Tasmanians lagging on health

THE social determinants of health were discussed at yesterday's Tasmanian Health Conference.

Australian Medical Association state president Tim Greenaway said the two-day meeting of health professionals covered health policy issues and the Tasmanian health system.

He said Tasmania's low health literacy was a well-discussed topic as attendees discussed the issues surrounding the problem.

"We discussed how low socio- economic status affects health ... [how] adverse conditions in the first couple of years of life can affect adulthood, the built environment, healthy eating and being able to get healthy options," Dr Greenaway said.

"Tasmanians have poor health literacy, they don't have the skills or understanding to navigate the health system."

He said possible solutions included integration and the improvement of education rates in Tasmania.

Another hot topic was the federal budget's impact on the state budget, which is due to be handed down next month.

"In a strained economy we need to spend every dollar efficiently and effectively and look at how are we performing, can people get access to good quality care and can we do it," Dr Greenaway said.

"We can't continue business as usual because we won't be able to afford it - we don't know how much the federal budget will impact on Tasmanians."

The Hobart conference was organised by the Australian Medical Association and ended yesterday.

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