The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) have released a comprehensive survey of the nation’s overall health and health workforce: Australia’s Health 2012. The report is the thirteenth biennial health report of AIHW.
Key findings of the report to indicate that Australia is a healthy nation include:
- The life expectancy for Australian males is 79.3 years and 84 years for females – one of the highest overall life expectancies in the world.
- Australians have a positive feeling about the quality of their lives.
- Australia’s level of smoking continues to fall and is among the lowest of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.
- In June 2011, most children were fully immunised – 92 percent of one year olds, 93 percent of two year olds, and 90 percent of five year olds.
Key findings of the report to indicate some groups experience poorer health include:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people fare worse on a number of health measures such as life expectancy and access to and use of health services.
- Many aspects of health are related to how well-off people are financially – the more socially disadvantaged experience less healthy lifestyles and poorer health.
- The further people live away from major cities, the less healthy they are likely to be.
- Severe disability often carries an extra health burden.
Key findings of the report to indicate that there is room for improvement include:
- In 2007-08, almost all Australians aged 15 and over had at least one risk factor for poorer health, and about one in seven people had five or more risk factors.
- Australia has one of the highest rates of obesity. In 2007-08, one in four Australian adults and one in 12 children were obese.
- In 2010, 96 percent of babies were initially breastfed, but only 39 percent were exclusively breastfed to four months and 15 percent to six months.
- The prevalence of diabetes more than doubled between 1989-90 and 2007-08.
- The number of people on the organ transplant waiting list continues to exceed the number of available organs.
Key findings of the report to indicate that the health sector is busy:
- A standard day in the health sector includes 342,000 people visiting a general practitioner, 742,000 medicines being dispensed by community pharmacies, 23,000 people admitted to hospital, and 17,000 people presenting to an emergency department.
- There was a 51 percent increase in the number of palliative care hospitalisations between 2000-01 and 2009-10.
- The most commonly used medicines in Australia in 2010-11 were for reducing blood cholesterol, lowering stomach acid, lowering blood pressure, and antibiotics.
Key findings of the report to indicate increased health spending and an expanding health workforce include:
- Australia spent $121.4 billion on health in 2009-10.
- Hospitals were the biggest area of health spending.
- Cardiovascular diseases accounted for the greatest spending, $7.9 billion.
- In 2010 there were more than three-quarters of a million workers in health occupations.
- Despite the increased amount of health workers, there are many health professions that are experiencing shortages such as midwifery and physiotherapy.
To read Australia’s Health 2012 in full, please see: http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737422172