What do you think our state's health priorities for the next five years, should be?

The Health and Wellbeing Strategy will provide a guide for positioning South Australia’s health system towards achieving the future we want for South Australians. Below is our vision and how we propose to acheive it.

VISION: South Australians experience the best health in Australia 

To achieve this we will:

  • Improve the health literacy of the population
  • Prevent chronic disease, communicable disease and injury, and exacerbation of established chronic disease
  • Partner with individuals, families and communities to enhance their health and wellbeing
  • Support individuals and their families through recovery
  • Create healthier neighbourhoods and communities
  • Respond when needed to manage acute conditions and injuries
  • Assist individuals and families to adapt to changes in their health and wellbeing overtime, including at end of life
  • Protect against public and environmental health risks and adapt to climate change
  • Ensure services are culturally appropriate.

Read the South Australian Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2019 - 2024 summary framework for consultation and consider the deliverable action areas in each goal.

Join the conversation below and help shape the new Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

Comments closed

Dean Philp

13 Apr 2019

The framework document does not appear to mention how wellbeing is connected to the sport and recreation strategy. Given the outdoors, movement and community aspects of theses two strategies they should be development in parallel. As another alarm bell: search the framework document for "movement", "exercise", "sport", "outdoors", "recreation", " fitness", "play", "social"... How many matches? One match (for exercise mentioned in passing). If we are going to develop a heath and wellbeing strategy, then we should consider the factors that promote wellbeing. We should create interconnected systems, places and communities with these factors in mind. This will help bring about health and wellbeing.

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Health and Wellbeing project team > Dean Philp

15 Apr 2019

Thanks for your feedback, Dean, we agree that they are fundamental to wellbeing and needs further commentary included in the strategy. It also links with http://sahealth.sa.gov.au/5WaystoWellbeing

Erica Gurner > Dean Philp

18 Apr 2019

I couldnt agree more. There is no attention to prevention strategies or to wellbeing which is the most influential factor on overall health. Ive worked 20 years in melbourne in health promotion and Im appalled by the clincial narrow thinking here in Adelaide in regard to these strategies. As a community mental health practitioner here in Adealide working in recovery and prevention this strategy offers nothing to me.

Carrie Adamo

12 Apr 2019

I find your FB graphic very middleclass Ango Australian. I live in Coober Pedy and have no such look here.
Just saying.

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Health and Wellbeing project team > Carrie Adamo

15 Apr 2019

Thanks for your feedback, Carrie, we take your point. SA Health is conscious to ensure that it provides services to all members of the community across all life stages in an inclusive and culturally appropriate manner.

Kevin Wisdom-Hill

12 Apr 2019

The longer the state refuses to genuinely engage and interface constructively with primary care the harder it will be to meet the health needs of our community. The last 4 years have been a wasted opportunity .....

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Health and Wellbeing project team > Kevin Wisdom-Hill

15 Apr 2019

Kevin, we agree it’s critical. We need integrated and coordinated patient care across the care continuum. The strategy aims to re-balance the health system to focus more on prevention and primary health care and out of hospital services.

Linh Doan

08 Apr 2019

We don’t want to see SA Pathology privatised. Other pathalogy providers are likely to send important tests interstate which does nothing for turnaround times. It is important to keep our laboratories serving South Australians not profit

Linh Doan

07 Apr 2019

SA Health needs to lobby the federal government for better funding for GPs. Most of the non goverment or primary health initiatives for management of mental health has arisen out of the lack of funding for longer consults with GPs. Whilst this is helpful, it is harmful for general practitioners to have their hands tied when dealing with complex issues that require emotional first aid which takes time, listening, empath and expert assessment. GPs ought to be funded for this work as the system actively encourages GPs to stop consultations at 10-15 minutes if they want to be adequately remunerated which is damaging for patients who are seeking empathy and validation. The First Do No Harm doctrine has been eroded over years of Medicare neglect. I realise local health networks seek to fill this gap but i urge politicians to consider the cost of the gap that might jave never arisen had Medicare been adequately funded to support changes in Medical practice and the reality that listening and counselling providing therapy and fulfilling adminstrative requirements and documentation triples the actual time required to care for patients. Not to mention additional training taken by private practitioners to stay abreast of new concepts in psychological care. Our consumers want expert and quality care at their first visit to the GPs. This is not supported in our current model and it hasn’t been for decades. The cost of outsourcing is disillusioned consumers, consumers who fail to reache secondary services and a failure to utilise a ready and willing primary care workforce that is compassionate and has a wealth of experience and trust with patients but simply cannot do its intended work without absorbing significant costs. Policy needs to support the backbone of primary healthcare which is GPs and recognise it as good value for early intervention that prevents patients from a merrygoround of services. Funding GPs may not be politically make headlines as much as funding for new mental health organisations but it is financially responsible and what our patients deserve when they present at their GP. Decades of eroding support for GPs hurts other areas of health too. The time not spent reassuring or explaining serious or even benign conditions creates stress on patients and time not spent providing motivational interviewing ti support self management in chronic disease is no preventative care at all. This needs to be recognised as a skill and time resource that GPs should and can be offering that is effective for producing health outcomes.

