Public hospitals report card: falling well short of standards

The results of the AMA’s public hospital review are not positive.

Public hospitals report card: falling well short of standards

The performance of public hospitals around Australia have been reviewed in the The Australian Medical Association 2016 Public Hospital Report Card – and the results aren't positive.

Emergency departments were responsible for some of the most unsatisfactory results. Of primary concern are increasing waiting times. Last year, only 68 per cent of "urgent" emergency patients were seen within half an hour, failing to meet the 80 per cent target set by state governments. Also, just 73 per cent of emergency visits were completed within four hours, well short of the state-designated 90 per cent target.

The number of hospital beds available across the country increased slightly, but not enough to arrest the significant decline in the number of beds per 1000 population aged 65-plus, which is down more than 42 per cent since 1993-94.

There was some positive news though, with elective surgery waiting and treatment times decreasing for the first time since 2009-10. Treatment times fell by a full day from 36 days to 35 days.

Australian Medical Association President Professor Brian Owler noted that most state governments have made significant efforts to decrease waiting times and to reach the standards they have put in place, but every state is struggling to cope with the increased demands of a growing, ageing population.

Professor Owler is also concerned about the funding black hole that states will face from next year, when they are forced by the Federal Government to bear a larger share of health costs.

"In a struggling public hospital system that's failing to meet its performance targets that sort of slowdown in funding growth will mean that they will be under further strain, and I think we'll start to see further clinical services being cut," he said.

Read more from www.abc.net.au

Opinion: Public hospital system in crisis

For the past two decades, the public hospital system in Australia has been failing to keep up with the increase in population. Not only will the population continue to grow significantly over the coming years, but Australians are also living longer, which will no doubt further contribute to the problems facing the public health system.

Planned funding changes which will come into effect next year, will see the states carry a larger share of public health costs. It should come as no surprise that an increased or broadened GST is the most likely way for the government to try to cover these costs.

The men and women who run our public hospitals do an amazing job, but it’s clear from this report that they are understaffed and under-resourced. Let’s hope for all our sakes that the right plan is put in place to resolve the many issues detailed in the AMA’s report.

What do you think? Does the Federal Government need to act swiftly and implement their planned changes so that the state governments have a clearer picture of funding levels for the coming years? Do we need to allocate more money towards funding public hospitals? How would you solve the long-term need for increased funding of public health and hospitals?





    COMMENTS

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    Fiona
    28th Jan 2016
    10:22am
    Last week, following the results of a thyroid test my doctor was concerned that it was too high and tried to contact an endocrinologist at both Dandenong and Monash hospitals for about an hour.
    She was given the run around although she asked for the endocrinologist on call and kept ending back at the front desk, and was told it would be about 6 months before I could see one if she ever managed to speak to one.
    When I said that I had private health cover she rang the Valley private hospital and was put through to one straight away, he sent a script and I am seeing him next week.
    I am a pensioner but wouldn't be without my private cover as you would die in the public system before being treated.
    ray @ Bondi
    28th Jan 2016
    12:53pm
    Yep, for years state and federal governments have been passing the blame back and forth, the public hospital system has been run down and tax payers funds gave been used to prop up the private sector, how much better would the public system be if the money refunded from private hospital rebate was used there
    mareela
    28th Jan 2016
    10:55am
    What would also help our health system is that those who could afford it would take out private health insurance. Having said that some of the health insurance funds do have outrageous fees and are trying to cut Nord and more items that they cover. The other problem is that some specialists charge enormous fees and one wonders about their so called intention to help the sick. At the end of the day you can't take your money with you when you die but one does wonder what some of these specialists actually believe. Some of them are incredibly greedy and care little for sick Australians. On the other hand we have some great, caring and responsible Doctors. We need good government and Australians are certainly not getting that at the moment.
    ray @ Bondi
    28th Jan 2016
    12:57pm
    You must be joking you are joking, it still costs a packet and the headacks with the payments is a nightmare, and please do no call it insurance, insurance covers a person, medical co-payment does not, the hospital, maybe but the medical practitioners charge 4 maybe even 8 times the recommended charges, it is a joke
    veepee
    28th Jan 2016
    1:54pm
    I agree with Ray from Bondi. Co payments made to private specialists can be horrendous. You can be thousands of $ out of pocket despite having top hospital cover.
    Blossom
    28th Jan 2016
    5:32pm
    Even if you have Private Health Insurance, if you go to Private Health Emergency Dept. at the ones in SA, you pay close to $300.00 and can't claim on Medicare or Private Health Fund. Pensioners pay $220.00. Between certain hours at least one of them also only take Heart Attack patient cases. SA Ambulance staff get into so much strife that if they aren't convinced it is a heart attack they won't take a patient there.
    The hospitals simply don't have enough staff to cope with the number of patients who are genuinely ill enough to have to go there by ambulance. In some hospitals when they are full some nurses don't take their full break entitlements because their patients aren't being cared for. Some almost physically run between patients.
    Our health system in SA is going to the dogs. If they implement the changes they are proposing, some hospitals won't take heart attack or stroke patients - they will go to set ones. One of the hospitals that they will be going to can't cope with the number of patients they have now and often divert ambulances to others which is now predicted to take those who may only need other care and possibly day or short stay hospital care. They are however going to have a huge Rehabilitation Centre within it. At that hospital they also have Mental Health patients. They are very often kept Emergency until a bed is available in the Mental Health Wards - can be over 24 hours. The staff in Emergency are not specifically trained for Mental Health, one of the main reasons the Hospitals have so many Security Guards, also drunk and drug affected patients. They often have to have priority treatment while other seriosuly ill patients treatment is sometimes delayed.
    Rae
    28th Jan 2016
    6:26pm
    It would be better if the insurance companies were not taking money out of the system at all.

