years since these areas were surveyed comprehensively.

‘All these data will provide up-to-date valuable intelligence to address the burden of chronic disease through providing better targeted and better value healthcare.

‘Up until this point we had started to fall behind other developed nations in the health information we regularly collect and use in health policy and planning.

‘We trust that the Government’s long-term national health plan announced today includes repeating the four surveys in the Intergenerational Health Study every three to six years as appropriate.

‘Repeating the survey regularly would provide data that tracks changes in health needs and risk factors to provide better targeting of healthcare and health interventions, and improve efficiency in healthcare spending’, Ms Verhoeven said.

‘AHHA also particularly welcomes today’s announcements on a Children’s Mental Health Strategy with a target of zero suicides, a 10-year Preventive Health Strategy incorporating a national obesity strategy, and reforms in primary health care, including a patient enrolment payment model rather than fee-for-service for people over 70 with chronic and complex conditions.

‘We hope the latter will in time be extended to cover people of all ages with chronic and complex conditions. We believe it will result in better quality and value care rewarded according to patient outcomes rather than occasions of service.’

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association is the national peak body for public and not-for-profit hospitals, and community and primary healthcare services.

Media enquiries:  Alison Verhoeven

Chief Executive, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association

0403 282 501