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”.

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.