Discuss critically the challenges presented to healthcare in Australia.
This essay aims to discuss critically the challenges presented to healthcare in Australia. The selected determinant for discussing the challenges is ‘an ageing population.’ The ageing of population is principally a positive outcome; mainly reflecting the enhanced life expectancy. The ageing of population and growth affects supply of labour, requirements of infrastructure, economic output and budgets of the government. An effective health care system is not only the basic need of every community but also an indicator of a prosperous community. The Australian system of healthcare exhibits surprisingly success in conveying great results of health and well-being with cost-effective measures. Australians appreciate one of the longest expectancy of life and a healthy future, while the costs as an extent of the total national output remain average among nations participating in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ("Aged care in Australia (AIHW)", 2016).
The ageing populace challenges the capability of healthcare providers and administrators in health care delivery to maintain the health and well-being regulate serious and recurring illness, and support the frail and the incapacitated. The average healthy life expectancy of an Australian is 73 years, however real expectancy can be ten years longer often accompanied by chronic illness resulting in disability. Chronic illnesses can be prevented by taking precautions in early life, yet preventable interminable diseases, for example diabetes represent a noteworthy and growing burden of morbidity, mortality and health services cost.
Australia had moderately been a youthful nation in the past ranging 31% of the population about 15years and younger, however, this gradually dropped to 22% by the 2002 (Willis, Reynolds and Keleher, 2016). According to the IGR , in the next 40 years the extent of the population over 65 years will increase twofold to around 25% ("Ageing and Health system", 2016). In the mean time, the development in the population pertaining to the workforce age is slowed down to zero, which is a perpetual change. Excluding an unparalleled change in the rates of fertility, the age structure of the populace tends to stabilize with a higher extent of older Australians. While all these general demographic contemplations will initiate national results, there will be contrasts in the different areas. For instance, the metropolitan zones are more likely to attract young population, whereas some local zones draw in retirees and enhance rapid ageing of populaces. In addition, the demographic profile of indigenous Australians is strikingly diverse. More than half of the indigenous populace (57 %) are under 25 years old, contrasted with 34% for the population in general. In any case, these distinctions do not influence the general result. Amongst now and 2040 each State and Territory is relied upon to encounter a noteworthy ageing of its populace ("Ageing and Health system", 2016).
Fig: - Fertility Rates of Australia (projected graph)
Source : ("Part 2: Long-term demographic and economic projections", 2016)
The following graph above depicts that there has been a constant decline in the fertility rates for the past few decades. The projected rates for the next decade shows that the rate will further considerably decrease by approximately50% as compared to previous years (3.5 in 1957 to
The Government is presently taking a gander at how help to families might be further enhanced so that there is most extreme decision accessible to guardians in adjusting work and family obligations. With these measures at hand, the government has tried to reduce effectively the ageing population in future. However, what about the present population at hand? Older Australians form, a greater part of the population. 14% of the population approximately 3.3 million people were aged about 65 and above, and approximate 440,000people were 85 years and above age, during the year 2013. It has also been predicted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, that by the year 2053 about 8.3 million people will be 65 and above years of age (21%) and approximate of 1.6 million people will be aged 85 years and above (4.2%) ("Australia’s Demographic Challenges —Australia's Demographic Challenges", 2016).
The medical services provided by the Australian government, include national health policy, which provides Medicare benefits schedule a government funded insurance scheme, which covers 85% of specialists, 75% of general practitioner, and 100% costs of public hospitals. Additionally many privately funding agencies provide health insurance known as health funds ("Australia’s Demographic Challenges —Australia's Demographic Challenges", 2016). The method of reasoning for government appropriations for private insurance providers along with public insurance scheme has never appeared to be clear; maybe it is best seen as the trade off between the "strife of interests taking on the appearance of a contention of standards" that, as indicated by health organizer Sidney Sax, portrays the Australian framework. Apart from the insurance services, the government of Australia also have launched federal initiatives under Medicare Australia, which mainly encompasses payment to the doctors, nursing staff and funding of hospitals at a state level. There have also been state programmes that include the public hospitals and other healthcare initiatives. Non-government organizations such as Australian Red Cross Blood Service collect blood donations and provide them to the healthcare agencies. In addition funding agencies such as the National Health and Medical Research Council funds the researches pertaining to public health and regulates policy matters (Britt et al., 2013).