    How many new hospitals or upgraded hospitals has the government supplied for all the immigrants and migrant workers and students?

    That should have been a priority and new settlers pay a levy to cover medical and education.

    We though the taxes they would pay would cover it but apparently they don't. And the employers are not paying much tax at all even if the immigration is keeping wages low. In fact perhaps wages need to rise. It has been a very long time of belt tightening, don't we get a feast now and then. Higher wages, more taxes, better services.
    veepee
    29th Jan 2016
    12:15pm
    Blossom, they can do this because the alternative is going to a public hospital and waiting for hours. Unfortunately some people misuse the public system and turn up in emergency after hours for minor complaints which they have had for days or weeks or which could wait until the next day. An extremely good system has been implemented in regional Queensland where there is an after hours doctor on call who will come to your home, can provide treatment and medications for less serious conditions and then sends all the information to your own GP. The service is bulkbilled. Great for kids especially. The sad reality is that funding isn't keeping up with population increase or the increasing rates of diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and obesity related conditions. If the government ceased the healthcare rebate and increased the medicare levy for those people on higher incomes instead of exempting them because they have private insurance that would be a start.
    Geographer
    28th Jan 2016
    10:56am
    My experience is quite different to that of Fiona. I do not have private health cover - just my medicare card. I have rarely used medical services in my life but after chest pains I went to emergency at Concord Hospital on a Friday night several weeks back and was seen to immediately. I was kept in the cardiac ward over the week end and then had a stent put in on Monday morning. Medications were prepared and careful advice given for recuperation. The care and professional attention I received was outstanding. I still have to get the all clear from the specialist but even with that expense, the total cost of everything will be less than $500. I am grateful for the wonderful public health system we have in this country.
    I also wonder if the authors of negative reports on the public health system have interests in the private health system.
    particolor
    28th Jan 2016
    11:33am
    You had $500 ? Good onya ! :-)
    KSS
    28th Jan 2016
    12:15pm
    What this shows I think is the differences from state to state and also the effect of a 'real' emergency. In your case Geographer, your condition was potentially immediately life threatening and was dealt with accordingly and appropriately. Fiona on the other hand has a condition that is not immediately life threatening and was not being dealt with in an emergency department and so she had to wait in line for the next available appointment which, whilst sometimes distressing, will not result in death.

    Both you and Fiona are quite right. We have a terrific public health system that is there for us when we really need it even if we have to wait a bit. It is also under funded and under staffed.
    Hasbeen
    28th Jan 2016
    1:10pm
    Yes KSS, heart attacks are handled very quickly. I've had 3, & apart from driving myself to hospital after an hours wait for an ambulance with one, I've been fixed very quickly.

    With a failed knee I waited 3 years without ever seeing a specialist, & would probably still be waiting if I had not saved enough to go private. Unfortunately they don't want to operate unless I have 6 months off the steroids my doctor is using to control the pain, & I can't handle it that long. Catch 22 I guess.

    You are wrong about understaffing. The problem is hordes of administration staff doing nothing useful, & costing money that should be spent on doctors & nursing staff.
    Adrianus
    28th Jan 2016
    1:12pm
    I agree KSS, When you present at the hospital with an ailment doctors grade you. Usually chest pain is an emergency on application. Grades then go from Grade one which is treatment within 30 days etc. I think with some elective surgery you can wait 2-3 years or longer. It's a matter of prioritising to make best use of resources.

    28th Jan 2016
    11:12am
    Stop letting deadbeats into the country, quit sending money overseas to to help other countries who don't reciprocate when Australia needs assistance, strengthen border security to keep contraband out (drugs, guns, etc.) as well as illegal immigrants, and this is just a start at looking at some of the larger issues which drain the coffers that fund the public health system.
    Mygasheater
    28th Jan 2016
    12:46pm
    Eddie who decides who is a deadbeat? What are the criteria are to be used to determine the decree of "Deadbeatedness".

