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POLICY NEWS – JUNE 2017

This month’s Policy News has a focus on social media, preventive health and climate change.

MBS Taskforce consultation

The MBS Taskforce is seeking comments on after-hours MBS items.

Consultations close 21 July.

You can access the online survey here: http://www.mbsreview.com.au/after-hours.html

Sensis Social Media Report 2017

For those with an interest in social media, this report makes great reading.

Some highlights include:

So there you have it! All that latest stats on social media usage.

For more, find the report here: https://www.sensis.com.au/

#StatusOfMind – the effects of social media on young people

A report entitled #StatusOfMind reported the results of a survey in the UK that looked at the positive and negative effects of social media on young people.

The survey asked 1,500 youths to rate each platform on a set of 14 health and well-being related issues as follows:

  1. Awareness and understanding of other people’s health experiences
  2. Access to expert health information you know you can trust
  3. Emotional support (empathy and compassion from family and friends)
  4. Anxiety (feelings of worry, nervousness or unease)
  5. Depression (feeling extremely low and unhappy)
  6. Loneliness (feelings of being all on your own)
  7. Sleep (quality and amount of sleep)
  8. Self-expression (the expression of your feelings, thoughts or ideas)
  9. Self-identity (ability to define who you are)
  10. Body image (how you feel about how you look)
  11. Real world relationships (maintaining relationships with other people)
  12. Community building (feeling part of a community of like-minded people)
  13. Bullying (threatening or abusive behaviour towards you)
  14. FoMO (Fear Of Missing Out – feeling you need to stay connected because you are worried things could be happening without you)

The platforms came out as follows:

  1. YouTube (most positive)
  2. Twitter
  3. Facebook
  4. Snapchat
  5. Instagram (most negative)

If you suffer from FoMO, read the full report here:

https://www.rsph.org.uk/our-work/policy/social-media-and-young-people-s-mental-health-and-wellbeing.html

GP bread and butter – preventive health

A recent report shows that Australia compares very poorly with OECD countries like Canada, NZ and the UK regarding health spend on prevention.

The numbers say it all: the annual cost of treating chronic disease in Australia is around $27b and yet we spend just over $2b a year on prevention.

More numbers? Chronic disease accounts for 66% of the burden of disease and 83% of all premature deaths. Half the population suffers from a chronic disease.

The report argues for more spending on preventive health based on cost-effectiveness and notes that the choice of funding mechanism for preventive health activities seems to be based on history rather than efficacy.

Was there ever a better case for evidence-based policy than preventive health?

Singing to the choir here but if you’re interested and want to read more, the report can be found here:

http://fare.org.au/2017/06/preventive-health-how-much-does-australia-spend-and-is-it-enough/

National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-Being for Australia

This framework was the result of a long process of consultation with key Australian health stakeholders.

The outcome is support for the Commonwealth Government to protect the health and well-being of Australian communities from the effects of climate change.

The framework recognizes that many of the determinants of health and well-being lie outside the health portfolio.

The vision is one of “ a fair and environmentally sustainable national policy framework that recognizes, manages and addresses the health risks of climate change and promotes health through climate change action” (p6).

The findings of the consultation were grouped under 4 themes:

The framework cites some startling stats including:

The framework outlines 7 areas of policy action including:

Key policy recommendations include:

We’ll follow this one but read the strategy and related documents here:

http://www.caha.org.au/national-strategy-climate-health-wellbeing