Measured approach welcomed but long-term vision essential

Thursday, December 14, 2023

‘This holiday season, Australians are feeling cost of living pressures more than ever, and the impact of these pressures on health is significant,’ says Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) Acting Chief Executive Rebecca Haddock.

It is important to recognise that Australia’s population is ageing and the number of people living with chronic illness is greater than at any other time in history.

‘Rapidly increasing financial pressures have resulted in many Australians delaying or forgoing necessary medical treatment,’ continued Adj AProf Rebecca Haddock.

‘This has had a particularly devasting effect on those who are least likely to be able to afford out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Affordability is also a barrier when it comes to medications.’

‘While AHHA welcomes the government’s measured approach to this Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) budget, including the redistribution of investments to continue funding for strengthening Medicare, increasing access to medications and implementing NDIS and aged care reforms, a long-term vision for health system reform must underpin investments allocated in next year’s full budget to ensure entrenched problems within the healthcare system are finally addressed.

‘With many health policy consultations and reviews completed, wrapping up or just getting underway, there will be no shortage of policy recommendations for the government to consider and implement.

‘We hope that next year’s budget includes investments in structural health system reforms that will incentivise service provision to provide value over volume.

‘These reforms should be underpinned by a collaborative, integrated health workforce, enabled by digital tools and health information technologies that empower person-centred care and is able to meet population health needs.

‘Financial consideration must also be given to national dental health policies, as this is long overdue.’

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) is the independent peak membership body and advocate for the Australian healthcare system and a national voice for universally accessible, high quality healthcare in Australia. 

Media enquiries: Adj AProf Rebecca Haddock, Acting Chief Executive, AHHA