Today marks 75 years since the establishment of the World Health Organization (WHO) and yet 30 per cent of the global population is still unable to access basic health services according to WHO’s data. This year on World Health Day, WHO has looked back to its founding principle to set the theme of Health for All.
Inequality continues to be the insurmountable barrier to universal health care. As the cost-of-living increases globally, and we watch on as health spending decreases, social determinants of health will compound.
Australian College of Nursing (ACN) Chief Executive Officer, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN, said as we struggle with the post-COVID economy, protecting universal health care needs to be the ultimate focus for policy makers in Australia.
“ACN is calling on state and federal governments to put universal health care at the heart of all social policy.
“Without a focus on primary care in the social policy space, we are guaranteeing future generations will have poorer health outcomes. We know that access to affordable, quality primary care in the early stages of a person’s life leads to better health outcomes throughout life.
“Two years ago ACN released a White Paper Reimagining the Community and Primary Health Care System, which I urge policy makers to read. The white paper outlines the current enablers and barriers to a more holistic, integrated, person-centred and value-based primary health care system, and provides key recommendations for policy change.
“Many Australian families are struggling with the cost of living, which disproportionately affects those already vulnerable and marginalised. The nursing profession is the interface between the health system and the public, which is why governments should listen when we are concerned. Nurses are the largest and most geographically dispersed clinician group. We are Australia’s solution to Health for All.
Enabling all nurses to work to their full training and scope would greatly improve access, equity and health disparity in Australia now and into the future.
Patients deserve this and nothing less, irrespective of their postcode, social or economic circumstances,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.
ACN policy documents relating to primary care:
- Reimagining the community and primary health care system
- The role of the nurse in the assessment and management of multimorbidity
- Person-centred care
- The role of nurses in chronic disease prevention and management in rural and remote areas
For more information on ACN policy and advocacy work, please visit our website.