As recently mentioned, there will be a health focus to a workshop on climate change in Melbourne this weekend that is being put on by the Green Institute. One of the speakers is Senator Richard Di Natale, the Greens health spokesperson, who writes below that we need to focus more on the underlying causes of poor health. On related themes, don’t miss this New York Times article which profiles an organisation working on the social causes of poor healt. Health Leads trains about 1000 volunteers each year to staff resource desks in the waiting rooms of hospital clinics or health centers in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York, Providence, R.I., and Washington. At these sites, doctors now regularly “prescribe” a wide range of basic resources — like food assistance, housing improvements, or heating fuel subsidies — which the Health Leads volunteers “fill”, by applying their problem solving skills to identify resources anywhere they may be available. Health Leads was co-founded by a Harvard University student, Rebecca Onie, in 1996 and up until a year ago, she thought that the organisation’s biggest obstacle would be getting doctors to pay attention to patients’ social needs. But the organisation now gets so many referrals from doctors that it has waiting lists. According to the report, Health Leads offers a model of how to develop a workforce to systematically address the social causes of illness The real crisis in health
Not many people give up a career in medicine to become a politician. However, I still have the same goal: the good health of Australians. Australia’s health care system isn’t bad. We spend less on health care than many other countries, about 9% of GDP (less than half of that spent in the USA), but most of us get access to high quality care when we need it. But we are also one of the most hospitalised nations in the world, with more overnight beds per capita than any other OECD country. And even with the relatively high rate of hospitalisation, 60...
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