9 August 2018

Gaps in the proposed new Code of Conduct for doctors

On over-diagnosis, referrals for diagnostic tests should be made only when the tests are likely to yield useful information which will inform treatment and other choices in the patient’s specific circumstances. Tests should be ordered only when the patient has consented to them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

2 August 2018

Doctors’ fees shouldn’t just be transparent, they should be fair and reasonable

Out-of-pocket costs is a hot-button issue. It is on the agenda for a health ministers’ meeting this week, where the Victorian health minister will push the Commonwealth for more transparency about doctors’ fees.

31 July 2018

Safer care saves money – how to improve care and save money at the same time

Complications suffered in hospitals cause harm and expense to patients – and they cost hospitals money. Complications cost hospitals more than the revenue they receive from those complications. In this presentation, Grattan’s Stephen Duckett proposes changes to the way we manage and regulate hospitals, to improve the quality of care and to save money.

31 July 2018

Good medical practice needs to be founded on patients’ rights

The draft Code of Conduct issued by the Medical Board of Australia, Good medical practice: A Code of Conduct for doctors in Australia, is deficient. It is silent in several areas where it should not be. In this submission, Grattan’s Stephen Duckett identifies ways to strengthen the code so that patients’ rights come first.

31 July 2018

Health workforce challenges and opportunities

The roles performed by health professionals should be reassessed to ensure patients are getting the best care and taxpayers are getting the best value. In this presentation, Grattan’s Stephen Duckett shows that hospital specialists believe they often do tasks that could be done for less cost by someone less qualified, without reducing the quality of care.

30 July 2018

Poor and elderly Australians let down by ailing primary health system

Although by world standards Australia has an extensive set of primary care services, the Grattan Institute’s new report, Mapping Primary Care, finds too many poorer Australians still can’t afford to go to a GP when they need to, or a dentist when they should.

26 July 2018

Why Australia should have a tax on sugar sweetened beverages

A tax on sugar sweetened beverages has been offered as one solution to Australia’s increasing obesity problem. While it won’t ‘fix obesity’ on its own, it will likely slow the current growth in rates of obesity, as well as help recover some of the cost to taxpayers.

24 July 2018

Queensland needs to cut pharmacy red tape

The current legislation governing pharmacy ownership in Queensland is more effective in protecting the commercial interests of pharmacy owners than in serving the public interest. Improvements should be made to ensure cost-efficient, high-quality care is available to all consumers.

16 July 2018

Getting an initial specialists’ appointment is the hidden waitlist

The recent release of specialist outpatient waiting times by the new South Australian government caused outrage when it was revealed some patients had been waiting more than 16 years for an appointment. This is not a new problem. A 2000 Senate Committee Report cited consumer concerns about long outpatient waiting times, as did the 2005 Forster report into Queensland’s health system.

27 June 2018

False dawn for hospital safety

A new era starts for hospital safety in Australia on 1 July – or at least that is what the official rhetoric would have us believe. On that day, new financial incentives commence which will target an official list of “hospital-acquired complications”.