    Name the countries who haven't reciprocated by assisting Australia in our hour of need. (Hint, WW2 Great Britain)

    What is your plan to ensure contraband does not into the country. (Eddie will pay more tax to increase staff ??? )

    What is your plan to catch illegals? (The majority of illegals are visa over stayers such as British and Irish backpackers).(Eddie will pay more tax to increase staff ??? )

    Those draining the public coffers are multinational companies who pay minimal or no tax, millionaires and billionaires who pay little or no tax, corporate welfare in the form of subsides, taxpayer money spent on so called policies implemented to prop up the egos of inadequate politicians.

    BUT the biggest drain the heart and soul of Australia is the people who should know better, who spew the bile of ignorance and bigotry.
    Anonymous
    28th Jan 2016
    1:01pm
    You should channel some of your hot air to do the work of your gas heater. "bile of ignorance and bigotry" HA! You wouldn't even know which way is up, mate.
    veepee
    28th Jan 2016
    2:14pm
    A discussion about health is not the forum for racist and bigoted rant Eddie.
    Anonymous
    28th Jan 2016
    3:57pm
    Deadbeats and illegal migrrants have absolutely nothing to do with racism, veepee. You are about as educated as "gasbag". You wouldn't have a clue. Get a dictionary.
    tj
    28th Jan 2016
    4:41pm
    Agree Eddie that would make a big improvement. Never fails does it?always someone out there spruiking the ''racism card '' to make their own views seem valid in any sort of discussion
    Anonymous
    28th Jan 2016
    5:05pm
    Yes, tj, they are always there, lurking under their lowlife rocks, waiting for a cheap shot. I don't mind being corrected about something I've said, but the two cretins above, who don't even know what words mean (racism, bigotry) should keep their hair-trigger gobs shut and finish their middle school education before trying to make ANY comment.
    veepee
    29th Jan 2016
    1:10am
    BHlthSc, Masters Nursing, Graduate Diploma of Midwifery. Think I've got middle school covered.
    Anonymous
    29th Jan 2016
    9:07am
    And absolutely no common sense nor knowledge of word meanings. You, too, need a dictionary.
    veepee
    29th Jan 2016
    11:57am
    I am well aware of what a bigot is and you definitely qualify being narrow minded and intolerant (of immigrants and 'deadbeats' and anyone who doesn't agree with your very narrow views). As for common sense, I would suggest that people who are broadminded, tolerant of others, especially those who find themselves unfortunate circumstances, have bothered to educate themselves and expand their views by reading and travelling widely and have worked with people on a daily basis from all walks of life and political views, of many races and religions and from all socioeconomic strata is far more likely to display 'common sense' than a person who has displayed narrow views and understanding and contributed nothing to this discussion but diatribe. Do you actually have any views on how our government might improve our public health system?
    veepee
    29th Jan 2016
    11:57am
    I am well aware of what a bigot is and you definitely qualify being narrow minded and intolerant (of immigrants and 'deadbeats' and anyone who doesn't agree with your very narrow views). As for common sense, I would suggest that people who are broadminded, tolerant of others, especially those who find themselves unfortunate circumstances, have bothered to educate themselves and expand their views by reading and travelling widely and have worked with people on a daily basis from all walks of life and political views, of many races and religions and from all socioeconomic strata is far more likely to display 'common sense' than a person who has displayed narrow views and understanding and contributed nothing to this discussion but diatribe. Do you actually have any views on how our government might improve our public health system?
    veepee
    29th Jan 2016
    11:57am
    I am well aware of what a bigot is and you definitely qualify being narrow minded and intolerant (of immigrants and 'deadbeats' and anyone who doesn't agree with your very narrow views). As for common sense, I would suggest that people who are broadminded, tolerant of others, especially those who find themselves unfortunate circumstances, have bothered to educate themselves and expand their views by reading and travelling widely and have worked with people on a daily basis from all walks of life and political views, of many races and religions and from all socioeconomic strata is far more likely to display 'common sense' than a person who has displayed narrow views and understanding and contributed nothing to this discussion but diatribe. Do you actually have any views on how our government might improve our public health system?
    veepee
    29th Jan 2016
    11:57am
    I am well aware of what a bigot is and you definitely qualify being narrow minded and intolerant (of immigrants and 'deadbeats' and anyone who doesn't agree with your very narrow views). As for common sense, I would suggest that people who are broadminded, tolerant of others, especially those who find themselves unfortunate circumstances, have bothered to educate themselves and expand their views by reading and travelling widely and have worked with people on a daily basis from all walks of life and political views, of many races and religions and from all socioeconomic strata is far more likely to display 'common sense' than a person who has displayed narrow views and understanding and contributed nothing to this discussion but diatribe. Do you actually have any views on how our government might improve our public health system?
    veepee
    29th Jan 2016
    11:57am
    I am well aware of what a bigot is and you definitely qualify being narrow minded and intolerant (of immigrants and 'deadbeats' and anyone who doesn't agree with your very narrow views). As for common sense, I would suggest that people who are broadminded, tolerant of others, especially those who find themselves unfortunate circumstances, have bothered to educate themselves and expand their views by reading and travelling widely and have worked with people on a daily basis from all walks of life and political views, of many races and religions and from all socioeconomic strata is far more likely to display 'common sense' than a person who has displayed narrow views and understanding and contributed nothing to this discussion but diatribe. Do you actually have any views on how our government might improve our public health system?
    Paulodapotter
    29th Jan 2016
    12:40pm
    Spoken like a true anthropologist, Fast Eddie. Your insight into human nature should be commended at the highest level. I can't understand why your weren't made Australian of the Year.
    Idontforget
    28th Jan 2016
    11:53am
    Wouldn't it be a better idea if the money that will be spent on becoming a republic be put into the public health system. Any replies need not be a long winded affair, just a simple 'yes' or 'no'
    heyyybob
    28th Jan 2016
    2:17pm
    Yes. YES. Yess !! Yeah. Yup. YEP !! etc :)
    Rae
    28th Jan 2016
    6:30pm
    yes
    Stretch
    28th Jan 2016
    12:12pm
    If a person can afford private health insurance they can afford to pay more tax. Rather than just looking out for themselves and entrenching a two-tiered system where some can afford private health and most can't and the subsequent health care depends on your individual wealth (a common system in underdeveloped countries, the USA and Dickensian England), the tax system should be used to create one health care system for all. Can you imagine how good it would be if Turnbull, Shorten and the like all had to share the same waiting rooms, the same waiting lists? A solution would be found in no time.
    KSS
    28th Jan 2016
    12:33pm
    "If a person can afford private health insurance they can afford to pay more tax."

