Preventative health care in Australia

Typically in the UK, we are a nation of prescribing our way out of pain, without looking at ways of actually preventing problems in the first place. Australia are taking a fresh approach by launching the 'National Preventative Strategy 2021-2030' focusing on primary care and physical activity.

The initiative focuses on combining Physiotherapy and physical therapy, as these two areas help people of all ages prevent, manage and rehabilitate injury, illness or disability, and screen a range of preventative health conditions.

Poor levels of physical activity are key determinants of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, breast and colon cancer, mental heath conditions, experiencing falls and musculoskeletal conditions. $14 billion is spent on the treatment of health problems, with a heavy load placed on musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoarthritis and back pain.

It will be interesting to see how the programme develops as currently, it is estimated that a third of the disease burden in Australia could be prevented by reducing modifiable risk factors, such as obesity or physical activity. There is a strong emphasis on the importance of physiotherapy in prevention over the life cycle. The results of this campaign could offer useful insights into our healthcare system approach.