There are milestones and then there are milestones. Waking up before my alarm and going for a run without collapsing is an impressive milestone in itself, but Australia hitting the population number of 24 million on 16 February 2016 somewhat overshadows that. Considering Australia reached 23 million in April 2013 this means (if my maths are correct) that our latest million was achieved in two years, nine months and two days. And if my research is correct this is the first time that Australia has grown by a million in under three years. Here here to the child bearing population… that’s an impressive achievement.
The original forecast by experts was that we were to reach this figure in 2033 so it is safe to say that the “experts” were wrong. In fairness, if we can’t predict the weather at times I think we can cut these guys some slack in trying to forecast the impact of “special cuddles”…
With growth comes both opportunity and pressure. On the topic of opportunity, technology advancement is always associated with new generations, with people wanting to challenge the status quo, to not simply settle with the belief that the generation before got it right. Without this drive we wouldn’t have such amazing products like the iPhone, the hashtag and the selfie (ok maybe not the last one, but Meatloaf said it best: 2 out 3 ain’t bad!). A question to ask is whether this trajectory of growth is sustainable? Will the collision of the bubble in our ageing population and rise in our newest Australians be a manageable demand on infrastructure and business. As an organisation that provides services from birth to aged care this question is very relevant. Where do we invest our energies and funding? If you consider the recent report from the SA Premier about SA not being able to sustain the cost of healthcare without commonwealth support and therefore potential further hospital closures, are we simply focusing on the short game? Consumer expectation and control around their own health has increased with every generation.
I embrace this change as a CEO of a private hospital and aged care facility, as for all too long patients, more so than residents, have simply been a passenger in the journey of their own healthcare needs.