    Really? Does that include those on a pension who make serious sacrifices to 'afford' private health insurance? Or those with a couple of children and an average wage of say $70,000 a year? Or the single man paying high child and spousal support after a divorce which leaves him with barely enough to afford his own decent accommodation? There would be hundreds of other examples of people with health insurance who struggle to afford it but who choose to do so. They are not rich (whatever that means) and they should not be 'punished' with more tax.

    In case you didn't know, people over the age of 31 are already 'taxed' more for not having private health insurance through the Medicare Levy Surcharge of between 1% and 1.5% depending on income level. In addition they have to pay a premium on the insurance policy of around 2% for each year over the age of 31 they have not held that insurance. 'Taxed' enough I'd say.
    Anonymous
    28th Jan 2016
    12:33pm
    Stretch(ed) the point a little bit too far here. There are a lot of people who have private hospital cover because they are sick and can't afford to wait for public hospital care/treatment. The private cover is taxing enough for them. Have a bit of compassion. Take a stroll through a private ward and you will see bedridden being visited by family and friends who look "dirt poor" and probably are. They don't need to pay more taxes! Your comment is foolish.
    Polly Esther
    28th Jan 2016
    12:17pm
    There is no doubt that some hospitals can make you sick.
    Good health everyone!!
    roy
    28th Jan 2016
    10:38pm
    Vote independent.
    Mygasheater
    28th Jan 2016
    12:20pm
    The Abbott government cut funding to the public health system, $60 billion for NSW, in the 2014 budget. This was part of their strategy to coerce and blackmail the states into agreeing to an increase in the GST.

    In addition, the LNP have a long term policy of dismantling Medicare, which they hate and loathe. This is demonstrated by the removal of a high number of items from the Medicare benefits list. The LNP want to force everyone into the private health sector, providers and insurance companies are significant donars to the LNP.

    If the private health insurance rebate was scrapped and the money saved was redirected to funding the public health system there would be sufficient funding to provide the world class, universal health care system that we should have.

    AND before those who favour the retention of the private health insurance rebate, the rebate is another mechanism whereby taxpayer money is redirected into the profits of insurance companies and their shareholders. It is corporate welfare to multinational insurance companies.
    Stretch
    28th Jan 2016
    12:37pm
    Yep, spot on.
    The motivation by the LNP in keeping insurance companies profitable, both for ideological and electoral donation reasons surely is well known.
    KSS
    28th Jan 2016
    12:47pm
    "This is demonstrated by the removal of a high number of items from the Medicare benefits list."

    High Number? Yes all 23 of them from a list of 5,700 that covers 911 pages!!

    And most of those were items out of date and superceded by more effective items, rarely if ever used items and things such as paracetamol that can be obtained cheaply over the counter.

