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Health Policy Assignment Promoting National Preventive Health Strategy


This health policy assignment has a focus on preparing your policy arguments using the evidence available to you. At any one time there are a number of draft government policy papers often termed discussion papers that are available for public consultation. Choose ONE policy consultation as the focus for this assignment. Your task will be to prepare a response/submission to the draft policy/discussion paper.


It is stated herein health policy assignment that a basic goal of every healthcare system is to prevent disease and minimise illness so that people can live as long as possible in good health. Reducing the effects of preventable disease, impairment, and injury raises labour force and educational participation rates, as well as the individual and societal quality of life. In Australia, health promotion activities have long played a role in improving people's health. This report will reflect upon the National Preventive Health Strategy and its value on maintaining health for Australians. The strengths and weaknesses of the draft policy will be discussed in this report, followed by the recommendations and possible outcomes expected from the policy.

National Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030
From pre-birth to older years, there is enormous value in being strong and maintaining health for all Australians. However, health and happiness aren't solely determined by the existence or absence of sickness or injury. In a broader sense, health is a state of physical, emotional, and social well-being, which includes social well-being for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people groups and other communities. During the pandemic, the Australian health system had to adapt rapidly, and all levels of government reacted by implementing a range of institutional changes. The Australian government achieved this by expanding telehealth and creating GP-led respiratory clinics to avoid overcrowding in acute care settings. Hand washing, physical distance, and self-isolation when sick was quickly ingrained in Australians' daily routines (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2019). To protect Australians' lives, the pandemic necessitated a massive public health response, and key lessons learned will continue to affect our health system in the coming decade.

It is a key pillar in Australia's long term national health plan. It is composed of experts from various public sectors, medical, nursing, allied health and consumer advocacy fields. The strategy provides a long-term approach to ensure the best outcomes for all Australians. The strategy aims to help Australians improve their health; the policy’s main focus is to address the broader causes of poor health and wellbeing.

The secret to creating a healthy Australia by 2030 is to take preventive health measures. Despite the fact that the majority of Australians have one of the world's longest life expectancies as a result of active and sustained preventive initiatives and a world-class health system, more people are living with and suffering from chronic disease than ever before. On average, Australians spend nearly eleven years, or about thirteen per cent of their lives, in poor health. The incidence of chronic diseases has risen over the last fifty years, with cancer, cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal problems, and mental and alcohol disorders accounting for the majority of the disease burden in Australia. However, it is projected that by reducing modifiable risk factors like overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, and the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, 38 per cent of this disease burden may be avoided (Chew, et al., 2016).

When the incidence of illness and disease rises, so does the strain on our healthcare system. The National Preventive Health Strategy (this Strategy) aims to build a stronger and more sustainable prevention system by recognising the need for a coordinated response from all levels of government. This Strategy would increase the emphasis on prevention not only within the existing health system but also in all sectors and industries that have a direct effect on Australians' health and well-being (Galea, 2020).

This strategy will ensure three things in Australia:

  1. They will create a safe environment for children that will help them in their healthy development providing the best care to start life.
  2. It will ensure that individuals are ageing well and adding health to their life as they grow old.
  3. It focuses on the groups that are experiencing poor health outcomes and helps them in addressing the inequity in health; help them in having greater improvements.

This Strategy lays out Australia's overarching, long-term preventive strategy, focusing on structural reform to achieve the best results for all Australians. It defines priority areas for the next ten years and outlines the primary accomplishments Australia should aim for by 2030 (Badland, et al., 2014).

Strengths and Weaknesses
The focus on the physical and mental health of the individuals works as a strength for the overall development. The strength of the policies could be that it is trying to achieve overall development for an individual by focusing on people's mental health as well as their physical health. Strengthening our mental health not only improves our overall well-being but also protects us from other health problems and lowers our risk of developing them. People who suffer from serious mental illness are three times more likely than the general population to develop diabetes and are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease (Smith & Herriot, 2017). Another strengthening point could be the surveillance and monitoring of preventive health outcomes. It can be a key point in enabling better preventive action for all Australians.

The weakness of this strategy can be that it cannot stop or lessen the use of alcohol and other drugs in Australian society. The effects of alcohol consumptions are generally underestimated and people may not understand that the quantity of alcohol they are using can be damaging their health. When it comes to alcohol and another drug usage, much of Australia's prevention efforts are focused on avoiding adoption and/or delaying first use, as well as preventing or minimising harm from use. This strategy is based on the fact that early-onset puts a person at high risk for complications now and in the future (Braveman, et al., 2011).

