Letter to Editor (Financial Review): ASMI calls on both sides of politics to intergrate self care into policy platforms

27 August 2013

Return to Media Release Index

27 August 2013

Letter to the Editor
The Financial Review
Melbourne VIC 3001
Email: edletters@afr.com.au; afreditor@afr.com.au


Dear Editor,

Just 11 days out from the Federal Election, Stephen Duckett's opinion piece in today's Financial Reviewi highlighted the urgent need to "stop the waste" in Australia's health system so that it can meet the challenges of an ageing population and rising chronic disease.

The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) couldn't agree more.

A model of integrated healthcare that brings together different types of care, with the patient in the centre, is an absolute must. Currently the core approaches of the main political parties towards health continue to focus on a treatment model, however, our ongoing discussions with policy makers on how to move towards a preventative model seems to be gaining traction.

Self care has a vital role to play in driving better healthcare outcomes for Australians and preparing for a more sustainable healthcare system, both now and in the future.
Self care involves individuals taking greater responsibility for their health and wellbeing through practices such as appropriate use of medicines, increased health literacy, diet and exercise. At its core is a shift from 'cure' to prevention.

Under such a model the emphasis is on the individual in partnership with healthcare professionals (GPs, pharmacists, naturopaths, dieticians and others) - the "integrated healthcare model" that Stephen spoke of.

ASMI believes supporting individuals to be more active and engaged in managing their own health is an important dimension to building a more sustainable Australia's healthcare system for the future. Expanding self care will be the key driver to promote this shift in behaviour.

We call on both sides of politics to formally integrate the expansion of self care into their policy platforms.

Achieving reform in this area will clearly entail actions across the broad healthcare spectrum, and all stakeholders will need to play a part.

As a first step, ASMI advocates a Self Care Alliance to bring together existing stakeholders engaged in the delivery of healthcare as an authoritative source of information on the issue of self care, and the way in which it can help people better look after themselves and engage with their health. This does not entail Government expenditure but a willingness to engage and to consider new ways of working as a precursor to driving reforms in this area.

Yours sincerely

Dr Deon Schoombie
Executive Director
Australian Self Medication Industry

About ASMI: The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) is the peak industry body for the Australian self care industry representing consumer healthcare products including over-the-counter medicines and complementary medicines. ASMI's mission is to promote better health through responsible self-care. This means ensuring that safe and effective self-care products are readily available to all Australians at a reasonable cost. ASMI works to encourage responsible use by consumers and an increasing role for cost-effective self-medication products as part of the broad national health strategy. www.asmi.com.au

i Stephen Duckett. 'Health policies avoid the vital issues' Financial Review 27 August 2013