The system of aged-care in Australia provides a host of services in the aide of older people and people with disabilities for public and private sectors. There are two sorts of aged care provided by the private facilities for elderly, both available according to the high or low care needs of the individual termed as permanent residential aged care which is a long term care for the elderly and residential respite care. It is a short-term care ("Australian Health Care — The Challenge of Reform in a Fragmented System — NEJM", 2016). Moreover, adaptable aged care services provide care intended to address the issues of beneficiaries in one or more methods other than the services provided by the mainstream community. Some of the examples of such flexible health care services is the Transition Care Program and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care program.
The Community Aged Care Package (CACP) provides low- level care, while Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) and EACH Dementia (EACHD) provides high level care and they are collectively termed as community packaged program. In addition, there are other community care services for the elderly such as the Home and Community Care (HACC program), Veterans’ Home care program and National Respite for Carers Program. The Australian Government has allotted areas with respect to size and location for the population aging 70 and above. During the years 2011-2012, various places was allocated across Australia, pertaining to age care programs with the aim of fair dissemination across seventy three age care planning areas (Clegg et al., 2013). The associated challenges in relation with the ageing population are liable to be more noteworthy among a few groups and geographical locales of Australia, and the demand for health care services is prone to contrast among areas and services. Differences based on sex: Such as older women, have higher rates of disability as compared to men. It has been observed according to ABS (2013 data) that in the year 2012, 49% of the women aging 65 years and above needed assistance with one activity in minimum as compared to other men (Drummond et al, 2015). Differences based on geography: The different areas have population belonging to different age groups. It is usually observed that ageing populations inhabit the countryside rather than the city. Therefore, it is necessary for the community-aged programs to provide service on the outskirts of the city (Jefford et al., 2013). Differences based on socio-economic status- Socio-economic factors including related impediment, are imperative determinants of wellbeing. The general health has a tendency to enhance with every progression up the socio-economic ladder, regularly alluded to as the financial slope of wellbeing. For instance, information from the 2011–12 AHS demonstrate that individuals who live in regions of disadvantage were more probable than those in regions of advantage to report particular long term health procedures.Differences in Cultural diversity- Some health qualities additionally change by social differences. For example, considering the contrasting age structures and reaction rates of different population groups, 2011 Census data, demonstrates that the older people who have migrated from overseas especially from non-English speaking nations (25% of those aged 65 and over). They have a greater difficulty in performing activities such as communication and correspondence as compared to Australians (17%) and people from other English speaking nations (15%) (Kickbusch & Gleicher, 2012).
Since the elder people are high clients of the healthcare delivery system, and health expenses being higher in older age groups, ageing of population has driven some to express worries about unsustainable burden on the expenses inside the health system. Demand for health care services is influenced by numerous elements, however older individuals are largely higher clients of healthcare system than the youth, thus it is expected that demand will increase with the increment of the ageing population, because older people are more prone to visit the health experts than the youth. Considering the challenges of age care system in Australia, the future responses towards maintaining a healthy ageing population includes prevention and minimization of the risk factors and promoting good health throughout the life span. Enabling healthy ageing through regulation of chronic conditions, alleviating social inequality by enhancing the participation of older people within a community improvement of productivity in health care (Swayne, Duncan and Ginter, 2012).
Aged care in Australia (AIHW). (2016). Aihw.gov.au. Retrieved 16 July 2016,
Ageing and Health system. (2016). Aihw.gov.au. Retrieved 16 July 2016,
Australia’s Demographic Challenges —Australia's Demographic Challenges. (2016).Demographics.treasury.gov.au.
Australian Health Care — The Challenge of Reform in a Fragmented System — NEJM. (2016). New England Journal of Medicine.
Britt, H., Miller, G. C., Henderson, J., Bayram, C., Valenti, L., Harrison, C., ... & O'Halloran, J. (2013).
Clegg, A., Young, J., Iliffe, S., Rikkert, M. O., & Rockwood, K. (2013). Frailty in elderly people. The Lancet, 381(9868), 752-762.
Drummond, M. F., Sculpher, M. J., Claxton, K., Stoddart, G. L., & Torrance, G. W. (2015). Methods for the economic evaluation of health care programmes. Oxford university press.