Nine out of 10 deaths in Australia are caused by chronic disease.1  Chronic diseases are largely preventable. 

Without intervention, the burden on the individual and the health care system is expected to worsen.

Every year, nine out of 10 people in Australia see a health professional.2

Health services and health professionals can provide authoritative and credible voices for prevention;3 however this does not occur routinely.

Right word. Right time. challenges health professionals to raise the topic of prevention, including alcohol, physical activity, diet and smoking, with their patients.

 

References:

  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (Internet). Australia’s health 2014. Australia’s health series no. 14. Cat. no. AUS 178 Canberra: AIHW 2014 (cited 26 October 2017]. Available from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/australias-health-2014/contents/table-of-contents
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey: Health Service Usage and Health Related Actions, 2011-12 [Internet]. Canberra ACT: ABS; 2017 [cited 26 October 2017]. Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/lookup/F758234080C6F33BCA257B39000F296E?opendocument.
  3. State of Victoria. Victorian public health and wellbeing plan 2015-19 [internet]. Victoria; 2015 [cited 26 October 2017]. Available from https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/about/health-strategies/public-health-wellbeing-plan

Project background

Right word. Right time. forms part of a larger ‘Preventive Health System - Supporting prevention across Victorian health services’ initiative. It aims to ensure all Victorian health services incorporate preventive health within their practice, with support to engage in new prevention initiatives and actively share experiences to support implementation at scale.

The project is led by Alfred Health and is funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.

Facts which helped to inform the campaign:

  • Nine out of 10 deaths in Australia are due to chronic disease. (AIHW, 2014).
  • Chronic diseases are largely preventable .
  • Every year nine out of 10 people in Australia see a health professional (ABS, 2017).
  • One glass of alcohol daily projected 4.2 kg gain annually (LiveLighter, 2016).
  • Regular alcohol consumption above two standard drinks per day increases the risk of liver disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental health conditions and cancer (NHMRC, 2009).

This campaign is also supported by Start the conversation which aims to ensure all people who access the Victorian health system are asked about their smoking and offered support to quit.

Professor Hayden McRobbie

Professor Hayden McRobbie

Professor Hayden McRobbie

Professor Hayden McRobbie

Professor Hayden McRobbie

Professor Hayden McRobbie

I support

Professor Andrew Way, CEO, Alfred Health
Health professionals at Alfred Health see many tens of thousands of individuals each year. Every time they note unhealthy behaviours without comment, the individual hears approval. A simple acknowledgement to the individual that the behaviour, symptom or status is amenable to change and would improve their life chances should be an essential part of every consultation.
- Professor Andrew Way, CEO, Alfred Health
Dr Bruce Bolam, Chief Preventive Health Officer, Department of Health & Human Services
We know that preventable chronic diseases have a huge impact on the health of Victorians. Health professionals are a trusted voice and can raise the benefits of preventive health with their patients, providing a real opportunity to affect the wider healthcare system. This campaign is a great initiative that supports our focus on prevention and early intervention, which is essential to improve the health of all Victorians.
- Dr Bruce Bolam, Chief Preventive Health Officer, Department of Health & Human Services
Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah, General Physician, Alfred Health
As health professionals we are highly trained to focus on illness and manage disease but less tuned towards promoting better health in our patients. Yet as this moving and powerful vignette shows, the consequences of too little, too late in preventative health are devastating and long lasting. It also shows that this course is not inevitable. We can and should at every encounter educate, encourage and empower our patients to change their behaviour.
- Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah, General Physician, Alfred Health
Dr Sarah White, Director, Quit Victoria
As a society, we invest hundreds of millions of dollars in our health care system to treat people suffering from preventable diseases. We could spend a fraction of that amount to avoid – not just the health costs - but also the miseries of chronic disease experienced by the sufferers and their friends and family. Quit Victoria is fully behind any measure that encourages our health professionals to become actively involved in preventing ill health, not just treating it. The right word at the right time - it can and will save lives.
- Dr Sarah White, Director, Quit Victoria
Jerril Rechter, CEO, VicHealth
Health professionals have a critical role to play in health promotion and prevention – they’re on the frontline and have the best opportunity to influence their patients. This campaign delivers such a powerful message – that every day, multiple times a day, there are choices to be made which can impact on health outcomes. Delivering the right word, at the right time, to influence those choices for good – that’s the goal. Health professionals are in a powerful position to influence the choices their patients make. Having those conversations can be difficult – but the right word, at the right time, can have life-changing consequences.
- Jerril Rechter, CEO, VicHealth

Contact

Want to know more about the campaign?

Email prevention@alfred.org.au