Influencing health policy

The RACP is a health sector thought leader, actively engaged in health policy deliberations and decision-making in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Our members are an important source of clinical and health expertise to policy makers across the two nations.

In recognition of Fellows’ clinical and policy expertise, we are frequently invited to engage in key government consultations processes, including parliamentary committees, roundtables and reviews. Our policy and advocacy work ensures that the voices of physicians and paediatricians are heard in the health policy debate.

We advocate on a comprehensive range of issues that improve the effectiveness, equity and sustainability of our healthcare systems and contribute to the health and wellbeing of Australians and New Zealanders.

Recent activities

Call for the urgent release of the National Obesity Strategy

The President of the RACP, the Presidents of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine and the Paediatrics and Child Health Division and the Chairs of all Regional Committees have asked Health Minister Greg Hunt for the release of the Preventive National Obesity Strategy for an urgent final review and action. 

The letter stresses the College's concern that the much delayed Strategy is at risk of becoming obsolete and ineffective if not acted on in a timely manner. The letter also notes that work on the Obesity Strategy's treatment aspects should proceed as the second phase of this critical undertaking. 

Similar letters have been issued to all Australian health ministers and Shadow Health Minister Mark Butler. The letter is part of the College's ongoing efforts to tackle the challenge of obesity in a timely and resolute manner. 

RACP Submission on the National Preventative Health Strategy

April 2021 | The development of the National Preventive Health Strategy comes at a time when the need to address the imbalance between diagnosis and treatment of disease and provide a coordinated national response that encompasses all systems could not be more clear.

The RACP’s Submission on the draft Strategy offers recommendations towards making it an inclusive and effective vision for preventative health that clearly sets out the means for addressing major health challenges over the next decade.

RACP Submission on the National Preventive Health Strategy

RACP fact sheet on minimum unit pricing for alcohol – the high price of cheap alcohol

October 2020 | Minimum unit pricing (MUP) is one of the most effective interventions to reduce consumption and harm of alcohol — it is also one with the most potential to tackle health inequalities.

The College has been a long-standing advocate of MUP. In light of the recent developments in the Northern Territory and internationally, the RACP is reinvigorating its call for MUP to be introduced in all jurisdictions in Australia. As part of our continuing campaign, we have produced a fact sheet on MUP.

RACP fact sheet on minimum unit pricing for alcohol (PDF) and select bibliography (PDF)

Towards a better new normal in the time of COVID-19: Pre-Budget Update 2020-2021

September 2020 | The ongoing global pandemic has confronted the Australian Government and Australians with a unique and wide-ranging set of public health and socioeconomic challenges that will reverberate well into the future.

It has also provided health policy advocates and policy makers with a unique opportunity to reflect on the strengths, weaknesses and needs of our health system and society. They can be remade to be more resilient and equitable, better prepared for current and future challenges and better able to deliver improved health and social outcomes for all Australians.

As the Australian Government prepares to deliver its COVID-era budget, we suggest that these ambitious but essential goals can be achieved by investing judiciously in the set of measures proposed in this submission.

Towards a better new normal in the time of COVID-19: Pre-Budget Update 2020-2021 (PDF)

RACP feedback on the Consultation Paper for the National Preventative Health Strategy

September 2020 | The forthcoming National Preventative Health Strategy intends to guide our preventative health efforts over the next decade.

It offers a unique opportunity to define the scope, goals and deliverables of the preventative health agenda that best addresses the current challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Strategy aims to lead us towards a more resilient, agile, responsive, equitable and sustainable health system.

This submission comments on the Consultation Paper: Development of the National Preventative Health Strategy produced by the Department of Health.

RACP feedback on the Consultation Paper for the National Preventative Health Strategy (PDF)

Make it the Norm: Doctors’ prescription for a nation’s health

September 2020 | Physicians argue that if the New Zealand Government can get 4 things right, improved health and wellbeing outcomes will follow.

We launched our advocacy campaign #MakeItTheNorm ahead of the 2020 Election, calling for action on the 4 things that can make or break good health and wellbeing:

  • Somewhere to live — a healthy home is a human right.
  • Someone to love — all whānau enjoy wellbeing.
  • Something to do — everyone has good work.
  • Something to hope for — there needs to be justice and equity.

This is just the starting point for #MakeItTheNorm.

Media release: Make it the Norm: Doctors’ prescription for a nation’s health

Promoting telehealth and digital health

March to September 2020 | Over the last 6 months, the College has advocated for the extension of telehealth as a powerful enabler of patient health, equity and sustainable health budgets.

In September 2020, we acknowledged our constructive discussions with the Government and welcomed its decision to extend telehealth services until March 2021 as a win for a stronger and fairer health system.

In July 2020, a survey of nearly 1000 of our members showed that ongoing access to telehealth has the potential to permanently improve accessibility and equity of health services.

Earlier in the pandemic, we supported the Government’s expansion of access to telehealth beyond patients with COVID-19 or vulnerable patients and doctors. This move has allowed patients to access a wider range of health services, including some consultation services provided by specialists, in a safe environment.

Protecting healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic

August 2020 | As part of our advocacy for the health and wellbeing of members, we called for greater transparency on government stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE).

We released a survey of our members that revealed that a significant proportion of its members in public hospitals have been resorting to buying their own PPE. Almost half of participating members survey stated they had limited or no access to N95 grade masks, with 11% having no access.

We released a statement on the use of PPE during the pandemic recommended in areas of Australia under Stage 3 or 4 restrictions and other hotspots, and the wearing of cloth or surgical masks in public place where physical distancing isn’t possible.

Our extreme concern over healthcare worker infection numbers in Victoria were expressed and we reiterated our recommendations for protecting healthcare providers.

Submission to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act Review

August 2020 | Our submission urges a stronger focus on the link between the environment and health in the EPBC Act Review, and advocates for health impacts of environmental development to be addressed in law and enforceable.

To achieve these twin goals, the process of developing and delivering environmental law needs to include health experts, including public health, occupational and environmental health, infectious diseases and respiratory physicians.

Submission to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act Review (PDF)

Submission to the Royal Commission for Aged Care Impact of COVID-19 on Aged Care services

July 2020 | Our submission to the Royal Commission for Aged Care focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on the aged care sector.

Physicians address serious concerns about Residential Aged Care Facilities and share their experiences relating to hospital and community care at this critical time.

We offer to work with all levels of Government to improve services for older persons, so that the harm and potential for harm to older people related to COVID-19 is minimised and high quality, responsive and timely care becomes the sustainable standard.

Submission to the Royal Commission for Aged Care Impact of COVID-19 on Aged Care services (PDF)

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