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health reform « Previous | |Next »
November 2, 2007

Improved after-hours healthcare---ie., after-hours GP services--- is an important policy step and both parties have embraced it. It deals with an equity issue---proving after hours access for the working class who want to see doctors and so ease the burden on the hospitals.

Steve Bell

Larger problems face both parties' plans, in particular the medical workforce shortage, which means any new centres will inevitably struggle to find staff. So what is needed is a national strategic health plan. However, Abbott, and the Howard Government don't see the need for health reform, and are they content to merely increase the number of Medicare items. So the states are pushing ahead their strategic planning and reforms on their own and leaving the Commonwealth isolated.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:31 AM | | Comments (4)


another example of me-tooism--this time the Coalition copies the ALP GP superclinic plan. Is there any difference between theirs version of after hours health care?

Is the difference boiling down to swapping Howard for Rudd. That 's all time for a change means?

What are we changing to apart from this swap?

This idea has been trialed by various health services for five years or more.It's not me
-tooism. Its bipatisan agreemnt that its a good idea and that it has been demonstrated to be helpfull. Whatis wrong with that? Do politicians have to dream up policies that have to be different from each other? Surely what we need is the best solution no matter who thought of it.
There are some problems. To make it work in rural areas, as things are at present, means that health workers will have to work even longer hours.Most of the available doctors are practising GPs already overworked. Where there are available qualified graduate doctors, not yet able to work as GPs,but who can work in certain supervised situations such clinics are likely to be more successful. We need to see a better distribution of medical schools. Perhaps as John Menadue has advocated we also need to examine how we use our trained health workers.A redistribution of responsibilities might provide relief all round.

to some the extent the health workforce issue has come back to bite the Coalition as it cut back on university medical places in the 1990s.

Still, with the recent increases there won't be enough GP's---so there is a need to utilize other health professionals who are primary care practitioners.


It seems to me that even if funding was no object, nothing could fix all of our problems in less than about a decade. Staffing wise, that is. We'd still be left with the institutionalised problems of sluggish administration and poor cultures like the ones that protect incompetent surgeons.

By the way, researching tall poppy syndrome recently I found that the best research in the area is done in education and health, where teachers and nurses with specialist training are regularly subjected to bullying. New Zealand is ahead of us on that research. Just thought you'd like to know.

Anyhoo, is it true that we could go a long way towards fixing staff shortages if health professionals at the community level of GPs and nurses were paid better? It's true of primary school teachers and childcare workers. The people at the everyday, dogs body, coal face end of things being ignored.