Health Fact Sheet 2 - Targeting the nation’s health priorities

New measures to improve the care of Australians with diabetes, asthma and mental health conditions are funded in the Budget, including $69 million for youth mental health.

Page last updated: 10 May 2005

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10 May 2005

Targeting the nation’s health priorities

New measures to improve the care of Australians with diabetes, asthma and mental health conditions are provided in the Budget - delivering on the government’s election commitment.

New funding of $34.0 million is being committed over five years for increased research and development in the treatment and prevention of diabetes. A further $27.1 million over four years has been confirmed to continue the current Asthma Management Program.

This year’s Budget reaffirms the Australian Government’s election commitment on mental health with both the continuation of the Better Outcomes in Mental Health Initiative at a cost of $102.2 million over four years from 2005-06, and new funding of $151.2 million over five years from 2004-05 for the following areas:
  • youth mental health ($69.0 million)
  • the National Depression Initiative ($39.6 million)
  • expansion of the Better Outcomes in Mental Health program ($42.6 million).

Promoting better mental health

Young people with mental health problems

Young people with mental health problems will benefit from the Australian Government’s $69.0 million election commitment to boost funding over the five years from 2004-05.

Three-quarters of all mental health problems begin before the age of 25.

This initiative will support the health care system in the detection, early intervention and management of young people with mental health problems, including those with complex mental health needs related to substance abuse.

National depression initiative: to expand and continue

Every year in Australia, more than 1 million adults and 100,000 young people experience depression. To help these people, the Australian Government has met its election commitment to provide new funding of $39.6 million over the five years from 2004-05, to expand the work of beyondblue, an organisation committed to raising awareness about depression.

The funding will support early intervention, encourage research and improve information about depression.

The funding will assist beyondblue to establish a national postnatal depression screening and follow-up program for new mothers. It will also help beyondblue to target workplace depression while continuing to provide a voice on care and treatment matters. These are priorities identified by beyondblue.

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Better outcomes in mental health care

GPs have been assisted with education and training to help them deliver quality care to patients with mental health problems through the Australian Government’s Better Outcomes in Mental Health Care Initiative.

This also has given patients access to allied health professional care.

Reaffirming the Australian Government’s commitment to the prevention and early intervention of mental illness in the community, $102.2 million has been provided over four years to 2008-09.

Additional funding will also be available through the Medicare Benefits Schedule for GPs to provide chronic disease management, including care plans and reviews for patients with mental health problems.

As part of the government’s election commitment, funding of $42.6 million is being provided over five years to assist GPs in managing patients with mental health problems - rewarding GPs for providing best practice, primary mental health care.

These funds will also provide a GP Psychiatric Support Service, so that GPs can seek advice from a psychiatrist via phone, fax or e-mail for patient care.

Preventing chronic disease

Diabetes sufferers: new hope through research

New funding of $32.0 million over five years from 2004-05 will establish an islet cell transplantation program in Australia, estimated to benefit the 95,000 Australians living with Type 1 diabetes, or juvenile diabetes. Islet cell transplantation has shown promise as a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation will establish and run the new research centre, which aims to refine the clinical procedure of these transplantations and carry out supporting research into the transplant therapy, associated health outcomes and effectiveness of the procedure.

In addition to funding for the Islet cell transplantation program, new funding of $2.1 million over five years from 2004-05 is being allocated to support the further development of the Lift for Life program to regional areas of Australia. Developed by the International Diabetes Institute, Lift for Life is an evidence-based, strength training program designed to improve treatment outcomes and achieve better medication response in older Australians with Type 2 diabetes. This funding will be used to build on the existing successful pilot program by selecting, training and endorsing fitness centres in all states and territories to deliver this strength training program.

Improving care and management of diabetes

To help improve the care and management of diabetes the Australian Government is providing funding of $44.2 million over the next four years to continue the existing National Integrated Diabetes Program.

The National Integrated Diabetes Program aims to improve the care and management of people with diabetes through general practice by:
  • providing support to GPs for earlier diagnosis and better management of people with diabetes;
  • supporting Divisions of General Practice to work with GPs to remove barriers to better care for people with diabetes; and
  • supporting changes in the practices of health professionals to provide better care for people with diabetes.
Funding will also be available through the Medicare Benefits Schedule for GPs to provide chronic disease management – including care plans and reviews for patients with diabetes.

In addition, the existing National Diabetes Services Scheme ensures that people with diabetes have subsidised access to products for the self management of diabetes. The 2004-05 Budget provided $15.5 million in additional funding to ensure that people with diabetes have access to new generation insulin infusion pump consumables.

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Asthma management

Funding of $27.1 million is being allocated over the four years from 2005-06 to continue the current Asthma Management Program.

In addition, funding of $27.6 million over four years has been allocated to the Medicare Benefits Schedule to enable GPs to provide chronic disease management for patients with asthma, using new Medicare items developed in response to GP concerns about red tape. These new items will be available from mid 2005.

Over the past four years, GPs have developed around 97,000 asthma action plans for patients. The program will continue to target priority groups, including children and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.