Development of a new National Asthma Strategy for 2016–2020 is underway
We are proud to be leading development of the Strategy with a wide range of people and organisations interested in how Australia tackles the challenge of asthma.
The Strategy is our national plan for reducing the impact of asthma on individuals, the community and the economy – taking Australia to the next stage of improvement in asthma health outcomes and research endeavours.
Australia’s first National Asthma Strategy was developed in 1999 by the National Asthma Council Australia in collaboration with asthma stakeholders and published as the National Asthma Strategy Implementation Plan 1999.
This was followed by the National Asthma Strategy 1999–2002 and National Asthma Strategy 2006–2008. Asthma management has progressed considerably since then but in the absence of a formal national strategy.
The development of a new National Asthma Strategy is enabling asthma stakeholders to work together to develop a national plan to take Australia to the next stage of improvement in asthma health outcomes.
The Australian Government Health Minister announced the initiative in late 2014. The Minister's press release can be viewed here.
The National Asthma Council Australia is coordinating the development of the National Asthma Strategy 2016–2020, in partnership with Asthma Australia and with funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.
A wide range of people and organisations are involved in the consultation process, including people with asthma, key respiratory organisations, health professional bodies, other relevant organisations and the Federal, State and Territory Governments. The Asthma Foundations of each state and territory are involved individually as well as through their national coordinating body, Asthma Australia.
Our principal Advisory Group consists of representatives from:
- National Asthma Council Australia
- Asthma Australia
- Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy
- Australian Centre for Airways Disease Monitoring (formerly ACAM)
- Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association
- Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
- Pharmacy Guild of Australia
- Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
- Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand
Development of the Strategy is taking place throughout 2015 and 2016. The process involves:
- Scoping work including audits of previous Australian and international strategies
- Preliminary stakeholder survey, open to all
- Development of draft strategy outline with the Advisory Group
- Targeted consultation with our wider stakeholder network using the outline as a basis; this includes a Stakeholder Roundtable to facilitate consultation with certain organisations
- Pulling together the consultation feedback to develop a draft strategy
- Public consultation on the draft strategy
- Review and revision in response to the public consultation feedback
- Fine-tuning taking into account related chronic disease reforms and initiatives
- Finalisation of the publication
We will then ask the Australian Government Minister of Health to present the final draft of National Asthma Strategy to the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council for endorsement.
Our National Asthma Strategy preliminary stakeholder survey was conducted in February–March. This was designed to help us better understand the priorities and challenges from different perspectives across the asthma world.
We received hundreds of thoughtful replies from people with asthma and their families, health professionals treating people with asthma, and others who care about how Australia should tackle asthma. The responses were a wonderful reflection of the insight, expertise and compassion of the Australian asthma community.
A draft outline for the strategy was developed with our Advisory Group in March–April. The outline covers the scope of the strategy, as well as establishing the document structure and overarching framework. Potential priority areas for action were identified, taking into account the gains already made over the past 20 years.
Our Stakeholder Roundtable held in May involved more than 40 people representing a range of organisations from across the health and respiratory spheres, with our Australian Government Department of Health sponsors also taking part. It was a very positive day, and we are grateful to all those who participated so openly and constructively in the discussions.
The Roundtable was part of a phase of targeted consultation with our wider stakeholder network. We also conferred with the National Asthma Council Australia’s and Asthma Australia’s standing committees, and consulted some individual experts.
A draft of the full Strategy was developed with the Advisory Group in July, taking into account the feedback received during the targeted consultation. The initial outline was adapted into a 1-page framework that captures the key objectives and priority areas.
Public consultation on the draft Strategy was held during August. We appreciated hearing from almost one hundred different people and organisations with an interest in how Australia faces the challenge of asthma.
Responses covered the breadth and depth of those touched by the plan and naturally not everyone agreed on all points. Yet taken as a whole, the draft Strategy was fundamentally supported by those who responded.
Review and revision
In response to the public consultation feedback, the draft strategy was reviewed and revised with the Advisory Group in September. The document was then circulated to the Department of Health to facilitate the next stage of development.
We are currently working with the Department of Health to fine-tune the Strategy to take into account the latest developments in related chronic disease reforms and initiatives. This includes the forthcoming National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions, with which the National Asthma Strategy is aligned.
The final draft of the Strategy will then be submitted to the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council for endorsement.
To stay informed about the progress of the National Asthma Strategy 2016–2020, please subscribe to the National Asthma Strategy mailing list.