It was entirely predictable that yesterday’s launch of the National Preventative Health Strategy – which you can download here in all its glorious weight – would provoke cries of the Nanny State. (In fact I predicted it several weeks ago in this Crikey article which explores something of the history of the term, as well as why it’s well past time we abandon Nanny in a ditch somewhere).
Tim Wilson of the Institute of Public Affairs was the first Nanny-pusher off the rank, at least the first I’ve spotted, with this yawn-inducing analysis in today’s Crikey bulletin. Here’s a taste: “Yesterday’s National Preventative Health Taskforce’s report is a monument to why elites think the average Australian needs a nanny to hold their hand through daily life.”
Hopefully most sensible people with an interest in the community’s health will ignore such blatherings and go straight to the report (or you can read Simon Chapman’s analysis in the SMH).
I have yet to read all of the report (what was the Government thinking, releasing it the day after the primary health care strategy, doesn’t seem to allow either of them the time and space they deserve for discussion and reflection).
But what I have read suggests that the National Preventative Health Taskforce document is probably one of the more important reports we shall see in health, and it deserves serious consideration, not only from across government but much more broadly. Local councils, community groups, patient groups, teachers and schools, employers, managers, those charged with teaching and training tomorrow’s health professionals – it has something for just about everyone.
The National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission report left me feeling like I’d been sprayed by rapid, erratic machine gun fire. Sure, it contained a lot of interesting suggestions, but many were not well thought through and there wasn’t a great deal of internal consistency to the report. Perhaps this reflected a lack of coherency in what the Commission members thought. Or perhaps it reflected the time and resource pressures the Commission must have been under.
The Preventative Health Taskforce report, on the other hand, seems remarkably coherent, on my reading so far, especially given that Kate Carnell, the Chief Executive Ofﬁcer of the Australian Food and Grocery Council, is a member of the Taskforce and her organisation is not known for its progressive attitudes on public health matters. There must have been some interesting internal discussions!
The report combines a great deal of depth and thought with clarity and a readable style and layout. Unlike the NHHRC report, it doesn’t leave governments much wriggle room. It has clearly outlined its recommendations and how to implement and evaluate them.
Croakey has a habit of reading documents like this with her nitpicking glasses on, looking for errors, omissions etc. Nothing has struck me yet along these lines, but I will keep reading. In the meantime, please have a read and let us know what you think.