Link to Health Care in Australia.docx

Link to Health Care in Australia.docx - Link to Health Care...

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Link to Health Care in Australia: Challenges in health and health care for Australia Bruce K Armstrong, James A Gillespie, Stephen R Leeder, George L Rubin and Lesley M Russell Med J Aust 2007; 187 (9): 485-489. Download PDF Article Authors References Abstract The next Australian Government will confront major challenges in the funding and delivery of health care. These challenges derive from: o Changes in demography and disease patterns as the population ages, and the burden of chronic illness grows; o Increasing costs of medical advances and the need to ensure that there are comprehensive, efficient and transparent processes for assessing health technologies; o Problems with health workforce supply and distribution; o Persistent concerns about the quality and safety of health services; o Uncertainty about how best to balance public and private sectors in the provision and funding of health services; o Recognition that we must invest more in the health of our children;
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o The role of urban planning in creating healthy and sustainable communities; and o Understanding that achieving equity in health, especially for Indigenous Australians, requires more than just providing health care services. The search for effective and lasting solutions will require a consultative approach to deciding the nation’s priority health problems and to designing the health system that will best address them; issues of bureaucratic and fiscal responsibility can then follow. The next Australian Government will confront major challenges in the funding and delivery of health care. Australia’s health care system ranks well internationally, as reflected in our continuing high average life expectancy and low rate of infant mortality. 1 These advances are now under threat as our health system is stretched by an ageing population, the growing burden of chronic illness, and the increasingly outmoded organisation of our health services. Inequalities in health between our most and least advantaged citizens persist, and are the sentinels that remind us that there is no room for complacency, or for inertia in reforming our health care system. There is almost universal agreement that the health care system must focus on prevention and better management of chronic illness. 2 , 3 This will require targeting populations with the greatest need, especially Indigenous communities, establishing better links between primary, acute and rehabilitative services, and developing innovative ways of delivering health care to rural and remote communities. There is little flexibility to do this in a system hamstrung by a focus on fee- for-service and isolated episodes of acute care, growing out-of-pocket costs for patients, and workforce shortages.
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