The Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP) says sustainability, prevention and equity must be key pillars of the healthcare system to ensure it is future-proofed.
In the run-up to Australia’s general election, it published a statement advocating on behalf of its 25,000 members across Australia and New Zealand for what it called “the virtuous circle” based on these pillars and outlining how it could be achieved.
Sustainability, it said, did not only refer to meeting the healthcare challenges climate change would bring, but it used the term in the broader sense of being sufficiently prepared to deliver high value services and deal with emerging cost and capacity pressures arising from the increasing needs of the Australian population, particularly those with multiple chronic conditions.
To ensure sustainability, it called on the incoming government to
- facilitate scalable evidence-based care for people with chronic conditions that is inclusive of specialist care
- extend the availability and effectiveness of digital health and telehealth to support more equitable access to specialist care
- tackle climate change.
Reconfiguring health services, including better communication and interaction between practitioners across primary, secondary and tertiary sectors, would make the best use of existing resources and mean more funding was available for preventative health as well as managing acute conditions, it said.
To ensure prevention, it recommended the re-establishment of a national preventative health body and called on the incoming government to
- prioritise obesity prevention and treatment
- reduce harmful alcohol consumption.
With regard to the third key pillar of its “virtuous circle”, equity, the RACP called on the incoming government to
- prioritise early childhood health
- address inequitable access to specialists, especially for indigenous populations
- improve sexual health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
- improve indigenous child health outcomes
- address inequities in sexual health
The full statement can be seen here.