Tuesday, 21 June 2016 15:18

Cost of preventable disease to dwarf Medicare

Cyclist in parklands. Cyclist in parklands.

Media release, 21 June, 2016

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has called for a national approach to tackling preventable lifestyle diseases in order to reduce Australia’s health care bill.

WSROC President Cllr Tony Hadchiti said despite ongoing debates about Australia’s rapidly rising health care costs, neither of our federal leaders have offered a strategy for treating the cause of this rise.

“Chronic disease is the single greatest burden on Australia’s healthcare system, and it is particularly prevalent in Western Sydney,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“Diabetes alone costs Australia as much as $14.6 billion each year according to the Department of Health[1].

“This figure is expected to reach $30 billion by 2025 – dwarfing the cost of the current Medicare system which will cost the taxpayer $23.6 billion in 2016/2017[2],” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“While our leaders argue about whether or not we can afford Medicare, there seems to be no discussion around how we can reduce the public health bill by improving Australia’s wellbeing.

“There are many pressures on our health system, but lifestyle-related illness is unique in that it is largely preventable,” he said.

“In terms of potential savings, preventable lifestyle disease is where we can both improve the lives of individuals, take pressure off our hospitals, and free up billions of dollars for the betterment of our health system,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“WSROC is calling on our federal leaders to outline a comprehensive, fully-funded strategy to address the rise in chronic disease in Australia and particularly Western Sydney,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“This strategy must encompass more than just hospitals. Many of the factors influencing an individual’s lifestyle choices lay well outside the health sector.

“Factors such as access to fresh affordable food, reliable public transport, the length of time spent commuting to and from work; and access to safe and attractive green spaces all impact on an individual’s lifestyle choices,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“It is no co-incidence that Western Sydney is a hotspot preventable diseases[3]. Our residents spend much longer commuting, have less time to exercise before and after work, have fewer active transport options, and lower access to supermarkets and green grocers,” he said.

“We need federal leadership to address the epidemic of lifestyle-related disease, simply because there must be coordination between all levels and sectors of government.

“Investment in active living infrastructure such as walking and cycling paths, local parks and public transport; better access to healthy food options for all communities[4]; as well as better health education in our schools and at-risk communities are all initiatives that require a multi-sector approach,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“Getting Australia’s health back on track will be a challenge, but the rewards will be well worth it, for individuals, for our health system, and for the budget,” he said.

[ENDS]

Media contact: Kelly-Anne Gee, 02 9671 4333 (ext. 118), 0425 871 868 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  


[3] Western Sydney residents are two to three times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than their Eastern counterparts.

 

Last modified on Friday, 24 June 2016 17:13

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