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NSW cancer, heart death rates fall

Report finds NSW is winning the battle against cancer and heart disease.

A new report which compares the NSW health system with those in 10 other countries says the state is winning the battle against cancer and heart disease.

But it warns we are a state of fatties – with 60 per cent overweight or obese. And 70 per cent of NSW adults say they have been diagnosed with long-term illnesses.

The Bureau of Health Information report, Healthcare in Focus: how NSW compares internationally, examined healthcare across a range of factors including care, effectiveness, efficiency and value.

As well as comparing the state system with those internationally it also compares it with Australian states and territories.

It found the NSW system offers good value for money and has made big strides in the last decade fighting cancer and heart disease, saying it is an “international leader” in making significant “health gains”.

Heart disease deaths fell 47 per cent between 1997 and 2007, the report found. Stroke deaths fell 37 per cent, while colorectal cancer deaths fell 30 per cent.

Overall, deaths from heart disease and cancer have decreased “dramatically” over the same period, the report said.

It also said the NSW system is good value for money, with health spending ranked as “mid-range” but achieving good outcomes per dollar spent.

Yet the obesity rates are a major concern, the report said. There is also concern about the high number of Caesarean sections, with almost 30 per cent of mothers opting for the method.

The report warns Caesarean sections carry risks and are resource intensive. Five per cent of people said they had been given the wrong medication by health professionals, the report said.

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