Health System Review Must Be Based on the Medical Model, Not the Economic Model
Apr 21, 2005 - 5:11:38 PM

AMA President, Dr Bill Glasson, said today that the overarching review of the Australian health system suggested in yesterday's Productivity Commission Inquiry Report must put the medical model ahead of the economic model if Australian patients are to continue to have equitable access to affordable quality health services.

Dr Glasson said the priorities must be patient care, hospitals, doctors and nurses - not debits, credits and cost-shifting and blame-shifting between the Commonwealth and the States.

"As we have seen this week, the focus of Government health policy has been cost-cutting at the expense of what is best for Australian patients, especially the poorest and the sickest.

"You have to be very wary when the big health policy pronouncements are coming from the Treasurer, the Treasury and the Productivity Commission – you know it's going to be more about bean counts than blood counts.

"It is important that decisions and actions that affect human health are driven by a desire to improve healthcare delivery, not bureaucratic attempts to control costs.

"We have got to remember that Australia has a commendable healthcare system that is the envy of many countries around the world.

"There are areas that need to be improved and there are ways to achieve this, but cost-cutting for the sake of it is not an answer – especially not in health.

"The Government must recognise that healthcare is not just a cost; it is an investment that produces a healthier population.

"As our population ages and faces more complex and multiple health concerns, it is important that we utilise our health dollars more wisely to take the pressure off the hospital and aged care sectors.

"To achieve this, any review must be about the medical infrastructure and the medical workforce first and foremost.

"And the emphasis must be on public hospitals, community care, sub-acute care and aged care," Dr Glasson said.

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