As federal parliament prepares for its first sitting of 2012, health minister Tanya Plibersek has hinted at what the new year might have in store for the health of Australians.
Speaking to a local News Limited publication, Ms Plibersek claimed the distribution of funding will be one of the first challenges she faces in the new job.
"The first is cancer treatments. We've had a very substantial investment set aside over the last few years to invest in regional cancer centres and centres of excellence like the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse centre being built at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital,” Ms Plibersek told NewsLocal Central Sydney (January 24).
Ms Plibersek also highlighted obesity and "spin-off effects" such as diabetes as challenges for the future.
"We are by international and global standards a prosperous community. However not enough exercise, eating too much rich food, smoking and drinking are all things that are going to be big health challenges for the future I think."
While the health minister also anticipates that the roll out of the Personally Controlled E-Health Records (PCEHR) system will benefit patients – particularly those that travel regularly or see a number of specialists – there is still uncertainty surrounding the introduction of means testing the health insurance rebate.