Calls for a National Health Charter

Wednesday 18 February, 2009

A paper by Professor Brian Oldenburg, Research Director, Australian Institute of Health Policy Studies and Todd Harper, Chief Executive Officer, VicHealth, has called for a National Health Charter.

The paper aims to further stimulate discussion in this important area, setting out the prospects, the evidence and the challenges for health promotion and providing effective, alternative models to tap the potential of health promotion. It proposes a framework, in the form of a National Charter for Health, to guide, inform and evaluate efforts to improve the health of all Australians.

The National Charter for Health would set targets for improving Australians' health and form the work plan of a National Health Promotion Agency, as well as State and Commonwealth Governments.

We have seen significant developments in the national prevention platform of late.

In recent months, the National Preventative Health Taskforce, the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, State and Federal governments and the Council of Australian Governments have all released plans, position and discussion papers to chart the course of health promotion and disease prevention in Australia.

There seems to be renewed optimism for a strengthened, systemic, and far-sighted approach to health promotion.

With an ageing population, health inequalities, a challenging productivity environment and continuing health pressures there has never been a better time to consider a new vision for achieving better health in Australia.