The key problems with the health system is an insufficient focus on prevention and primary care, the inefficient and inequitable allocation of resources caused by the current State/Commonwealth funding structure and the lack of commitment from government to undertake reform. Workforce problems, such as the number and distribution of the workforce, impact most severely on the rural and remote regions of Australia.
CHOICE is an active member of the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA), a coalition of 43 organisations committed to healtcare reform. CHOICE's objective is to work in partnership with committed individuals and organisations to campaign for a fair and affordable health system. CHOICE works with AHCRA to promote citizen engagement in health care reform.
What we want
What we're doing
In February 2008, the Federal Government appointed the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission to review the health system in Australia. Further information about the Commission can be found on its website (www.nhhrc.org.au). CHOICE provided a submission to the NHHRC which set out our vision for the future of Australia's health system.
In February, the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission released its interim report. It included 116 proposals for reform.
Key proposal of relevance to consumers are:
- Multidisciplinary primary health centres to bring together a range of health professionals in one place and improve consumer access
- Giving people with chronic diseases the option to register with one medical practice
- Person controlled electronic health records
- A new dental scheme which would be funded by an increase in the Medicare Levy
- A national prevention agency, health literacy education in schools and workplace health and wellness programs to enhance people's ability to manage their own health
- Specific measure to tackle health inequalities for indigenous Australians, people with mental illness and people living in rural and remote Australia.
In places we believe the Commission has not gone far enough. For example, the Commission has given little consideration to whether we have the best mix of public and private funding in Australia. The funding mix can be a significant source of inequity.
Many dental and consumer groups have questioned the effectiveness of the proposed dental scheme. We believe it is not likely to overcome the current problem where low-income earners get poor access to dental care.
We provided the NHHRC with a submission on their interim report.
The NHHRC is expected to provide a final report to Government in June 2009.