Recommendations and Possible Outcomes

  1. To minimize the gap between the plan and achieving the goals.
    The goal set by the Australian government is very commendable as they have included various sectors for the overall development of people. A framework of three elements is composed by the government to achieve its desired goals. This framework of action is structured by the government in the policy as well. The aspect of mobilising a prevention system is critical to achieving a long-term prevention system in Australia (AIHW, 2020).
  2. Focus on the prevention system's system enablers.
    Long-term changes in the target areas would be possible, as well as promote existing preventive health initiatives. The feature Boosting intervention in focus areas is made up of a variety of initial areas that have been prioritised in order to make early gains in reducing the population's overall burden. When new health problems emerge, the Framework allows for the identification and implementation of new priority areas. The factor continuing strong foundations acknowledges the massive preventive health action already being taken across Australia and recognises the value of not only continuing but also enhancing this action (Woodruffe, et al., 2015).
  3. The majority of Australians trust the medical advice and follow it.
    Many preventive health services provided across the health system are shown to be cost-effective. Supporting physicians to concentrate more on preventive and population health will also provide greater professional satisfaction, and reduce the dissatisfaction that many doctors experience in not being able to solve the root cause of many of the health issues they find among their patients. In primary health care, hospitals, and community health systems, there are resources to profoundly integrate prevention as part of routine health service delivery and implementation in the public healthcare system. With the new draft policy, the healthcare providers will be able to focus more on providing better healthcare as many parts of the government will be included in this policy (WHO, 2020).
  4. There is an opportunity to improve Australia's alcohol and other drugs prevention strategy.
    To change cultural norms for our younger generations, discourage and delay use, and minimise harms, there is a need for long-term, concerted, and evidence-based preventive action. Simultaneously, programmes to prevent harmful AOD use during life should be established. Through sustained and whole-of-government action coupled with community involvement and participation, a significant portion of this action must concentrate on addressing the determinants (individual, social, and structural) that contribute to AOD-related damage. Furthermore, interventions to improve health by focusing on the social and structural effects on risk and protective factors, as well as a greater sense of connectedness to schools and the community, are essential priorities (AIHW, 2019).

Relatable policies

  • Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan 2017–2022
  • The National Alcohol Strategy 2019-2028
  • National Immunisation Strategy for Australia 2019 to 2024

These policies can be recommended for future policy reviews and these can be used for future references as these three policies cover all the aspects of the National Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030 (CSDH, 2008).

National Preventive Health Strategy is a long term national health plan composed of various public sectors with a goal of achieving a healthy Australia by 2030. Australia has one of the highest life expectancies by active and sustained preventive initiatives. The strategy will ensure a safe environment for children, well-ageing for individuals and equity for poorly facilitated groups. The strengthening and weakening points for this strategy can be the strengthening of mental health and surveillance and monitoring of preventive health outcomes. And the weakness could be the usage of alcohol and drug usage by the people. To minimize the gap between the plan and achieving the goals Australian government is working with different sectors. A framework of action is structured to facilitate this policy. It will have long term changes and will promote existing preventive health initiatives.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2019. Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2015. Australian Burden of Disease series no. 19. Cat. no. BOD 22. Canberra: AIHW

AIHW 2019. Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2015. Australian Burden of Disease series no. 19. Cat. no. BOD 22. Canberra: AIHW

AIHW 2020. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander: Health Performance Framework 2002 summary report. Canberra: Australian Government. Available at: au/getmedia/f61f0a50-f749-4045-b58f-b2c358db2c6b/2020- summary-ihpf-2.pdf?ext=.pdf

Badland, H., Whitzman, C., Lowe, M., Davern, M., Aye, L., Butterworth, I., Hes, D. and Giles-Corti, B., 2014. Urban liveability: emerging lessons from Australia for exploring the potential for indicators to measure the social determinants of health. Social science & medicine, 111, pp.64-73.

Braveman P, Egerter S and Williams DR 2011. The social determinants of health: coming of age. Annual Review of Public Health 32:381–98

Chew, D.P., Scott, I.A., Cullen, L., French, J.K., Briffa, T.G., Tideman, P.A., Woodruffe, S., Kerr, A., Branagan, M. and Aylward, P.E., 2016. National Heart Foundation of Australia and Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand: Australian clinical guidelines for the management of acute coronary syndromes 2016. Medical Journal of Australia, 205(3), pp.128-133.

Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) 2008. Closing the gap in a generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Final report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Geneva: WHO

Galea S 2020. Compassion in a time of COVID-19. The Lancet 395(10241):1897-1898.

Smith, J.A. and Herriot, M., 2017. Positioning health promotion as a policy priority in Australia. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 28(1), pp.5-7.

Woodruffe, S., Neubeck, L., Clark, R.A., Gray, K., Ferry, C., Finan, J., Sanderson, S. and Briffa, T.G., 2015. Australian Cardiovascular Health and Rehabilitation Association (ACRA) core components of cardiovascular disease secondary prevention and cardiac rehabilitation 2014. Heart, Lung and Circulation, 24(5), pp.430-441.

World Health Organization (WHO) 2020. Constitution. Geneva: WHO. Available at


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