p>The OECD Health Care Quality Review of Australia has highlighted the need for greater investment in primary care to tackle the rise in chronic disease, again exposing the stupidity of the Liberal Government’s ongoing attacks on general practice.
The OECD Health Care Quality Review of Australia has highlighted the need for greater investment in primary care to tackle the rise in chronic disease, again exposing the stupidity of the Liberal Government’s ongoing attacks on general practice.
The report exposes the Liberal lies about Australia’s healthcare system used to justify its health cuts and GP Tax, finding we have a relatively efficient system which delivers among the world’s best health outcomes.
“Australia compares favourably to its OECD peers on many indicators of health. At 82.2 years, life expectancy is the sixth highest in the OECD. Australia has the fourth lowest smoking rate in the OECD of 12.8%, and the heart disease mortality rate is well below the OECD average. The country’s breast cancer five-year survival rate of 88% is behind that of only Sweden, the United States, Norway and Finland.
Australia achieves good health outcomes relatively efficiently, with health expenditure at 8.8% of GDP.”
In line with most other developed nations, the report warns Australia’s ageing population will lead to a growing burden of chronic disease.
But instead of GP taxes and a rebate freeze designed to drive patients away from primary care and cut health spending, the report specifically recommends Australia “emphasise the role of general practitioners (GPs) as care coordinators for patients with chronic conditions.”
The report backs up the findings earlier this year of the National Health Performance Authority (NHPA) that general practice remains the most efficient and cost effective part of the health system.
Despite this the Turnbull Government is pressing on with its four year freeze on Medicare rebates for general practice, a move deliberately designed to drive down bulk billing, force doctors to raise fees and end universal access to Medicare.
Having ripped $60 billion out of hospitals, and billions more out of preventive and community health programs, the government is now trying to rip another $270 million from the Medicare Safety Net, hurting some of the sickest and must vulnerable patients.
Labor showed that a government committed to Medicare can deliver an affordable and sustainable health system without making pensioners and families pay a tax every time they need a doctor.
Labor also provided the Commonwealth leadership advocated by the OECD through our landmark national Health and Hospitals agreement.
As the OECD report makes clear, Australia has a world class health system, delivering great outcomes more efficiently than many similar nations.
Australia does not need more health cuts, but proper investment in primary care to protect our health system from the looming increases in chronic care.