Australia risks an outdated and unsustainable health and ageing system in the not-too-distant future.

But, according to a new report commissioned by BCCM member Australian Unity, we can avoid this if we start innovating now.

The practical approaches recommended would transform Australia’s health system into a holistic, outcomes focused one. The current social infrastructure gap could be addressed through place-based solutions and co-designing new ways of working, says the report, which also recommends the establishment of an Innovation Accelerator as an independent function that funds and supports innovative partnerships and collaborations on new and improved service models.

The importance of a holistic approach is underlined by the recent World Health Organisation finding that social connection is more important than access to healthcare services for health outcomes. The role that CMEs are playing to further social connection for health outcomes was highlighted in this year’s National Mutual Economy report.

The thought leadership provided by Australian Unity is an example of the important role the mutuals plays in the health and ageing sector and a reason to support the recent trend towards more member-owned co-operatives and mutuals in the areas of social care. The South Australian government, for example, has announced an Australian-first employee-owned mutual business to operate in the NDIS.

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