Australia’s health and welfare services are provided by a variety of organisations and professionals, including medical practitioners, nurses, allied and other health professionals, social workers, aged and disabled carers, early education carers, hospitals, and government and non-government agencies. They deliver a wide range of services, from public health and preventive services in the community, to primary health care, emergency health services, hospital-based treatment, alcohol and drug treatment, adoption and child protection services, and housing assistance and palliative care. Their main focus is to promote general health and wellbeing, and to provide treatment, care and support services in times of illness or need.
Most Australians use services intermittently throughout life—using them if and when circumstances arise. For others, life events such as extended sickness, long-term unemployment, homelessness, disability, or drug use can pose complex challenges that can restrict their capacity to work and participate in family and community life. As a result, they may need long-term support and services to help them fully participate in all facets of life.
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