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Australian Journal of Pharmacy : November 2006
news be prevented. About 90 per cent of type 2 diabetes was preventable. More than 50 per cent of cardiovascular disease was preventable and about 50 per cent of can- cers were preventable. She said that the Organisation for Eco- nomic Co-operation and Development (OECD) had also estimated that 50 per cent of premature deaths arise from pre- ventable behaviours like smoking and drinking. ‘But public health investment repre- sents only 1.7 per cent of recurrent expen- diture. We spend $987m preventing dis- ease and illnesses, but spend more than 58 times that treating disease and illness,’ Ms Gillard said. ‘There are two main ways to beat chronic disease and both feature in a key role for a Federal Government that wants to show health leadership. ‘First, as a nation, we should be aiming to prevent chronic disease. This could be done by adequately resourcing and devel- oping the population health measures necessary to ensure individuals have the information and support needed to adopt health diet and appropriate exercise.’ According to Ms Gillard, the last 30 years had seen dramatically improved health outcomes in the areas of coronary disease and smoking-related cancer. And, in budget terms, lower tobacco consump- tion had delivered benefits valued at $8.4bn for a modest investment of $176m. She emphasised that we now faced new challenges, particularly in the area of lifestyle and obesity-related disease. ‘Faced with this looming burden of dis- ease it’s not good enough for the Federal Health Minister, Tony Abbott, to bury his head in the sand’. news Added to that, the second thing a fed- eral government could do was structure the health system to ensure that individu- als did not just go to the doctor when they felt ill, but had appropriate ongoing con- tact to manage their health, identify and address risk factors. ‘Such a relationship would allow a patient to be appropriately screened to facilitate the earliest possible diagnosis of potential problems. It would put “well- ness” at the forefront of the doctor– patient relationship, rather than the cur- rent fee for service focus on crisis man- agement. ‘We cannot leave our future ability to deliver healthcare—not to mention the other essential infrastructure required to make Australia a competitive, vibrant and cohesive society—to chance’ Ms Gillard said. ¦ THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY VOL 87 NOVEMBER 2006 ? 7