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Health and Wellbeing project team > Linh Doan

08 Apr 2019

Thanks for your comments Linh. We appreciate your dedication to high quality patient care and also acknowledge your frustration at the current Medicare model. Your comments highlight a significant challenge for our health system. Whilst primary health care is a Commonwealth Government responsibility, SA Health will continue to contribute regularly to Commonwealth led initiatives, plans and strategies with the aim of supporting better health outcomes for South Australians.

Leonie Johnston

05 Apr 2019

Yes, Christine, my endo (and Diabetes SA) are not up with the latest research so are unable to give the support they are supposed to be there for. It would be so good if someone, in a position to make a difference, actually stepped up and did something useful.

Geraldine Fuenmayor

01 Apr 2019

Despite the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that has indicated that having high-quality close relationships and feeling socially connected to the people in one's life is associated with a decreased risk for all-cause of mortality and a range of disease incidences and that the magnitud of these associations is comparable to many leading health determinants that receive significant public health resources, government agencies are not still recognising human social relationships as either a health determinant or a health risk marker in a manner that is comparable to other public health priorities. Recent news headlines have indicated that a significant portion of the Australian population feels lonely and socially disconnected, which places them at greater risk for premature mortality and underlaying morbidity and the degree of such risk is comparable to other well-accepted risk factor such as obesity or smoking. The South Australian Health and Wellbeing Strategy has no mention to this important issue. There is sufficient scientific evidence to support prioritising social connection in public health.

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Health and Wellbeing project team > Geraldine Fuenmayor

02 Apr 2019

Appreciate that feedback Geraldine. Wellbeing and the social determinants impacting health is a recurring and strong theme in the broader feedback received to date. Agree that if it is to be a Health and Wellbeing Strategy, then wellbeing must be a key focus of the final document.

Erica Gurner > Geraldine Fuenmayor

18 Apr 2019

I completely agree!!!

Judith de Lang

26 Mar 2019

Universal training in the effects of trauma, especially childhood trauma, and the use of trauma-informed approaches would contribute ...."to help address the underlying causes of ill health and create supportive environments" (p16) Recognising adversity as a major contributor to health outcomes is a political issue, there are decades-worth of relevant evidence to draw on. The spotlight seems to remain on medical responses despite the use of terms like 'health and wellbeing' and goals of 'reduced rates of preventable illness, injury and disability' (p20).
Early intervention programs need to be resourced in a way that makes a real difference to tertiary demand. Acknowledgement of 'priority populations' (p17), Mental Health (p18) and Domestic Violence (p19) shows some understanding of where we could make a difference.

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Health and Wellbeing project team > Judith de Lang

28 Mar 2019

Thanks Judith. Yes, if we’re really serious about tailoring care around each person then we must consider all the things that impact the person’s health and wellbeing e.g. trauma, relationships & family, lifestyle, education/literacy etc. It shouldn’t be someone else’s job to take an interest and care about the patient as a person, but part of the regular scope of practice for health and wellness related professionals.

