8 May 2018

Turnbull government backs pharmacies over consumers, yet again

The government has totally squibbed the latest pharmacy regulation review, and consumers will be the losers. Every five to 10 years in Australia, the government establishes a review of the regulations governing pharmacies. Those reviews invariably come to the same conclusion: community pharmacy is over-regulated, and a reduction in regulation would benefit consumers. Just as invariably, the government response is to do nothing.

2 May 2018

Palliative care funding needs reform

Palliative care works. People referred to palliative care early live longer. People who use palliative care are less likely to end up in an Intensive Care Unit. But if palliative care is to become a universally accessible service in Australia, new approaches to funding will be needed.

16 April 2018

Palliative care budget needs to be better spent

It is rare that a group of economic hardheads recommends expansion of services, but the Productivity Commission recently did just that. In a report with the somewhat obscure and threatening title of Introducing Competition and Informed User Choice into Human Services, the commission calls for a big increase in palliative care investment.

7 March 2018

How to fund better palliative care

Governments should strive to make palliative care a universally accessible service. But for this to happen, new approaches to funding will need to be adopted, based on the experience of funding reforms in other parts of the health system.

15 February 2018

Online Hospital Complications Calculator launched

One in four patients who stay overnight in an Australian hospital will have something go wrong, but a veil of secrecy hangs over which hospitals – and which doctors – have higher rates of complications and which are safety leaders.

6 February 2018

Fix the sickest hospital wards first

Australia needs to set a big target for improving hospital safety. About one in every nine patients who go into hospital in Australia — public or private — suffers a complication. That’s about 900,000 patients each year. At least one in every 100 patients contracts a hospital-acquired infection, one in every 75 endures a complication with their procedure, and the list goes on.

5 February 2018

Hospitals are risky places – but some are better than others

One in every nine patients who go into hospital in Australia suffers a complication: when something preventable goes wrong with their care. They might develop an infection from a hygiene breach, for instance, or be given the wrong dose or type of drug.

1 February 2018

Not all genetic tests should be publicly funded – here’s why

New genetic technologies hold great promise in their potential to treat patients based on their individual genetic information. Advances in mapping the human genome mean the cost of doing a genetic test has fallen dramatically, though the costs of these tests – and subsequent treatment – are still high.

31 January 2018

The future of precision medicine in Australia

It’s exciting to think we’re on the brink of a genomic revolution in health care. The Australian Council of Learned Academies’ precision medicine project, co-authored by Grattan’s Stephen Duckett, sketches the current trends in ‘precision medicine’ technologies, and explores what broader implementation of precision medicine capabilities may mean for Australians.

24 January 2018

Expanding the breadth of Medicare: learning from Australia

The design of Australia’s Medicare programme was based on the Canadian scheme, adapted somewhat to take account of differences in the constitutional division of powers in the two countries and differences in history. This paper discusses four areas where Canada could potentially learn from Australia in a positive way.