National peak body, Research Australia, has asked Australians for their opinions on health for the past 17 years and they consistently tell us that research is crucial to better health and living our best lives.
The Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt launched the 2019 consumer poll Australia Speaks! at Parliament House yesterday to an audience of Research Australia’s Members along with government representatives, sector leaders and other health organisations.
The Hon. Greg Hunt expressed how heartening it is that Australians value health and medical research and are so willing to participate and contribute in the process.
“Health and medical research is about people so each year, with the generous help of Roy Morgan, we ask consumers for their opinions to enable us to reflect their values, and those of our Members, to ensure policy supports our health system.” says Nadia Levin, CEO of Research Australia.
“It is clear Australians see improving hospitals and healthcare as the number one spending priority for the Australian Government, even ahead of infrastructure, education standards and employment opportunities.
“Three quarters of Australians say they are interested in health and medical research. However, while confident in their ability to contribute to decision making about the future direction of the sector, most Australians don’t know how, and many don’t believe they’d be heard. Our governments and research organisations clearly have more work to do to meaningfully engage with the broader community.”
The results also confirmed that Australians are willing to embrace technology that can help them better manage their own health. They trust healthcare professionals to assist them with choosing those technologies and directing them to other credible online information sources. Professor Mary Foley, Managing Director Telstra Health and Research Australia Director shared her views around the impact of data in supporting improved health and what the future holds with the ongoing advances in technology.
The subject of ‘The empowered patient and consumer – managing our own health’ was discussed in a panel made up of sector leaders including the CEO of the Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education Michael Thorn, the CEO of Diabetes Australia, Greg Johnson and Jeppe Theisen, Vice President and General Manager Oceania, Novo Nordisk. Each discussed the importance of preventative medicine and what they are doing in this space to support Australians.
The poll also covered donations and government funding, and once again support for health and medical research is widespread. And at a time when we see the government partnering with the not for profit sector to support health and medical research, people indicated they would be more likely to donate a higher amount if the government would match their donation – a sentiment also reflected in previous polls.
Australian’s opinions continue to shape Research Australia’s strategies and priorities and observations of the changing trends and current attitudes will be shared widely to help shape policy and change to enable a healthier Australia.