The five compacts the Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has agreed with health organisations may deliver benefits for health providers and certainty for the medicines industry and community pharmacy sector. But these compacts announced in the federal Budget also raise important questions about the overall benefit for consumers. What will the compacts do for the most pressing health challenges facing Australia: obesity and the care of the growing number of Australians with chronic and complex care needs? At a time when medical knowledge and technology promise better outcomes through more cohesive, integrated health care, the risk is that bi-lateral compacts will further fragment and silo health care.
Diana Aspinall
At the Consumers Health Forum we often find that the most effective advocates for improvement in the health system and in medical care are, not surprisingly, those who are high users of health services. A great example of such an advocate is Diana Aspinall. She lives with multiple health conditions...
The progression of Australian governments has made significant policy, funding and legislative commitments in the effort to reform the mental health system, or parts of it. The intent was not access to poor care; the objective was not inadequate quality; the pursuit was not to deliver bad results or be misaligned with the interests of consumers and families. Yet the reality is that many historical and recent Australian independent inquiries into mental health have agreed: reform efforts have not made the transformations we should be seeing, nor are they giving people the outcomes we should be expecting
Leaving hospital should not mean a plunge into uncertain, incomplete care. Too often in Australia that is the outcome where often vulnerable patients are discharged without complete medication and other records and a clear care plan, into an unorganised setting in which informed team work by different health professionals is absent. What is best for the patient requires a focus on their individual needs: consumer-centred care and good information to patient and carers provided by an integrated team that might include GPs, nurse practitioners, medical specialists and a mix of allied health practitioners such as physiotherapists, psychologists and diabetes educators.
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Health services can often intrude into sensitive and significant aspects of our lives in ways we have little control over. The sense of being at the whim of anonymous forces in a big hospital is a common place experience for many. The same applies to the experience of navigating what at times is a...
The leaders of our two main political parties are resisting calls from most health experts to introduce a tax on sugary drinks. They might give a thought to the thousands of lives saved as a result of earlier public health measures introduced in the face of loud opposition. Mandatory car seat belts...
by Leanne Wells and Jeffrey Braithwaite The customary response to the daunting rise in costs shadowing health care is to reach for that toxic mix of service cuts and tax/fee increases. Now however, fresh attention is going to the concept of health system sustainability. We’re seeking to build a...
At the Colloquium
Bring more than 60 consumer advocates and stakeholders with an interest in supporting consumer leadership from all around Australia together and what do you hear? We need to ‘get it together’ more, was the overarching message. And ‘getting it together’ can come in a variety of ways, whether by...
The pledge by the new Health Minister Greg Hunt to focus on the national crisis of suicide should raise our hopes that we might at last see an effective national strategy to counter this tragedy. Suicide claims more than 3,000 deaths in Australia each year. That’s more than the death toll due to...
With his new Health Minister, the Prime Minister is signalling a refreshed approach to health policy. It is encouraging that Malcolm Turnbull has asserted a new focus on the previously abandoned area of preventive health, promising to give people “the right tools and information to live active and...

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