Linh Doan > Judith de Lang

07 Apr 2019

I am a GP and welcome universal training around trauma. We need to recognise however that Medicare has been cut at the knees for decades and when i have attended trauma training i find there are few gps present and i know it is because they are diligantly fulfiling their financial responsibilities to their running of their private practices which are under significant strain. There is immense burden to juggle quality care with time resources amd Medicare does not recognise humanity or compassionate care beyond 5-10 minute consults. No wonder a generation of patients have felt slighted, a generation of allied health practitioners are disillusioned bu “the medical model”. Help GPs fix the Medical Model and support Medicare. Medicate hasn’t kept up with inflation let alone changed to reflect changing medical practices in a time when patients want and need explanation to support their independent choices in managing their own care. If we ask ourselves the root problem in lack of preventable illnesses it is that GP visits are not adequately remunerated for preventative care which requires 1.asking 2. Listening 3.assessment 4.planning 5.documentation of the other steps. This is time consuming and a 40 minute consult with 10 minutes documentation whilst produces meaningful outcomes for patients will leave a GP unremunerated and substantially less well off than if they have consulted 4 patients for lesser quality. Medicare is no longer fit for purpose. If preventative and compassionate and trauma informed catr cannot be supported in general practice, we have a broken system. No misdirected efforts to fix damage that has inadvertently been done by well-meaning GPs will come close to fixing the root cause of where the problem has arisen: Bring Medicare into the 21st century. Value the cornershop of health care so that it is abailable to everyone in an expert, quality and trained manner. Currently GPs spend their out of work ours unfunded often to attend costly training events. This is not a sustainable model for training GPs who already bear the brunt of keeping medical practices afloat with their meagre income. Most of our reception and nursing staff make compariyivley better wages for far less responsibility in order for us to provide community services. Decades of government have privatised GPs and shackled Medicare when it has needed to be elevated to 21st century care. We need to dispel the myth that GPs are well paid. The government has eroded “standard medical practice” by rewardin 5 minute medicine whilst comprehensive care is left to conscientious objectors within the medical community on a meagre wage. This is not what Australians deserve. It is the wool that had been pulled over the eyes of the Australian people when they can’t see what good health care looks like anymore: a medical model can be holistic, can prevent harm, provide early intervention if it hands are unshackled untied by bureacracy which has left it cut at the knees

Judith de Lang > Judith de Lang

17 Apr 2019

Thanks for this Linh, I agree.

Phillipa Holden

20 Mar 2019

Thanks for the opportunity to comment on this strategy and for your efforts to improve the services that you deliver.

I would like to draw attention to a critical issue. The impacts of radio frequency electro-magnetic radiation on people's health and well-being is not being adequately considered. There are thousands of peer reviewed scientific publications indicating that our increasing exposure is responsible for a swathe of ailments, however, there seems to be little awareness and understanding of this issue among the medical professionals I have tried to discuss it with. Of great concern is the current roll-out of 5G across the country WITH NO SAFETY TESTING, despite multiple warnings of the anticipated dire consequences from scientists and doctors. I would like to urge people to read https://www.5gspaceappeal.org/the-appeal and to conduct their own investigations into this issue.

Tied in with this is the adverse impact of wifi, particularly on children (whose skulls are thinner) and where it is used in schools. Better protection is needed and wired connections should be used at all times.

We are always looking for new cures for things, when addressing the known causes would seem to be a far more pragmatic and effective approach.

Thank you

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Health and Wellbeing project team > Phillipa Holden

21 Mar 2019

Thank you for raising your concerns Phillipa and also for your insight on the topic.

Undertaking even a brief internet search uncovers a multitude of conflicting views about the risks of wireless technology. Considering there are uncertainties about transparency re the evidence that is available, we all have a responsibility to be vigilant and questioning because of the rapidly increasing role of wireless technology in our daily lives, and in our business.

Guillaume Leroux

13 Mar 2019

I was greatly surprised to see the before last statement on environmental risks and climate change. On the other hand, reading the framework, I could not see any outcomes, KPI or actions on this topic. Adapting to climate change is important but we need to remember the health care system contributes to 10% of CO2 equivalent emissions in Australia (Malik & al 2018). It is a major contributor to the health issues associated with the impacts of climate change. Furthermore, many researches are now demonstrating it would be much cheaper to work toward climate mitigation than to work only on climate change adaptation in the aspect of burden of disease (CAHA 2017).

Climate And Health Alliance, National Consultation regarding a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia: FINAL CONSULTATION REPORT, 2017, CAHA: Victoria
Consultated at: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/caha/pages/27/attachments/original/1496018461/CAHA_Final_Consultation_Report_May_2017_FINAL.pdf?1496018461
Malik A, Lenzen M, McAlister S and McGain F, The carbon footprint of Australian health care, Lancet Planet Health 2018; 2: e27–35
Consulted at : https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanplh/PIIS2542-5196(17)30180-8.pdf

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Health and Wellbeing project team > Guillaume Leroux

14 Mar 2019

Your comments and insight on the topic are much appreciated Guillaume.
The Framework is intended to provide the background, rationale and principles for planning, but also introduces all of the issues and priorities that have been raised by health stakeholders in our consultation and workshops to date.
The final Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2019-2024 will be a more detailed document, it will consider all of the feedback (like yours) to confirm our priorities, issues and approaches that must be addressed over the next five years, and will identify specific deliverable actions.
See p29 of the Summary Framework, the section Enablers; this provides examples of potential deliverable action areas. The deliverable actions will not be limited to these example areas, but will be developed according to the feedback we receive and what people consider is most important.

