Better health for all: a policy conversation with The Hon. Catherine King MP

  • What are the priorities for Australia's health system in the next 5-10 years?
  • What do we need to do to make these happen?
  • How do we draw on our nation's strengths to have the biggest impact on health for all?

The George Institute Australia, has hosted a special in-depth conversation between The Hon. Catherine King MP, Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare, facilitated by Professor Vlado Perkovic, Executive Director of The George Institute Australia, on the future of healthcare in Australia. Over 150 stakeholders convened from across the healthcare sector to listen to Labour’s plan for a healthy Australia. In her remarks, Ms King focused on the importance of addressing the growing burden of chronic disease in Australia, primary care reform and health equity.

“Around 7 million Australians have a chronic condition,” said Ms King. “Nearly 90 per cent of premature deaths have chronic disease as an underlying cause. The cost to the health system is many billions of dollars. And prevention – as we all know – is the key to reducing much of that burden.”

“A strong primary care system which includes a focus on protection, health promotion, disease prevention and early detection of those at high risk is critical to addressing chronic disease. An older population with higher rates of chronic disease means Australians will need more care and different types of it.”

Health equity, research, obesity, mental health, consumer-centred healthcare, and health financing models such as Health Care Homes, were among the areas Ms King and Professor Perkovic explored as they discussed her long term vision and priorities for improving the health of all Australians.

“Long term sustainable reform is essential to transforming heath outcomes and to effectively tackle the epidemic of chronic disease facing our nation and the strain these are placing on our health system,” said Professor Perkovic.

“Policy conversations like this play an important role in ensuring the national health agenda is priority driven and garners input from consumers, health professionals, academia, industry and government,” he said. “Ms King’s emphasis on the role of prevention at the forefront of health policy is especially welcome as is her commitment to the Medical Research Future Fund.”

The George Institute is a regular convener of independent health policy forums with key policy makers to facilitate robust conversation on Australia's biggest health challenges and opportunities.