Revised health care agreements and new approaches to funding are needed to support the rising numbers of Australians with chronic illness, say health policy experts.
Providing quality health services that are economically efficient often ends in the "blame game" between Federal and State Governments, and public and private health care systems, they say.
AdvertisementIn their editorial for the Medical Journal of Australia, Ms Laurann Yen, Visiting Fellow with the Menzies Centre for Health Policy at the Australian National University and The University of Sydney, and colleagues, suggest three steps to ending the so-called blame game.
"We need a national agenda for the future of health care in Australia," says Ms Yen.
"The agenda should begin from a concern for health, and only then consider financing arrangements."
The authors then recommend reformed Australian Health Care Agreements (ACHAs), focussing on a collaborative relationship between Government and health care providers.
"The ACHAs need a new format, outlining how services are to be provided for people, rather than how hospitals are to be funded.
"It needs to be recognised that funds for chronic disease management are probably five times too low."
The authors suggest current instruments of health care payment need to be revised to reflect the way sick people need care.
"Patients with chronic illness require continuing care, often increasing over years, and involving multiple health service elements," they say.
"These three steps offer one way forward in confronting the rising tide of demand for care of people with serious and continuing illness in Australia.
"Blame, as we know it, is a poor game to play if the object is to seek improved clinical safety and quality."