New Government in Australia Faces Healthcare Challenges

by Medindia Content Team on  December 9, 2007 at 12:37 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
New Government in Australia Faces Healthcare Challenges
The pressure is being put on the new Government to deliver a solution to Australia's deteriorating health care system with a focus on the areas of workforce, public hospitals, and State versus Federal, according to two articles in the latest Medical Journal of Australia.

Editor of the Journal, Dr Martin Van Der Weyden, says Australians will expect two things of the incoming Government - plain speaking and honesty, and accountability from the new health minister and prime minister.

Dr Van Der Weyden suggests key health reforms should include ending the blame game between State and Federal Governments, giving priority to preventative medicine, and the involvement of doctors in developing new policies.

"Three principles should guide these reforms: value for patients, changes in medical practice should be organised around medical conditions and care cycles, and outcomes and costs should be measured," Dr Van Der Weyden says.

In an open letter to the new health minister, published in the journal, Dr Lesley Russell from the Menzies Centre for Health Policy at the University of Sydney and the Australian National University, and her co-authors say monitoring and evaluation the effects of health-policy changes is crucial to the long term success of any health care reforms.

"We propose that the Government establish an office of accountability for health to ensure they and their partners in health planning and reform can know that agreed outcomes are being achieved, and the public can know their tax dollars are wisely invested," Dr Russell says.

Dr Russell says the first 100 days for the new Government will be crucial in setting their direction for health care but urges them not to rush into action and to consider what health system will be best for 21st century Australia, and what role the Federal health minister will play to ensure that the health of all Australians is improved.

"They need a strategy so that any reforms and policies are not just isolated initiatives, but form a coherent plan that will ensure that current problems are addressed and health benefits are maximised."

The Medical Journal of Australia is a publication of the Australian Medical Association.

Source: MJA

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