Australian Healthcare System Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Medibank was a fund through which, the patients could get 85% of their medical bills back. This service was made optional but then the labors government converted it into Medicare, which is still an important component of the Australian healthcare system. (Healy & Sharman et al., 2006)

In addition, the demographic factors also affect the design of the system. As the healthcare system covers all the citizens, the demographic factors have a significant influence on the system. The population of Australia is increasing significantly with the estimates of population increasing each year. Therefore, the system has to introduce extensive services and subsidies. In order to cope up with the increasing population, the healthcare system faces a need to expand itself. (Commonwealth of Australia-Department of Ageing, 2009)

Moreover, there would be a need for more hospitals, doctors and medical institutions. The system incorporates all these bodies and therefore it may have to amend its design in order to adjust the ever-increasing demand of healthcare. The federal, state and local government introduces new and improved policies in order to maintain equality in the system of provision of healthcare. (Commonwealth of Australia-Department of Ageing, 2009)

Apart from the demographic factors, the economic factors also play a vital role in determining the design of the healthcare system of Australia. As mentioned earlier, the healthcare system gives direct healthcare services and reimbursements. In order to determine the amount of services and reimbursements, the government has to keep in mind the economical factors. The amount of funds allocated to the healthcare system determines whether any new bodies are introduced into its design and whether the old ones are going to get more funds or not. (Commonwealth of Australia-Department of Ageing, 2009)

If the government allocates a greater amount of funds for the system, then some new bodies may be introduced and the previous ones might also get more funds as well. A strong economic condition means that the system will be able to provide more services to the people and will improve the quality of the current services as well. The design of Australian healthcare system shows that it has sufficient amount of funds which, it uses to develop and introduce services. (Commonwealth of Australia-Department of Ageing, 2009)

Apart from that, the performance and design of the healthcare system is also dependent on the burden and amount of diseases on the system. A healthy community reflects the good performance of the healthcare system but a community that does not fare well on health, also creates problems for the system. The design of the system may include more services if the diseases prevailing the community are lesser in number as the system will save more funds to spend on diversified services. (Commonwealth of Australia-Department of Ageing, 2009)

On the other hand, the disease burden is high, then the system will have to channel more funds into tacking those diseases and therefore it will not be able to provide a wide range of services. The Australian healthcare system provides a fair range of services which shows that the burden of disease on the system is low. This, however, is changing and the WHO indicates that the burden of chronic diseases is increasing worldwide and Australia will be affected by it. (Commonwealth of Australia-Department of Ageing, 2009)

The healthcare workforce of Australia also affects the design of Australian healthcare system. The availability of workers, nurses and doctors has a direct impact on the policies and the design of the system. As mentioned earlier, majority of doctors are engaged in providing private healthcare services and only some of them are indulged in public sector. This influences the design of the system as workers and staff are needed to start a new project or enact a new policy. (Commonwealth of Australia-Department of Ageing, 2009)

The healthcare workforce of Australia has increased since 1996 and therefore, the government can take on new projects and enact new designs as well. The current system also shows that the workforce has increased as the government now also offers new services such as dental care. (Commonwealth of Australia-Department of Ageing, 2009)

The aforementioned factors influence the design of the Australian healthcare system. The system itself works smoothly but there are a few discrepancies that are discussed later in the paper.

Current Issues Faced by the System

The Australian healthcare system is faced with many issues that should be tackled in order to ensure the smooth working of the system. The first issue is the human rights and ethics issue. The human rights declaration after the world war 2 has specified a set of rules which should be followed universally. There are a few services offered by the health care system that contradict the basic human rights. These services are abortion, cloning, euthanasia and etcetera. In addition to that, the Australian healthcare system should also pay attention to the problem of discrimination and tackle it. (Leeder, 1999)

Secondly, medical technology is another important issue that the Australian healthcare system should take care of. Although the medical technology has made vast improvements in the field and many diseases can now be diagnosed and cured efficiently but there is a drawback to this feature. The medical technology used in Australia consists of X-RAY, MRI, PET and CAT. (Leeder, 1999)

These technological equipment make the cost of medical process very high. As these machines are very expensive to buy and operate, they incur high costs that then increase the overall cost of medication. In addition, some of the new technology has given birth to the ethical issues that are faced by the system. Moreover, the availability of these services is not necessary in all medical institutions. This irregular availability eventually leads to discrimination and exacerbates the issue of human rights. (Leeder, 1999)

Moreover, the effectiveness of the new technology is also considered. The evaluation of the benefits that these pieces of technology bestow upon us against the costs they incur can be performed in order to develop a straight thought of continuing or stopping the use of technology. The Australian government set up a Medical Services Advisory Committee. The duty of this committee is to advise the government, after careful evaluation, about the use of this new technology. (Leeder, 1999)

Apart from that, the system should also be concerned about complementary and alternative services. Complementary services are those which work along the conventional medicine whereas alternative service serve as an entirely different option. (Leeder, 1999)

The government should be concerned about these services as the consequence of these services can be beneficial or disadvantageous to the health of an individual. The officials controlling health policies should assess these services and allow only the ones that benefit the patient. In this way, the overall health of the people and eventually the position of the system will be improved. (Leeder, 1999)

Another issue that the Australian healthcare system is faced with is the environmental health. The health of environment directly affects the health of the populace as the water and air we take in from the environment should be clean for us to be healthy. The physical and biological factors of the environment are equally important for the health of individuals. The government should pay attention to these factors to ensure a healthy population. (Leeder, 1999)

The major environmental problems in Australia are emergencies such as fires, extreme climatic changes, impure water supplies and rapid urbanization. These issues have made environment a consideration for the healthcare system and for the government. The Australian government and the healthcare department relies on several reports in order to obtain and process the statistics and facts about environment. (Leeder, 1999)

In order to control the environmental issues, the Federal Environmental Health Committee established a strategy to serve as a guideline for the environmental management of the country. Despite the fact that environment affects the health of people, the healthcare sector had little say in environmental problems. This strategy also aims to increase the participation of the health care department in the environmental health issues. (Leeder, 1999)

Most of the Australian population lives in rural areas but still there is a considerable amount of people living in rural and remote areas. These rural areas have a good lifestyle but there are several challenges related to it when it comes to healthcare. The lower socioeconomic status of the rural population, which is a direct consequence of illiteracy, makes it difficult for the people to pay the medical expenses even after the concession. (Leeder, 1999)

In addition the environment of these rural areas carries greater risks for the injured and ill people. As these rural areas are mainly located in dry and barren areas, the diseases and injuries are exacerbated quickly. This in turn creates problems for the healthcare systems as they are left with more injuries to cope with. (Leeder, 1999)

Furthermore, the people in remote rural areas do not have access to full health facilities. They…

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