    And I might add the process was started by the ALP who had identified 156 items to remove but just didn't do it!
    Adrianus
    31st Jan 2016
    1:06pm
    Mygas, you may not be aware, but Public Health funding has not been cut. The $60b you think was cut was only an entry in the forward estimates. A political booby trap planted by the ALP government without funding. Sure Labor banged away with it for some 18 months after the election and gained some political ground. But that ground was lost when Bill Shorten was asked if Labor would spend the fictitious $60b if they were returned. His answer was an emphatic NO!
    Pablo
    28th Jan 2016
    12:24pm
    I have had a VERY different experience with the public hospital system. I have always been seen in what I consider a more than reasonable time frame, and have had to see 8 specialists at my public hospital in the last 3 years. Everyone has been more than professional and I know that I would not have gotten better service in the private health system.

    I live in Townsville so it is a very large hospital with a large catchment area. So, criticism of the public hospital system is not a country wide problem!
    Stretch
    28th Jan 2016
    12:42pm
    That's my experience too. The Austin Hospital has been great for a serious ailment for me.
    For less than serious ailments they and I suspect all public hospitals are far from urgent in responding. Personally I think that is ok. I have forked over the money to a private clinic when I didn't want to wait. A choice that has actually cost me a lot less than paying for health insurance.
    Anonymous
    28th Jan 2016
    3:58pm
    It sounds like you are a real tighta$$.
    veepee
    28th Jan 2016
    12:40pm
    Why doesn't the government stop propping up the health insurance industry with the premium rebate and put the money saved into the public hospital system. Furthermore, why are they subsidising hospital beds in private hospitals, many of which are owned by said health funds. For too long we have been blackmailed into having private health insurance which becomes increasingly expensive. Many private doctors demand co-payments (obstetricians and anaesthetists being the worst offenders) so even after paying private insurance many people are paying out thousands for the privilege of having private insurance in government subsidised private hospitals. And as we get older we find that services like joint replacements and cardiac care procedures are only covered by the most expensive policies, so many people with private insurance are still having to use the public system for those anyway. So stop propping up the private system and give us a first class public system. If the wealthy still want private insurance or private care that is their prerogative, but it should not come at taxpayers' expense or at the expense of the public system. In a real emergency such as a cardiac event it is far more sensible to go public anyway.
    ray @ Bondi
    28th Jan 2016
    1:01pm
    Here here
    roy
    28th Jan 2016
    10:40pm
    You mean hear hear not here here.
    Big Kev
    28th Jan 2016
    12:50pm
    Two things. Firstly in the reports of the Australian Health Care Standards review of all hospitals, a public hospital in Qld topped the audits across Australia and Public Hospitals in general had better reports than private hospitals. Secondly, public hospitals do have a funding issue. Under the last Labor Govt, hospital funding was increased to medical CPI. This figure as recorded by ABS is normally about 5% higher than normal CPI. Under Abbott this funding was quietly changed back to normal CPI meaning that Australia's public hospitals are being cheated of funding causing waiting list delays!
    veepee
    28th Jan 2016
    2:07pm
    It is very true that countries with universal health care (that is essentially free public hospitals) such as UK, Canada and Australia have far better health outcomes than those which don't such as the USA. Furthermore the cost of healthcare as a percentage of GDP is far less in countries with universal healthcare. And yet successive governments have progressively been dismantling the public system justifying it with the misguided argument that we can't afford it and people should pay for their own care. Do we really want a system like the US where people without health cover are refused admission into most hospitals? Their private insurers also charge ridiculous amounts and we constantly hear stories of how people who have had private insurance find themselves not covered when they need it at the whim of the insurer. Whatever one's political leanings, I'm sure that the overwhelming number of Australians would agree that the introduction of Medicare and a universal health system by Labor was a brilliant piece of social and health policy, and we should be fighting to keep it.
    roy
    28th Jan 2016
    10:41pm
    veepee, let's keep the red flag flying high.
    veepee
    29th Jan 2016
    1:02am
    Mick I have worked in the public system for many years and have researched health systems and their efficacy for post graduate studies. Universal health systems are hands down the most effective and it is exactly your attitude, which is shared by the Republicans in the US with their scaremongering and fear of socialised health care that has stopped them from having a decent health system. I'm not saying any side of politics is perfect but if you aren't educated enough to understand the facts or man enough to admit that the universal health system introduced by Labor was very good policy then keep your snide and unproductive comments to yourself and by all means pay for private health care and be ripped off by the private system. A good public health system benefits everyone (apart from the greedy doctors in the private health system), regardless of their political beliefs.
    Stretch
    28th Jan 2016
    12:59pm
