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The Forum > Article Comments > We need more bang for our health dollars > Comments

We need more bang for our health dollars : Comments

By Jeremy Sammut, published 15/10/2013

Since 200102, the average annual national expenditure growth rate has far exceeded the general rate of inflation, and the cost of public hospital care has grown almost three times as fast as national income over the period.

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It's the same old problem. The cost of national health schemes providing free care always blows out and takes up a growing share of the Budget.
Posted by Bren, Tuesday, 15 October 2013 9:33:21 AM
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There is only one way to fix this and that is to means test public health.
Since we made paying for ambulance transport compulsory, the rate of ambulance cover has gone through the roof!
One suggests that health care cover rates would rise and half filled private hospitals would fill, taking all the current pressure and cost off of the public health scheme, which could then be upgraded via the new savings.
With more people in the pool, NOT FOR PROFIT HEALTH CARE could reduce their rates!
With more people opting for private health care, the industry would attract new levels of investment and exponential growth, along with some badly needed competition!
One could also make a case for direct funding and vastly improved regional autonomy; just on the grounds of the estimated 30% savings this measure would introduce?
Money which could then be redirected at need and the coal face!
Privatization of either medicare or public health, would have just the opposite effect, as seen in the US, where health care costs nearly twice as much and yet leaves 40% relying entirely on charity!
Rhrosty.
Posted by Rhrosty, Tuesday, 15 October 2013 10:34:02 AM
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A hard look needs to be taken at certain levels of health care. Ante-natal is way up there. Multiple ultrasound scans are performed routinely in all pregnancies as are glucose challenge tests - rather than those where risk assessment indicates. The outcomes of this increased scrutiny do not match up with the expenditure.
If you are a private patient expect an even higher level of 'service' for which Medicare still pays a sizeable proportion. You are more likely to be offered and encouraged to have a highly managed birth which in turn leads to a higher C-section rate. More strain on Medicare. Add a trend among some of opting for/demanding a C-section ...

At Public Hospital level there are a good many areas where waste could be cut as well as better utilising the skills of nursing staff through advanced training to enable them to deal with minor surgeries (eg suturing simple lacerations, treating smaller burns ect) and being able to prescribe or dispense some schedule 3 meds.

Every hospital - public or private - should have a dedicated palliative care ward so those people who require it do not find themselves in a medical or surgical bed - or at least for the shortest possible time.

These are only some of the measures that could reduce the healthcare blowout. Many others could be found outside the square by incorporating measures to increase levels of fitness, good nutrition and healthy habits in schools, workplaces and the general community. For instance - reducing the number of alcohol related presentations at Public hospitals would relieve the budgetary situation immensely.
Posted by divine_msn, Tuesday, 15 October 2013 10:37:33 AM
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While I'm not sure that privatisation is the answer, there is certainly an issue caused by freehealth care costs. For example, if a person requires antipsychotic medication, their doctor will likely prescribe them a New patented medicine costing several hundred dollars a month. The alternative might be an older one costing a few dollars a month. The pharmaceutical industry heavily market the new ones and virtually discourage the use of the older ones. Neither the doctor nor the patient are paying so why not? Given the choice, the patient may well have opted for a cheaper medicine if the balance saved was made available for other treatment or social assistance. But as the hospital budget and PBS have different funders, there is no possibility of the mental health service being able to otherwise use money saved by more judicious prescribing practices. Same applies to the elderley languishing in acute hospital beds. Aged care and hospitals funded from different sources
Posted by Rhys Jones, Tuesday, 15 October 2013 2:23:16 PM
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While I'm not sure that privatisation is the answer, there is certainly an issue caused by freehealth care costs.
Rhys Jones,
Where I reside there is an awful lot of money spent for people who simply do not discipline themselves health & mentality-wise. The majority of these patients haven't even worked for most of their fairly young lives yet they're costing the rest of us a fotune. I believe that a Non-military national Service would go a long way towards reducing such dependency simply by physical activity alone & less fast food. We need to focus on instilling a sense of responsibility into our up-coming young adults. it can be achieved if we can flush the do-gooders out of the air-conditioned public service offices & put them into physical work for sobering their clogged minds. That too would do a lot for re-gaining control of the health services. The career mongers who have hijacked the health services are nearing retirement so now is a good time to start planning.
Posted by individual, Wednesday, 16 October 2013 7:26:46 AM
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Another thread of immense importance getting ignored ? Too many snouts in the trough not keen on exposing the rorts perhaps ? How much of our health dollars is spent on useless druggies vs people working for a living would be a good start for a debate. Ask any emergency nurse or Ambulance officer & you'll get some unpleasent facts.
Posted by individual, Thursday, 17 October 2013 12:29:01 PM
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