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Impact Of Changing Population Profile In Australia

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Question:

Discuss about the Impact of Changing Population Profile in Australia on Health Care System.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

This essay focuses on the changing population profile of the world and Australia in specific, the effect of this on the healthcare system as well as the challenges that the health care faces. Australia has an aging population, and it is projected to increase by 25% as at 2150. Aforementioned has led to long life and thus high life expectancy for Australians. The main reasons for having increased aging population is due to reduced fertility levels. There are strains to maintain safe and affordable health services among other challenges. However, the government has put measures to reduce the pressure such as partnering with companies in industries such as technology, wellness, and fitness.

Overview of Healthcare in Australia

Population profile refers to a chart showing population distribution as a function of their age or sex. Population around the world is increasing yearly. A study by PRB shows Population will continue to grow. The projected increase by 2050 is by 33% i.e. from estimated 7.4 Billion in 2016 to 9.9 Billion (ABS, 2015). "Despite the declines in fertility levels around the globe, population gains is expected to remain high to push us toward a world population of 10 billion," said Jeffrey Jordan, president, and CEO of PRB 2016. Whereas population is increasing the resources available to meet needs of the community are depleting. Global warming is the primary challenge in causing resources depletion. Thus, resources such as health care, food, and water, etc. are straining to meet needs of the growing population (United Nations, 2015).  

Changing Population Profile

Community profile in Australia is increasingly changing; this is increase is a result of immigration from other continents, and also the life expectancy levels are very high. The birth rates are way higher than the death rates. As it may 2017 it was estimated to be 24 billion, and by 2030 it is likely to reach 28billion; with a population density of 3.2persons per km2. The growth rate is at 1.01%as at June 2016 (ABS, 2016).  The median age here is 38, and relatively significant proportion of the population is of aged people, which is well continually increasing. 65 years and above has added from 11.1% in 1990 to 13.6% in 2010. Estimates are that the ratio will increase to 16% by 2016 and 25% by 2051. It has an aging population. 

The healthcare system in Australia is among the cheapest thus affordable in the world. The Department of health and aging ensures good health for Australians and services like the aged and community care services, disability programs, public health initiative, pharmaceutical benefits among others are affordable. There is both public health sector that is funded by the federal government and the private sector partly funded by 2% Medicare levy (Gary et al., 2012).

Impact of population profile changes on health care system

The demographic shift has intensified pressure on health systems, and there are new demands in the health care sector. There are increased expenditures on healthcare, and higher costs spent on older people. Like discussed above, the Australian population is an aging population of 65 years and older. The age bracket is highly prone to cardiovascular diseases. The condition is likely to put an unbearable increased cost in the health sector (PRP, 2016). The cost used in the ageing population is four times that used on other parts of society. Estimates are that aging population will result in almost 50% of the addition in healthcare costs between 2002/03 and 2044/45 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013).

There is a high need to partner with new market entrants. That is to help in financing and delivering health care services. Partners in industries such as technology, fitness, and well-being will ensure health system expands and reshape. Also, the accessibility of technologies that is beneficial to the health sector will ease up. Mobile health gives cost-effective health solutions. The rising middle class will result in increased demands for health options. It is, therefore, more likely to have the private and public sectors collaborating to meet the needs with no strains. Eventually, more innovations are required to address the needs. 

The government is taking part in helping the citizens make better life choices, for example ‘what to eat, how to exercise' this ensures that they are healthier at old age consequently reducing the burden of some chronic diseases that comes with old age, especially. Also improve health by reducing obesity cases, early rehabilitation of drug user and maintain quality and affordable health services. In future, the government wishes to reduce disabilities issue as well. They disabled to contribute to the strain of health expenses, hence mitigating this reduce costs burdens too.

Again, improving the provision of health and aged care services whereby Commonwealth is planning to increase the numbers of qualified and registered nurses and care workers. Aforementioned is because as seen above, age comes with multiple health issues.