    If a person is paying private health insurance they can afford to do so because it is not compulsory to pay for private health insurance. They have chosen this. The public health system is required to take in all comers who turn up at their doors. Those who pay private health insurance may not like having to wait their turn as every one else has to.
    And by the way KSS (...men who have to pay child and spousal support) Australia does not have Alimony laws. They went out decades ago. There is child support only - which was capped under the Howard Govt who capped the amount payable by high income fathers. Daddy may be very, very rich but his children can be kept in very modest or poor circumstances.
    Anonymous
    28th Jan 2016
    5:12pm
    Stretch, you continue to confirm you may have gotten your moniker from stretching your dollars, and if you were any tighter you'd squeak. It is not good to judge others by your own frugality and meagre existence.
    heyyybob
    28th Jan 2016
    2:21pm
    Awwww Jeez !! You people make me sick !!! Nah, only kidding. I hope we all enjoy good health as long as we can and do our best, in our lifestyles, to make sure it does continue. Cheers :)
    MICK
    28th Jan 2016
    2:46pm
    AT the risk of making the normal point which side of politics has sucked money out of the hospital system? And everything else pertaining to ordinary people?
    veepee
    28th Jan 2016
    2:59pm
    Which side of politics started the dismantling of public healthcare and brought in private health insurance rebates?
    Polly Esther
    28th Jan 2016
    3:07pm
    I'm fairly sure they both have when given the opportunity, it's enough to make you feel sick mick. Good health to you!!
    roy
    28th Jan 2016
    10:43pm
    Vote independent.
    SKRAPI
    28th Jan 2016
    2:50pm
    It stands to reason that hospitals R having all the above probs. dhortage of beds , longer delays in treatment etc., etc., Our population is increasing all the time , & Migrants / refugees R being brought in . We just need more hospitals One I Know of was built in SOUTHPORT Qld. but the old one I believe was pulled down .
    We used to build new hospitals , It's time big Cos. paid a proper % of tax If they R now within the law, so change the laws It's our Country & tell the U.N. to but out After all they can't manage their own affairs in Europe. Globalisation favours only the very wealthy .Our Govs. should MAN UP.
    net
    28th Jan 2016
    3:13pm
    Try living in the ACT my husband had to pay up front before his surgeon would operate a few months ago. Non of our doctors bulk bill here in ACT unless you go to a cattle station clinic.
    roy
    28th Jan 2016
    10:43pm
    Vote independent.
    Brue
    28th Jan 2016
    3:22pm
    Australia has to start taxing multi nationals. England just clamped down on Google in their country and are now reaping in hundreds of millions in tax from Google. Other countries are starting to do the same, except Australia of course. The hundreds of millions from multi national companies would help fix our health system. If only we had agovernment with the guts to tax them, ah well I can dream can't I.
    Chris B T
    28th Jan 2016
    3:24pm
    My experience with RB&WH is there seems to be no in between, that is the staff are very good others very very bad. Thats Doctors,Nurse Managers, Nurses' and auxilary staff.
    Now thats not any Govnerments fault but management.
    When I say I seen and experience the worst, I was lucky to get out alive.
    I had Doctors and nurses of other departments apologising for the behaviour and THAT LOUD MOUTH SIGN THEY SHOW SHOULD APPLY TO THEM AS WELL.
    Mine was cancer.
    Just because you are having a bad moment,day, year or life.If it is to much getout.
    Find something else, hospitals are for sick people, not to be mad worse by bad behaviour of some.
    Lotty
    28th Jan 2016
    4:47pm
    The RPA daylasis clinic in Newtown is disgusting Dirty and cockroaches everywhere this suppose to be clean .Some of the nurses are rude and have been reported many times .They suppose to move the newclinic but stopped .The government have stopped the funding for it .
    Not Senile Yet!
    28th Jan 2016
    4:57pm
    You all are missing the obvious......as the Population increases.....so too should the funding for Public Health and Hospitals....obvious eh what?????
    But instead the Libs have cut their the federal funding....leaving the states short!!!!1
    Worse still the Current Liberal Puppet Govt does not believe in Public anything.....they want everything PRIVATE.....so it is in their Party Policy interests to CUT FUNDING by blaming anything & everything but THEIR Political witch hunt to destroy or sell off any and everything Public in the name of saving expenditure!!!
    The States blame the Federal Govt when it suits and Visa Versa!!!
    This has happened over 20Yrs now.
    Neither Party will agree to a long term Plan with long term funding
    although it appears to be the Libs the most at fault...labor also play this blame game and the end result is instability in funding!!!!
    If you know your Political History....then every time the libs get in ....funding to Public hospital system gets cut...without exception!!!
    Every time Labor off a long term funding plan .....the libs to any deal with anyone to Block it!!
    Time to vote all these Blamers and Part Puppet MP's OUT PERMANENTLY from OUR Parliament!!!!
    STOP Voting for the Monkeys and Puppets of the Large Parties .....they are corrupting OUR System.....they are trying to turn us into the USA.....being ALL Private Enterprise!!!!
    We are Australia.....and it is not Communism to have OUR Government Budget for and Provide Health & Welfare to the less fortunate.....It is Mateship.....it is looking out for others in OUR Society!!!!
    Bugger You I am Alright....kind attitude ......is Un-Australian!!!!!
    Blossom
    28th Jan 2016
    5:43pm
    The majority of our taxes go to the Federal Govt. GST goes to the Federal Govt.The State Govts. run their own Health Care.

