Australia’s health system was designed more than a generation ago. Since then our health care needs and expectations of the health system have changed. To ensure our health system can continue to meet our needs, it is important that it is reviewed on a regular basis and changes are made to respond to changing community needs and take into account the findings of recent research.
While by international standards our health system delivers a high standard of care at a relatively low cost, there are a number of areas where it could be improved. Many Australians are either missing out on the care they need or not receiving the best possible care for their condition. Some people receive too much care which can also cause problems.
There has always been a gap between the health of the best and worst off in our community, Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and between city and country. This continues to undermine the fairness of our society.
We need to make major changes to our health system to make it better and fairer for all. With an ageing population and increasing demand for health care, we need to ensure the at every dollar spent on health care delivers maximum value. We also need to make sure that our health system reflects the values of our community.
AHCRA believes that most Australians support a fair and equal society and want a health system that supports equitable access to high quality health care. To achieve this, we will need to make some significant changes to our current health system. This might be challenging and take some time but we believe that it it is in the long term interests of our community to have a health system that gives all Australians the opportunity to maximise their health and well-being.
The top ten issues that we believe need to be addressed in our current health system are:
- Poor access to care for many Australians
- A resistant biomedical health service culture changing too slowly to a universal person and health literacy centred model of service delivery
- Consumer and provider frustration with problems in navigating an overly complex and siloed system
- Mechanisms that add layers of administration and costs without adding value, such as private health insurance
- The health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians
- Increasing out-of-pocket costs for services
- A maldistribution (and in some areas a shortage) of doctors, nurses and other health professionals
- An insufficient focus on prevention and primary care
- Payment systems that do not support high quality care, particularly in relation to multidisciplinary models of care
- An inefficient allocation of resources caused by the current State/ Commonwealth funding structure