The Australian Government, state and local governments, stakeholders and communities need to create environments that support people’s efforts to lead an active life.
The Australian Government has developed a National Sports Plan, Sport 2030 which is a long-term strategy for the whole of sport and is based on four strategic priorities: Building a More Active Australia, Achieving Sporting Excellence, Safeguarding the Integrity of Sport and Strengthening Australia’s Sport Industry.
Current national health reforms (i.e. Medicare Benefits Schedule, private health insurance, mental health, aged care) offer a window of opportunity to further integrate and cement evidence-based physical activity and exercise services in healthcare.
But we need your support to keep the pressure on the Australian Government to make sure physical activity continues to be a priority and that more exercise services can be offered to consumers through the health system.
To kickstart this campaign, ESSA has developed priority policies in these important areas (aged care, mental health, private health insurance, preventative health and the Medicare Benefits Schedule [MBS]).
ESSA suggests that a wave of reform in these areas will help more people lead a more active life. Our recommendations target access, quality and fairness in physical activity/exercise services and programs to ensure every Australian can benefit from being more active.
Our proposed policy reforms are:
• Add exercise and exercise physiology services to the residential aged care funding model and other funding instruments for aged care, so that people living in residential care are not denied access.
• Increase funding and access to lifestyle services (such as diet and exercise) for people with serious mental illness, to close the life expectancy gap.
• Make sure people who need to can access exercise services through the MBS. This includes access to telehealth options and a reasonable number of funded sessions for exercise services.
• Transparent access to quality exercise services and professionals within private health insurance policies.
In summary, there is much the Australian Government, stakeholders and communities can do to help Australians lead a more active life. We need to shift the focus from individual responsibility and start demanding our leaders invest in systems and strategies that support Australian’s rights to be more active.