    I know somebody who worked in USA. If you don't have health insurance you simply don't get treatment. If you travel there you must have travel insurance to get medical treatment

    28th Jan 2016
    4:58pm
    I remember a time when most people had private health insurance and health insurance was broadly affordable, and covered the costs incurred when illness or injury struck. Now, private health funds charge outrageous fees and don't cover much at all - leaving the insured heavily out of pocket for ''gap'' fees that often could be avoided by simply going public. Meanwhile the funds offer ludicrous benefits like discounts on expensive sports shoes, tickets to SeaWorld and movie nights, gym memberships, etc.

    At the same time, we have a ludicrous situation where people have to get expensive referrals to multiple costly specialists and make expensive repeat visits for no better purpose than to collect a routine script renewal or a test result that confirms there's nothing wrong.

    If we got back to basics, we could slash health care costs and health insurance costs and create a system that services the genuine needs of the sick and disabled without delivering huge incentives for people who can afford insurance to opt out of the system.

    It's simply absurd that someone with expensive insurance pays more out of their own pocket for essential treatment if they opt to call on that insurance than they would if they chose not to claim, but to allow the taxpayer to foot the bill.

    I cancelled my health insurance years ago when I had two identical surgeries performed a few months apart. The first, in a private hospital, cost me thousands above and beyond what my insurer paid and I got appallingly bad treatment. The second, in a public hospital, cost me nothing and the treatment was first class. Go figure!
    Adrianus
    31st Jan 2016
    1:33pm
    Good Post Rainey!
    SKRAPI
    28th Jan 2016
    7:18pm
    I thought I took 2 of my heart tabs 1 night rang nurse No. told I;d best go 2 hosp was monitored all night by caring nurses & night Dr. Felt Ok wanted to go home in early AM. Dr said U have 2 wait till 3pm so we R sure all is Ok. Enter daily Ward sister said I suppose U R expecting breakfast & lunch ?. Not understanding & forgettting I'd had breakfast I said yes. He said well U can go home now . What I thlught was not so good was my breakfast was a plate of rice bubbles that was Ok. plus a knife butter small packet & a slice of white bread on a tray no plate . How very unhygenic Naturally I didn't eat the bread was told someone had complained the toast was burnt so no toast now . Don't go to hosp. if U R old U R taking up bed space
    roy
    28th Jan 2016
    10:46pm
    You need to go back to school SKRAPI if you ever went that is.
    veepee
    29th Jan 2016
    12:26pm
    Sorry you had that experience SKRAPI and there is no excuse for staff to be rude. There has obviously been a miscommunication between nursing and medical staff, and maybe the nurse had worked until late the previous night or had a heavy workload, but no excuse for them to be anything but caring. Hospital is an environment in which staff are comfortable and know the routine - for most patients that is not the case and they aren't game to stand up for themselves. Please don't stop asking for help and advice when you need it. Double dosing meds is not uncommon, especially when you have a few different ones and some look similar. Hope you have a webster pack or similar now :)
    Paulodapotter
    29th Jan 2016
    12:54pm
    Always wise to have an advocate when you go into hospital, if you can find one. When you're sick, you're at your most vulnerable.
    ray @ Bondi
    28th Jan 2016
    11:44pm
    about 20 years ago half the hospitals were closed with no replacements, what do you expect from goverments of all walks that only want to keep their trough full. talk about the ending of the age of entitlement, which also covers health, but not for the protected politicians.
    Stretch
    29th Jan 2016
    6:46am
    I have never seen such a level of deliberate insult, racism and abuse by some who disagree with the opinion of others in one of these discussions. I am referring to KSS, Fast Eddie, tj and mick. Maybe you could enlighten everyone else as to why?
    veepee
    29th Jan 2016
    12:37pm
    Haven't seen anything constructive from them either.
    Paulodapotter
    29th Jan 2016
    12:55pm
    It's half the fun. 'ave a go ya mug!
    SKRAPI
    29th Jan 2016
    10:27am
    LoL Don't U understand abbreviations mick ?? Perhaps U need 2 go back 2