Leonie Johnston

12 Mar 2019

The reason so many people are overweight, suffering from type 2 diabetes and a number of other chronic diseases is that our dietary guidelines and food pyramid have no scientific basis. Rather than stipulating a high carbohydrate, low fat diet for everyone (including diabetics who can't even process carbohydrates), a low carbohydrate, healthy fat lifestyle is proving to be a very beneficial option.
Providing training to doctors, endocrinologists, diabetic educators & nutritionists etc, so they are up with the latest research and equipped to support patients, would be a very good start to improving many people's poor state of health.
Australian Doctor, Peter Brukner, published a book last year, "A Fat Lot of Good", which gives a lot of disturbing and frustrating information on the topic ,as well as how individuals can reclaim their own health, rather waiting for Governments to be pro-active. Maybe South Australia could lead the way. Buy or borrow the book, have a read & check out the references and resources. It's an eye-opener!

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Health and Wellbeing project team > Leonie Johnston

13 Mar 2019

Thanks for the feedback and references Leonie, and agree that the emphasis on health promotion and the activities to enhance care and outcomes for patients and health consumers, particularly in the acute environment, is not adequate.

Christine Davis > Leonie Johnston

05 Apr 2019

I agree and the bland response from the team is a problem--I'd like you to say you'd read the suggested material and act on it. This new direction in understanding nutrition needs to be understood by all of the practitioners named. Recently I had a youngish endocrinologist tell me information about eggs in the diet that is acknowledged everywhere as 15-20 years out of date. Appalling.

Leonie Johnston > Leonie Johnston

05 Apr 2019

Yes Christine, my endo (andDiabetes SA) are not up with the latest research so are unable to give the support they are supposed to be there for. It would be so good if someone, in a position to make a difference, actually stepped up and did something useful.

Linh Doan > Leonie Johnston

07 Apr 2019

I am a GP that has been trying to provide consensu scientific information in written form to patients. Probably what patients find annoying is that scientists haave disagreements about the quality of research and how confidently they cam make recommendations in light of the inability to produce a “placebo” for dietary changes.

I would like to raise the issue that Medicare does not encourage doctors to ask about diet, exercise or make active questions to their patients about important preventative activities. Each time we recieve a reply or statement from our patients or make a recommendation we must document each thing that is said and then put a disclaimer on the fact that scientific reseach may change our opinions in years to come. This is time consuming. All doctors are aware that seeking 4-5-6 patients an hour is more remunerative than seeing 1-2 patients for comprehensive care. Any training that GPs do to remain up ti date is taken out of their own time and incurs private costs that medical practices almost never support as this is time away from a practising income. Whilst i as a consumer and a GP who is interested in evidence behind weight loss strategies and good health there needs to be acknowledgement that the funding has been missing for decades for the provisision of evidence based medicine in general practice. The funding is simply not there and instead our patients take it upon themselves to pay for integrative medicine practitioners of sometimes questionable accountability or training. General Practitioners are in good position to educate each other and collaborate with leaders in dietetics, endocrinology but there is no funding or leadership to enable this to occur to bring this to the consultation rooms in general practices locally. I implore people to spread the word: Medicare needs to change with Medicine and it hasn’t for decades. Fix the problem. Anything else is a bandaid.

Linh Doan > Leonie Johnston

07 Apr 2019

What is more is that Medicare actively audits and punishes gps if they fail to document counselling provided. Again this adds to the time and complexity of providing preventative health which ought to be routine and expert advice

George Larson

12 Mar 2019

Education is the main way to help people choose more healthy lifestyles. Also a tax on sugar, health warnings on certain foods, eg processed foods. MacDonalds and other similar fast food products should be made to have health warnings on their packaging and displayed in their shops eg ‘eating more than two serves of a Big Mac Per week may cause obesity’. If I had my way, all American fast food outlets would be banned in Australia.

Government Agency

Health and Wellbeing project team > George Larson

12 Mar 2019

Appreciate your comment George, and agree that focusing on preventable illness through education and health promotion is a key priority going forward.

peter roberts-thomson

12 Mar 2019

I have read the summary/ framework to the SA Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2019-2024.
I procceded to examine the segment on Enablers and was disappointed to find no mention of strategic plans for Pathology and Imaging. Surely this is a vital component of a sustainable and efficient health system particularly as personalised diagnostic medicine becomes increasingly important in keeping our population active and healthy.
Perhaps this absence may reflect the current crisis in Public Pathology in our state! Now is the opportunity to make amends for the current difficulties by considering and planning for these vital services for the next decade.
Respectfully your
Peter Roberts-Thomson

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Health and Wellbeing project team > peter roberts-thomson

12 Mar 2019

Thanks Peter, that's great feedback, and will help us in developing the enablers in a more comprehensive final strategy.