The appointment of a second consumers representative to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee recognises the value of the consumer perspective in vital decisions about access to medicines, the Consumers Health Forum said today. “We are delighted that Bel Harper has been appointed to the...
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.
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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...
Australia’s health system is turning into an increasingly inequitable mix of high health fund profits while public patients wait longer for care in public hospitals. “New figures have delivered a double whammy for patients. Public patients are waiting much longer for elective surgery than privately...
The staged removal of the Medicare freeze should reduce pressure on Australia’s high out of pocket health costs but Australia still needs longer term reform to future proof our health system. Overall this health budget is a commendable attempt to rebalance priorities while seeking to establish a platform that provides hope for a future more effective health system that is both responsive to consumer needs but also delivers best bang for the buck.
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
The report on the evaluation of the opt-out trials for My Health Record showed that the approach would help ensure the full health benefits of a shared electronic health record could be realised the Consumers Health Forum says “CHF has been calling for an opt-out system backed by strong community...
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...
A new expert report urging a makeover of Australia’s primary health care development makes a robust case for immediate action, the Consumers Health Forum says. The Grattan Institute’s report, Building better foundations for primary care , recommends the Commonwealth build on its Health Care Homes...

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