Good health is very important—it leads to longevity, and influences how we go about our everyday lives.

Australia is a good place to live. 85% of Australia’s 23 million residents aged 15 and over describe their health as good or better. This is good news.

The bad news is that a biennial Health Report reveals some astonishing facts that are troubling the population.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s Australia’s Health 2016 report, in 2014–15 more than 11 million Australians had at least one of eight chronic conditions. That’s half of the population.

Living long does not mean high quality of lives. We see daily many old people rely on medications or frequent visits to doctors to stay “living long”.

The single leading cause of death in Australia is coronary heart disease, followed by dementia, stroke, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Grouped together, cancer has overtaken cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) as Australia’s biggest killer.

Chronic diseases are becoming more common, due to population growth and ageing. Half of Australians have at least one chronic disease. One quarter have two or more.

The most common combination of chronic diseases is arthritis with cardiovascular disease.

In Australia, 381,000 visits are made to a GP on an average day, and 79,000 visits to a specialist.

Australians are struggling with their weight. About 63 per cent are overweight or obese. One in four children are overweight or obese.

Junk foods high in salt, fat and sugar account for about 35 per cent of adults’ energy intake and about 39 per cent of the energy intake for children and young people.

Australian health has these problems, and many more. Still healthcare study ranks Australia second best in developed world. We can imagine conditions in other parts of the world are much worse.

True, our healthcare system is sometimes criticized for being fragmented, disconnected and frequently failing its patients.

I myself have witnessed two cases of stupid treatments by specialists in Australian hospitals, one on severe burns and another on ulcerative colitis.

The GPs have their problems too.

I have read about reports in the US that “It’s not unusual for primary care doctors’ appointments to be scheduled at 15-minute intervals. Some physicians who work for hospitals say they’ve been asked to see patients every 11 minutes.” The situation in Australia is similar.

What can a doctor do in 15 minutes? When he has one eye on the patient and one eye on the clock, how can a doctor have an accurate diagnosis, not to mention establishing a relation with the patient? To work for money, some doctors even see patients in bulk.

Quality health care is extremely reliant on staff, and their unique skills. When doctors spend their days like this, how can they improve their skills and deliver outstanding care and treatment?

Why they do this? Besides moral code of conduct, many doctors have been trained on the philosophy of “one cure fits all”.

As a personalized medicine, TCM has been introduced to the western world for a short period of time. A lot of people only “heard of it”.

Although TCM has existed in China for over 3,000 years, people are skeptical of its safety and effectiveness.

The public need to be educated, because when it comes to treatment, you will never depend on something you are unsure about.

Let’s go back to the Australia Health Report.

According to the 2016 Health Report, Australian boys can now expect to live into their 80s (80.3), while the life expectancy for girls has reached the mid-80s (84.4).

Compared to Australia, China is relatively under-developed either socially or economically on average social welfare. But the average Chinese boy can live up to 79 years while the girl 82 years, not much lower than Australians.

To a great extend, the popular use of Traditional Chinese Medicine across the country (even in poor rural areas) has helped to achieve this.

History has proved that TCM works and is safe in proper hands.

Since its introduction to Australia, TCM has literally assisted thousands of people deal with health issues using specially designed treatments involving acupuncture, Chinese herbs and massage.

From 1 July 2012 Chinese medicine practitioners must be registered under the national registration and accreditation scheme with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia and meet the Board’s Registration Standards, in order to practise in Australia.

Some officials and experts argue that the government is giving credibility to medicine that has not necessarily been proven, saying “They’re giving legitimacy to something that hasn’t been legitimized.”

When we see a drowning person, the important thing is trying to rescue him. It’s a waste of time to argue that “only sending a boat can save lives; whether throwing a stick helps still needs more hearings.”

Don’t always act as a judge. To be a judge of TCM, you need to know the law of TCM. Don’t assign a Western Medicine doctor to test a TCM doctor. Don’t make language an obstacle.

Besides, how can a 3 year old exam invigilator supervise a 3,000 year old student?

TCM has survived 3000 years. It must have some reasoning in itself.

So, instead of taking “legal” actions, we need to spend more time discussing how to open a TCM university, or introduce TCM to middle schools or high schools. We need to educate our kids so that they know which herb or grass in our gardens and playgrounds are good for our health.

Both our government and society should be more open-minded. There might be a few fake TCM doctors, but they won’t survive long. Give the public choices. Patients are not stupid: when you see a doctor never deliver good results, are you going to see him again and again?

Talk to you next time.

Isherwood

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