Write 300 words on what you consider to be the most significant challenges confronting the Australian health system.
Explain why you have selected these challenges.
Draw upon your readings and the literature to support your ideas.
Three references minimum
Examples (my friends work) : don’t copy it
Is the current healthcare system sustainable? When the issue of sustainability of a given healthcare system is discussed both the cost as well as resultant health outcomes of that spending must be addressed (Duckett 2014. and Ratnahesan 2014). It cannot just be about money (Hall and Gool 2015). What are we getting for the money injected into this sector and is it worth it? Important healthcare outcomes include: (i) life expectancy and (ii) quality of life (Ratnahesan 2014).
The cost of Australia’s health care system is relatively inexpensive compared to other developed nations accounting for 9.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011-2012 (AIHW 2013. and Healthcare triage 2014). In the 2011-12 financial year $140, 241 million in total government spending and/or $6, 230 per individual was allocated to the health sector (AIHW 2013. and Senate Community Affairs Committee Secretariat 2014). Comparatively, in the 2001-2 financial year $63,099 million in total government spending and/or $3,255 per individual was allocated to the health sector (AIHW 2013). The cost of health was rising faster than the population grew during this period (AIHW 2014d). Government health spending grew 59.1% from 2001-2 to 2011-12 (AIHW 2013). In fact, over this period the health sector was the fastest growing area of government spending (Harrison 2014). However, concurrently with these observed increases in healthcare spending, it should be noted, the world was also contending with a financial crisis (AIHW 2013).
In Australia pressure on health care costs is driven by: increased demand for health services, the aging population (future perspective i.e. hospitalisations), hospitalisations, commonwealth financial assistance afforded to the states, pharmaceutical benefits (and services), Medical Services and Benefits programmes, inefficiency in the treatment and management of disease, pressures of chronic disease (i.e. hospitalisations), economic trends, and funding new technologies (Swan 2010., Ratnahesan 2014. AIHW 2014d. and Hockey 2014). In Australia, a major problem area in regards to healthcare cost and/or growth rate is state government and public hospitals (Ratnahesan 2014. and Harrison 2014). In 2011-12, recurrent public hospital spending accounted for $38,483 million of government budgets (state and federal) compared to $22, 269 million in the 2001-2 financial year (AIHW 2012). A total of 40.3% of healthcare spending was allocated to public and private hospitals in 2012-13 (Rasa and Sacks 2015).
In 2009, healthcare spending was projected to balloon out from 4% to 7% of GDP in 2049-2050 (Australian government treasury 2010 cited in Ratnahesan 2014). A significantly large bulk of the Australian economy would have been required to be allocated to the health sector (Ratnahesan 2014). The projected rate of growth in this sector was unsustainable (Ratnahesan 2014. and Australian government treasury 2010 cited in Ratnahesan 2014). However, health spending growth is now slowing (along with GDP growth, federal tax revenue growth, Medicare growth and federal Medicare GP spending growth rate) (AIHW 2014c., AIHW 2014 cited in Hall and Gool 2015., Murray 2015. and Hall and Gool 2015). In the 2014-2015 federal budget, saving initiatives were put in place and the Medical research future fund was established (Hockey 2014).
Australian’s life expectancy (at birth) is relatively quite good compared to other developed nations with men and women currently set to live on average 80.5 and 84.7 years of age respectively (World population prospects 2012 cited in Ratnahesan 2014. and Ratnahesan 2014). In fact, Australia’s life expectancy rate is one of the best in the world (AIHW 2014a). Quality of life?
â—¾Increased years living free of disability (AIHW 2014a).
â—¾Decreased rates of potentially avoidable deaths i.e. deaths that could have been averted via immunisation and therapeutic intervention (AIHW 2014a).
â—¾Increased cancer survival rates due to early detection, better treatment, technology and delivery (AIHW 2014a).
â—¾More than half of Australians are satisfied with their health according to the recent National health survey (ABS 2013).
Issues of concern:
Chronic non-communicable diseases (AIHW 2014a)
The prevalence of chronic conditions is rising in the community (Health workforce Australia 2013. and AIHW 2014b). Increased incidence of chronic disease is associated with increased disability and premature death (Willcox 2014). For example, in 2011 nine in ten deaths in Australia were attributable to chronic disease (i.e. cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes) (AIHW 2011b cited in AIHW 2014b., Willcox 2014. and AIHW 2014b). Various known negative lifestyle factors (i.e. tobacco smoking, physical inactivity, poor diet and alcohol consumption) increase an individuals risk of chronic disease (AIHW 2011., AIHW 2014a., AIHWa 2012 cited in AIHW 2014. and AIHW 2014b cited in AIHW 2014a). Other issues of concern include the following:
â—¾Most health care systems are not designed to cater for chronic conditions (Norton 2013).
â—¾National economic burden (AIHW 2014a. and Willcox 2014)
â—¾Drive up consumption of health services (Willcox 2014)
â—¾Clogging up hospitals
â—¾Quality of life (Willcox 2014).
â—¾Reduced workplace productivity (Willcox 2014)
â—¾Limiting economic growth (Willcox 2014)
â—¾Investment in preventable chronic diseases is required (Willcox 2014)
â—¾Prevention focus required (Willcox 2014)
The aging population (Hockey 2015) Healthcare funding is dependent on demographic factors (Hockey 2015). According to the recently revised edition of the world population prospects (2012), from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, life expectancy (at birth) figures are set to rise significantly in the next 75 years. Hence, we should expect to cater for an ever growing elderly population in the future whom will evidently drive up consumption of health services i.e. hospital stays (world population prospects 2012., Hockey 2015. and Ratnahesan 2014).