 

Major challenges facing the health care system

Like any other developed country, Australia is facing challenges in the health sector. They include demographic changes that come with changes in disease patterns. That has led to strained budget with the highest allocation going to health sectors. However, the government is subsidizing the private health care with expectations that the top income earner swill opts for private hospitals (Bruce et al., 2007).

There is a high cost of new technology. Some of the therapeutic and diagnostic advances like radiology scanners come with a price even if it helps in the management of some diseases. Therefore with the attempt to improve health care services comes the budgetary constraint. Finding cost effective technology is, however, a challenge (Consumer Health Forum of Australia, 2007).

The supply and distribution of health workforce are low. There is a general shortage of health practitioners this has caused them diminish their willingness to work extended hours due to fatigue and need to balance work and family life.

There is the issue of equity and healthy inequalities. Here is whereby, in spite of the massive improvement in health, it is not shared equally among all groups. Example, women are doing better than men, city dwellers are doing better than others. The inequality is likely to cause deeper rifts in the society. Also, there is a difference in the health care received by the affluent as compared to that to the lesser wealthy (Breyer et al., 2010).

There is a rapid growth in global population has led to increased urbanization. Australia has the most urbanized city in the globe. It has caused a challenge n the planning of healthy and sustainable communities e.g. suicide rates have increased.

Finally the issue of modernity paradox, there is a decrease in mortality rates of children. They are not as healthy as they initially were because they have low birth rates, are more prone to obesity and diabetes and other allergies such as asthma. Babies living in the low socioeconomic group are at high risk, and this is a challenge to health.

The relevance of registered nurse in the study

RNs are the primary experts in providing support for older people with complex needs. They usually undergo training to help them execute this role. Therefore with the changing population profile and increasing challenges, there is a need to increase the number of RNs. That ensures that all aging population gets the access to a health care practitioner. Again, with changes in technology, there is a need for new training. Aforementioned is due to the changing roles of nurses. Over the past decades, the responsibilities have changed entirely. Therefore the rising expenses in health sector are due to the training costs are given to the existing RNs as well as to the incoming ones, therefore in as much RN are an economic benefit to society they contribute to increased costs.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there is a great impact on health sector as a result of population profile in Australia. The change is mainly because the population aged 65 years and above is increasing. Age comes with certain chronic diseases and to mitigate the conditions there are cost burdens on health expenditures: expenses to not only acquire RNs and other medical practitioners but also to advance with technology and acquire equipment for therapy and radio activities. There are measures put in place to prevent future impacts such as sensitizing citizens to lead a healthy life with healthy lifestyle choices that can help reduce the burden of old age disease. Again there is an attempt to ensure equal benefits for health across all socioeconomic groups.

 

References

ABS (2015). Population by age and sex, regions of Australia, 2014. ABS cat. no 3235.0.

Canberra: ABS.

ABS (2016). Migration, Australia, 2014–15. ABS cat. no. 3412.0. Canberra: ABS.

Ageing, Australian Government Department of Health (2011). "Extended Medicare Safety Net Review of Capping Arrangements Report Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013). Population projections, Australia, 2012 (base) to ABS cat. no. 3222.0. Canberra: ABS.

Breyer, F., Costa-Font, J., & Felder S. (2010). Ageing, health, and health care. Oxf Rev Econ Policy, 26 (4): 674-690.

Bruce, K., & Armstrong, et al. (2007) Challenges in health and health care for Australia retrieved from https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2007/187/9/challenges-health-and-health-care-australia  on 5 May 2017

Consumer Health Forum of Australia (2007) Current and future health challenges https://ourhealth.org.au/rep-support/australias-health-system/current-and-future-health-challenges#.WQxJ-HtTrIU

Gary, L. & Freed, et al. (2012) Psychological strategies retrieved from PRP (2016 ) World Population Data Sheet retrieved from  https://www.prb.org/Publications/Datasheets/2016/2016-world-population-data-sheet.aspx on 5 May 2017

PRP (2016) World Population Data Sheet retrieved from  https://www.prb.org/Publications/Datasheets/2016/2016-world-population-data-sheet.aspx on 5 May 2017

United Nations, (2015). World population ageing: profiles of ageing 2015. New York: UN.

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