14 October 2021 - Deborah Wilkes
- Australian Self-Care Alliance launched
- Brings together range of health stakeholders
- Aims to promote self-care in health policy and practice
A new organisation called the Australian Self-Care Alliance has been set up to promote self-care in health policy and practice.
The Australian Self-Care Alliance brings together healthcare consumers, health promotion charities, policy experts and representatives of the self-care industry.
Chair John Bell, who is a community pharmacist, said the organisation was a coalition of health advocates, practitioners and experts who “agree that health and healthcare should be regarded as co-produced by health professionals with individuals and communities”.
Bell commented that “greater self-care is the missing piece of the puzzle”.
Policy priorities for the Alliance include developing a national health literacy strategy and establishing a national digital health information and resource library.
Commenting on the reasons for setting up the Alliance, Bell said: “There is good evidence that responsible self-care improves individual health outcomes and contributes towards creating a sustainable healthcare system.”
“However,” he added, “our current health and care services are geared to primarily engage individuals when they are already unwell with preventable conditions, rather than incentivising practice models that help people to be healthier and to avoid preventable health risks and conditions.”
Bell maintained that “encouraging individuals to take greater responsibility for health outcomes, in the context of a system structured to support greater self-care, could be a defining characteristic of Australia’s health and care systems, services, and supports”.
Reduce preventable health problems
Rosemary Calder, public health policy expert and adviser to the Alliance, said: “COVID-19 has clearly demonstrated how – by empowering individuals with an understanding of how to prevent illness or infection and engaging them as equal partners in their own health management – we can reduce preventable health problems.”
The Australian Self-Care Alliance said it would “support and promote the adoption of self-care and its implementation as a core element of all aspects of physical and mental health services and policies for Australia”.
Deon Schoombie, chief executive officer of Consumer Healthcare Products Australia, is a member of the Alliance’s board.
The launch of the Australian Self-Care Alliance comes a year after the Mitchell Institute for Education and Health Policy released its report on ‘Self-care for health: a national policy blueprint’.