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New report shows impact of chronic disease.

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Nicola Roxon MP Shadow Minister for Health MEDIA RELEASE

New report shows impact of chronic disease

A new report today from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows how urgent the need to tackle chronic diseases is.

The report - Comorbidity of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease in Australia - found that: • An estimated 26% of adults have either cardiovascular disease (CVD) or diabetes. • 62% of deaths in 2004 were associated with at least one of these conditions.

• It is estimated that 60-70% of people with diabetes had at least one form of CVD • Concurrent conditions of two or three of these diseases were recorded as causes of death for 17,239 (13.2%) people who died in 2004.

• Among people in hospital with chronic kidney disease (not counting day-stay hospital admissions for dialysis) nearly 70% had at least one form of CVD recorded. • CVD contributed to about 76% of deaths among people with chronic kidney disease.

The number of people with multiple chronic conditions is expected to increase as the Australian population ages. As this number increases, more pressure will be placed on our health services - which the AIHW says includes “greater use of services, more visits to doctors, longer consultation times, more hospital admissions and longer stays.”

Labor has recognised the threat posed by chronic diseases to the health of Australians and to the sustainability of our health system.

Labor has put forward positive policy proposals to tackle these challenges.

Labor will: • Broaden the focus of the major health care agreement (AHCA) between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories beyond hospital funding to include prevention, primary care and aged care; • Develop a National Preventative Health Strategy to provide a blueprint for

tackling the burden of chronic disease; • Shift the focus from so-called “six minute medicine” in general practice by beginning a reform process to provide incentives for GPs to be able to spend longer with their patients; • Commission the Treasury to produce a series of definitive reports on the impact

of chronic disease on the Australian economy, and the economic benefits of a greater focus on prevention in health care; • Introduce Healthy Kids Checks for children starting primary school, to make sure our children are happy, healthy and ready to learn;

• Design and provide a Healthy Habits for Life guide, which will provide simple, easy-to-use information to help parents help their children to develop healthy habits. • Commit $260 million to closing the 17-year gap between Indigenous and non-

Indigenous life expectancy, including $187 million focusing on children’s health.

These threats to the health of Australians need action now. Labor is committed to long-term national solutions to the health challenges confronting our nation.

Thursday 9 August 2007. For information contact Sean Kelly 0417 108 362