Dr Arn Sprogis

It is clear that the Australian healthcare system is in the first stages of a major disruption - the scale of which will be as great or greater than the impact of Medibank more than 30 years ago. 

This disruption is being driven by the need to resolve the two great health challenges of our time - how to best manage chronic and complex care and avoidable hospital admissions, and who should do so.  

While 30 years ago, the disruption was driven by clear Federal Government policy, today it is happening in an environment of confused, absent or complete withdrawal of government policymaking.

Image courtesy of The Conversation

The May 2014 Budget was the first of the Abbott government's and outlined a new vision for Australia's future. It was a marked departure from previous Budgets under both Labor and Liberal governments.

The Liberal Party 2013 election campaign highlighted both the economic and political failures of the minority Gillard/Rudd government. Under Tony Abbott the Liberal party ran a very disciplined campaign. Oppositions don't win elections, governments lose them. Everyone knew what a Liberal government would do. It would stop the boats, end the waste, scrap the carbon tax and there would be no new taxes. 

As with previous changes of governments, the first six months was spent looking at possible ways for implementing the new Liberal policies. A number of audits and review were undertaken but very few of these were made public. When the option for reintroducing a six dollar co-payment was raised in late 2013, it seemed unlikely that it would ever be implemented. Such a scheme had been tried previously under the Hawke Labor government but had been abandoned within a few months. The money saved was insufficient for the political pain it caused. 

It was with some surprise come Budget night that we were presented with a seven dollar co-payment ... but with a couple of wrinkles.  

So It’s Cancer: now what?  Ranjana Srivastava  Penguin $29.99 (published on 23 July 2014)

 

In the same way that this book’s title poses a question, another might be whether patients and their supporters need another advice manual on how to cope with a cancer diagnosis and participate in the management of their condition.

In this case, the answer is a resounding yes, as the author, Melbourne-based oncologist and communicator Dr Ranjana Srivastava combines her clinical expertise and experience, and an excellent facility with words.

 

NCML CEO, Vahid Saberi

Government should “reinforce general practice as the cornerstone of integrated primary health care, to ensure patient care is optimal” – Review of Medicare Locals

 It took just a 16-page report and a stroke of the Federal Treasurer’s pen to end the life of the 61 Medicare Locals that were established in 2011-2012 to improve the coordination and integration of primary health care in Australian communities.

Dr Judy Singer

The support of Health Service Managers (HSMs) is vital to enabling complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to play an appropriate role in providing Integrative Health Care (IHC) for patients/clients accessing hospital and community-based services.