    school
    Paulodapotter
    29th Jan 2016
    12:59pm
    I like that SKRAPI. There's nothing like a bit of self delusion unless it's bad for your health. We delude ourselves if we think we have one of the best health systems. Places like Holland and Germany make us look like hillbillies.
    veepee
    29th Jan 2016
    1:27pm
    As does Sweden and they pay a lot more tax than we do for the privilege. In some of those countries the aged pension is also high enough that people don't need to worry about superannuation, also because of high taxes. But try telling that to the Australian public and you'd get the anti socialist rhetoric spewed by the ill informed. So one step at a time and lets do what we can within reason.
    Paulodapotter
    29th Jan 2016
    2:08pm
    Yes, the Dutch get slugged a lot more than we do for their health care. Unlike Aussies (until they get really sick) the Dutch understand that nothing else matters when you're on your last leg. Those that don't get hit by "the bus" understand that all too well.
    Adrianus
    31st Jan 2016
    1:34pm
    I was talking recently to an uninsured young person who needed a tonsillectomy. Her research revealed the following options.

    The public health system will get to it in 2-3 years (if ever) at no additional cost on top of the Medicare levy.

    Insurance would cost $3,000 and include an exclusion period of 12 months for a pre-existing condition.

    Private would cost $3,500 and can be done almost immediately.

    Can someone explain why this person is paying $1600 pa Medicare levy?
    veepee
    31st Jan 2016
    2:24pm
    The main problem is not the medicare levy but the amount of private health insurance rebates paid each year by the government to encourage people to take out private insurance. That amounts to $6 billion a year according to the health minister in a news report recently. The government also subsidises beds in private hospitals, many of which are owned by said Private Health insurance companies. If we just had medicare paid for by the levy, and people who could afford to paid their own health insurance the government would have would $6billion more to put into the public health system, and waiting times would not be so long. The real travesty is that, even with private insurance people are often out of pocket to the tune of $thousands if they have procedures done privately because of copayments to obscenely greedy and wealthy private Specialists. Because of that, many people who have private health insurance can't afford to go private for their procedures but instead have procedures done in the public system. Some use their private insurance to have a specialist of their choice and are often given a single room if available, but others don't even do that. The government keeps saying we can't afford public hospitals - what we can't afford is to subsidise wealthy private insurers and specialists. As I have said elsewhere in this forum, there is a huge amount of evidence that universal healthcare not only has better health outcomes but also costs the country less than private health.
    Adrianus
    31st Jan 2016
    3:47pm
    veepee, When the 30% rebate was introduced the proportion with private health insurance rose from 38% in 1998 to 51% in 2001.
    If private cover suddenly had a 27% -37% increase in premiums, what makes you think that there will be no drop off of perhaps similar proportion?
    This could reduce the $6b gain significantly and also redirect another 13% or more to the public system?
    A double whammy if you like, placing even greater strain on the public system?
    Do my thoughts make any sense?
    My thoughts are that the problem lies not necessarily in the level of funding but in the lack of cooperation between Federal and State concerns. Perhaps it's more of a systems error.
    veepee
    31st Jan 2016
    7:44pm
    What I am saying is if we didn't have a rebate that would be 6 billion immediately returned to the coffers.
    Any drop off in those with private insurance, perhaps due to insurance premium increases would mean that less money would be directed into the rebates - for instance a 20% reduction in people being insured should return 1.2 billion to the government.
    There is a double whammy at the moment because people are receiving the rebate but then not being able to afford to go private because of co payments so are contributing to the backup in the system. That is the fault of greedy private specialists who charge massive fees.
    We have been blackmailed into having private insurance because of the threat of having a decreased rebate if we leave it until we are over 30 to insure. In fact the rebate has been reduced over the years and is now considerably less than 30%. For a person over 65 the rate is 25% and if under 65 it is less and is being decreased. I discovered that when having a discussion with BUPA about decreasing our health cover. And the rebate is not a percentage of your total hospital cover but of Basic Hospital cover.
    We need to go back to square one, no rebates, people who can afford it can have private insurance but neither they, nor the private hospitals should expect to be subsidised. And Specialists should be brought to task for their charges but that is another matter - the AMA is a law unto itself.
    Chrissy
    6th Feb 2016
    10:51am
    I have worked in the public health system across Australia for most of my working life and I am now approaching 60. The advance in technology is breathtaking and the qualification of staff is world class but the caring is dissolving with the staff being constantly faced with more cost cutting and insistence of finding quicker ways of doing things. The stress across the health sector (as there probably is in other public sectors such as education) is huge. As an Australian I do NOT want to see a higher GST although if they have to I would only vote for it IF they didn't place it on food, health care and education. What I would like to see is an instant doubling of the Medicare levy instead of an increase in the GST.
    Adrianus
    6th Feb 2016
    11:24am
    Chrissy, thanks for your post. It's always great to hear the view of someone on the front line.
    A few doctors I have talked with recently are very excited by the advances in science and technology, provided new ways of treating killer diseases.
    I don't like to talk about this in the same post but I recently noticed that private insurers donate heavily to ALP and LNP. I wonder why?