Congress to unite on health policy

Competing for scarce human resources, companies are increasingly taking on the responsibilities for the health and wellness of their employees.

For a long time health policy decisions have been solely as a matter for governments and the health sector but that is changing. Improving the health of people through the workplace also reduces the burden of health on the hospital system.

These are the key issues to be discussed at the upcoming the Institute of Health & Productivity Management (IHPM) 2nd Annual Australian Congress to be held in Sydney next month.

The theme of the Congress is ‘Demonstrating the Business Value of Good Health’ and has a strong focus on how to improve the asset value of the workforce’s health as a competitive strategy.

“The workplace is one of the most important opportunities to significantly improve the health of employees,” said Professor Rob Moodie, Chair of the Government’s National Health Preventative Taskforce and keynote speaker at the Congress.

There is a growing awareness amongst corporate and government employers that the workplace is a key component of the primary care model for the early detection and prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and mental illness.

The Congress will also feature for the first time a series of key case studies addressing work life strategies. Dr Catherine Hamilton, Medical Advisor for BP Australasia will share lessons learned over many years about the key principles for health programs effectiveness in workplace environments. Plus a panel of blue chip companies including IBM, Unisys, NAB, GSK and VISY will form a unique panel of industry expertise to detail the challenges they have faced in corporate wellness strategies.

In a first for Australia the Deans of Medical Science from the Universities of New South Wales and Queensland will sit alongside the Executive Vice president of the University of Virginia (USA) and debate with the audience a) whether we spend half our medical dollars in the last six months of life; b) whether Australia will ration medical care; c) if preventative care saves money; d) whether we will need fewer physicians as medical science advances and e) if consumers can make the best decisions about their own health care.

The Australian Health & Productivity Management Congress will be held at the Sofitel Wentworth hotel in Sydney from 11-12 August 2008 and is expected to attract 200 Senior Decision Makers and HR Directors. It is being organised by Interpoint Events on behalf of the Institute of Health & Productivity Management (USA) and the Health & Productivity Industry Association of Australia (HAPIA).


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