Prevention is better than cure.

This is common sense. It is also cheaper, and this makes it important because our medical systems are becoming unaffordable. Especially as our populations age we will have more chronic health problems to deal with – and this can be expensive.

A new think tank in Australia has taken on the challenge of thinking through what it would mean to put the emphasis in health on primary health. They are the Centre For Policy Development (please note Australian spelling of “centre”). This is their web address: http://cpd.org.au/. Their interests go beyond health to public policy in general. The whole proposal is 28 pages long so I can’t summarise it here. It is available as a downloadable PDF: http://cpd.org.au/sites/cpd/files/u2/A__new_approach_to_primary_care-CPDJune07.pdf. They want you to join, but this is free and you can always unsubscribe as soon as you’ve downloaded the PDF, so no problem.

Their basic proposal is:

  • to shift health care from being focussed on hospitals to being delivered through more local health care centres, focussed on primary health care – about one centre per 100,000 people. This would save money not only by shifting the emphasis to prevention but also by avoiding the duplication of services (a huge cost under the current system).

This seems to me to be a very exciting proposal indeed.

  • It is big enough to get attention and the benefits are big enough to be attention grabbing.

I guess the big problem will be the politics – how to avoid those with a big investment in the current system sabotaging the whole idea. I think it is a hugely worthwhile proposal well deserving of support – even if we just leave complimentary comments on their site.

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