Philosophical Conversations Public Opinion Junk for code
parliament house.gif
Think Tanks
Oz Blogs
Economic Blogs
Foreign Policy Blogs
International Blogs
Media Blogs
South Australian Weblogs
Economic Resources
Environment Links
Political Resources
South Australian Links
"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

health in the headlines « Previous | |Next »
February 29, 2008

Whilst the health ministers meet to discuss the new healthcare agreements Morris Lemma, the Premier of NSW, says that people in NSW is trust their own experience over hysterical headlines. And their experience is of a health service system that is making real progress, a government that is listening to the people who gave the Lemma government a mandate to make changes, and that they can trust Lemma + Co to continue to focus on improving services for families.

NSWhospitals1.jpg Alan Moir

Others argue that we live in a culture of complaint and there is no finer terrain for indignation, loathing and strident sanctimony than the embattled field of health care, despite the fact we are living longer, better and easier, constantly benefiting from advances in surgical science.

The states want an extra $3 billion a year over the next five years to address what they say was a funding shortfall under the previous government.There is also disagreement over what conditions the Commonwealth might attach to any funding to drive reform.

George Jelinek addresses the issues behind the headlines in The Age. He says that for too long we have denied that there is anything wrong with the health system and that there is a need for an open acknowledgement that these problems exist.

Our complex health system is under enormous pressure and these failures happen at the fault lines. At the heart of the problem are the twin pressures generated by a decrease in capacity because of the progressive reduction in the number of inpatient beds in our hospitals, and the increase in demand caused by a pandemic of chronic illness because of unhealthy lifestyles.

So what can we do?
On the demand side, it is time we as a community addressed the growing problem of unhealthy lifestyles. Our reliance on medical care to undo problems once they have developed will be unsustainable as the projected increase in chronic conditions occurs. Our reliance on pharmaceuticals is proving enormously costly to our community and mostly they don't resolve the problems anyway. Prevention is our most effective weapon. Healthy eating, exercise and finding some balance in work and leisure will, in the long-term deliver better results. We need to increase funding for public health programs. We need to promote wellness as an important aim, not just absence of disease. On the capacity side, we have gone too far with rationalising hospital bed numbers. We urgently need more hospital beds, and soon. And we urgently need more alternatives to hospital care. Hospital in the home programs need support and we need many more aged care places.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:36 AM |