Can health partnerships re-orientate health care toward prevention?
Governments around the world are under considerable pressure to ‘fix’ the health care system so that they can meet the increased economic demands being placed upon them as a result of an increasing incidence and prevalence of chronic disease. The Australian Federal Government's response to the economic forecasts in relation to health has been to introduce new mechanisms to improve allocative efficiency within the health care system. We have seen the introduction of mandatory partnering across sectors and the establishment of new primary health care organisations with greater emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention. Although these moves are celebrated by some, others approach such developments with more caution. On the positive side, this shift in the curve of health spending toward prevention is welcomed. However, this thinking is based on the assumption that prevention is cheaper than cure but, as some have argued, the validity depends largely on who is doing the preventing.