The Australian Healthcare System – why we are in crisis


The Australian healthcare system is in crisis. Chronic disease is on the rise and consequently, our system has become a disease management system.  As chronic disease rises so do the costs, costs effecting each of us on a personal, community and financial level. Experts are stating that we will not be able to afford it, that the direction we are heading is unsustainable.

What is the system dealing with?

Heart disease is the number one killer in the western world. Cancer is the number two killer. One in two men and one in three women will contract cancer in their lifetime. One in four people will die of cancer. Allowing for the aging of the population, cancer rates have increased by 25% since the “war on cancer” was declared in 1975.

Auto-immune diseases are the third biggest killer and the list of conditions seems to grow by the day. Diabetes and obesity are at epidemic proportions.

Listen: Dr. Ron Ehrlich interviews Dr. James Muecke. Post continues after audio.

The cost of managing all this disease is rising. In 2003-04 total expenditure on health was $95 billion (after adjusting for inflation). It is estimated that in 2013-14 total expenditure was $155 billion.

Consequently, there has never been a more urgent need for us to focus both personally and professionally on health and wellness.

Listen: Dr. Ron Ehrlich interviews Tania de Jong. Post continues after audio.

What can we do?

As a dentist, I believe that oral health practitioners are perfectly placed to fulfil that role. As gatekeepers to the respiratory system and the digestive tract we directly affect and monitor our patients’ ability to breathe well, sleep well and eat well.

I also believe that each and everyone of us has the ability to take control of our health. Over the next few months I’ll be sharing practical and simple tips on this blog for doing just that, so stay tuned. While the state of our healthcare system can seem at times helpless and a lost cause, I believe it is the biggest motivation we have to make changes at the grassroots level.

Taking control of our health is something I’m passionate about and has lead me to write my first book, A Life Less Stressed