Half of Australians are suffering, can our healthcare system keep up? 35



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Statistics released today show that as many half of all Australians are living with a chronic illness.

More startling is the fact one in five are suffering from more than one chronic disease, such as diabetes, cardio-vascular disease or arthritis, with people aged over 44 more likely to fall into this category.

The eight chronic illnesses studied were arthritis, asthma, back problems, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and mental health conditions.

The data has been released as the former AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton sets off on a tour around the country preparing to advise the government on how to tackle Australia’s health burden.

Minister for Health Sussan Ley said the discussion paper prepared by the Primary Health Care Advisory Group would consider possible reform options which would inform the government’s development of a healthier Medicare to keep people out of hospital longer.

“As our population ages, we know that the prevention and treatment of chronic disease is an increasing challenge for the health system and Australians generally,” Ms Ley said.

“The Abbott Government is committed to engaging with health professionals and patients to reform the way we treat people with chronic and complex conditions.

“It is concerning these stats show not only do half of all Australians have a chronic disease but one-in-five have at least two of the most common eight chronic diseases including diabetes, cardio-vascular disease and mental health conditions.

“We are committed to finding better ways to care for people with chronic and complex conditions and ensure they receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time,” Ms Ley said.

Public health consultations will be held in Sydney, Western Sydney and Dubbo before moving on to Melbourne, Geelong, Hobart, Brisbane, Cairns, Rockhampton, Adelaide, Alice Springs, Darwin, Perth and Broome, so if you wish to take part, visit the Department of Health’s website.

Are you surprised to learn that as many as half of all Australians suffers from a chronic illness? What improvements would you like to see make to the healthcare system?


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Elderly – not required. If you don’t treat them with luck they die and not receive their pensions. Most of the elderly worked hard in their day. They were not treated with kid gloves. Now they are surplus to requirements. Too many dole bludgers and idiots on ice etc. They drain the welfare system.

    2 REPLY
    • Well sounds like you forget the world has changed we live longer and there are not jobs for people you think they should just starve.i am sick of people who want to dump every one in one group call them something nasty so it is ok to blame them. All we old people are not wanting to be mistreated so how about we all be a bit kinder to each other.

  2. I have one of these diseases but people don’t like to talk about it. I for the life of me cannot remember the last time I saw any publicity on what they are doing to fond a way to treat lung disease for any COPD illness. In this day and age, surely there must be something doctors can do. The WA burns doctor has come a long way with treatment for burns and I read where she is looking at lung treatment. Surely when you see how COPD affects the heart this should be a starting point. Just because there is a stigma to “smoking” diseases, doesn’t mean they should be ignored. chronic diseases are put in the too hard basket.

    4 REPLY
    • I was diagnosed several years ago with COPD. I gave up smoking almost 14 years ago and am able to exercise every day, usually walking but sometimes swimming.

    • Me too Helen, I also do weights. Lately though I have not been well and have noticed my oxygen levels are down a bit. It will take me months to get back to where I was. But even then, it does limit you.

    • I also find I am worse in the winter months than the summer, but I use a puffer when I am not feeling as well as I could be and that does help.

  3. No not at all surprised, I like many have 3 of the 8 chronic illness’s and I’m in constant pain all day everyday, however because you are aware there is really not a great deal you can do to relieve the pain, you continue to just push through the pain as best you can to live your life to the best of your ability because pain is INVISIBLE people who don’t live with chronic pain DON’T understand just how debilitating it is to you.

  4. No I am not surprised, you pick up a bit when you come in here 🙂 its not just my friends and myself who have chronic disease, it seems to be a large part of the older population. I am no expert at all but it seems to me to go hand in hand with ageing

  5. This is not surprising. There needs to be more spending on having qualified specialists and employing more nurses

  6. When our gov is not concerned with carbon in our atmosphere, cut funding to our scientists & SCIRO who research our diseases & cures, certainly doesn’t help citizens.

  7. I think LIBBI, we are a product of an era. There is way more known about these chronic diseases now, than when we were younger and as they say “prevention is better than cure “. We didn’t know enough in most cases for prevention, that’s why it seems age related. I think we need to keep trying to make them not forget these diseases are killing us in the thousands, regardless of age.

    6 REPLY
    • I am no expert at all Fran but I look at how sick you are right down there in Tassie 🙂 and I have not been well myself and I read the posts of others here and it seems like it is one of 2 things, we either have an epidemic of chronic disease or it occurs naturally as we age 🙂 hope your feeling a little better today sweetie, you have had a very bad time of things

    • I realize that Helen but Fran has just had a hip replacement and she has had complications, even the simplest of things you say in here, someone always find fault with 🙂

    • No you don’t get better, but if you get a great physiologist and do the right things, you can manage it better. Having said that, if you get sick for any reason, you struggle. And some doctors tend to dismiss your disease like there is nothing you can .do about it. I was really sick after an op and they did a lung scan. The doctor said, and I quote, “nothing showed up on the scan. Oh the signs of your smoking were there, but that’s all.” This doctor didn’t know me and just brushed it off. When I said not being able to get out of bed was hindering my breathing, I was told that was to be expected with my condition but shown no concern or respect at all. Like it was my fault, so deal with it.

  8. Thank you girls. The chronic disease thing hopefully won’t happen as much to coming generations as we learn more on how to prevent it, but if research is forgotten or put aside, the next and the next generation will still get these ad they age. The one thing I have learned from all this is that the health system leaves a lot to be desired. And people need to he made aware of how dangerous all these diseases are, chronic or not.

  9. No I am nor surprised particularly in Rural Victoria where services have been cut drastically and we all have to travel over 3 hours for specialist treatment Some cannot afford the travel and accommodation oh yes you can claim it back but have to wait over 8 to 12 weeks for refund if you have to travel every week it’s not affordable Radiation therapy is worse having to stay a whole week if your on a pension it’s impossible Healthcare in Rural Vic is too expensive to follow up not enough Doctors hospitals closing The stress factor is huge

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