Social Policy, Health and Welfare

I arrived at the Nan Tien Institute earlier this week to undertake a five day intensive on Social Policy, Health and Welfare.  The unit is a part of the Masters program in Health and Social Wellbeing.

The Nan Tien Institute is attached to the Buddhist Nan Tien Temple in Wollongong.  I was looking forward to an integration of western learning and eastern contemplation.

After having been here for most of the week, I can’t help but think that this is stuff we all know.

  • The system is slave to short term political cycle
  • Resources are limited
  • Populations are impacted by the social determinants of health
  • Communities should be consulted
  • Programs should be evaluated.

My personal interest is more around shifting our thinking about responsibility.

The shift away from government service provision to the not for profit sector is a good move, but ultimately doesn’t help us solve complex problems.  As a society we’re still reliant on taxes and government, whether to deliver the services or fund the service provider.

We are moving slowly towards theories of co-creation and person centredness, but in the end I believe we need a change of mindset.

Responsibility for good service delivery has shifted from government to NFPs, and now to the individual to be a part of the decision.  The mindset shift has to be for all of us to be responsible for the delivery of services.  To look after each other.  When we all say to ourselves that it is not someone else’s responsibility, but ours, then we will change the world.

The Nan Tien Institute has a wonderful opportunity to teach within that framework. Learn the theory and then contemplate our role, our personal truth, in delivering social justice.

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