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Health, Fitness and Wellbeing

Medicare $7 co-payment policy to be changed.

73182ddced62500d937fc07a3f9fd42cFederal Health Minister Peter Dutton has confirmed the Government's abandonment of the GP co-payment announced in its May budget will be short-lived, with "different options" already being considered to replace it.

Sources have told the ABC the original $7 co-payment will be dropped by the end of the year as part of what the Prime Minister calls a "barnacle clearing" exercise.

But the Government remains committed to a policy of "price signalling" on Medicare services.

"We are not ruling in or out different options that might be available to the Government and we are determined to send a price signal to make Medicare sustainable," Mr Dutton said.

The Minister would not be drawn on what "different options" were being considered.

Results released for survey of 35,000 patients of NSW public hospitals

roger-brighton-img2The Bureau of Health Information (BHI) today reported the results of a patient survey involving more than 35,000 patients about their experience of care in NSW public hospitals during 2013.
 
The results will help NSW hospitals identify areas where patients feel they are performing well and where improvements to patient experience could be made.
 
BHI Chief Executive, Dr Jean-Frederic Levesque, said the survey gathered information about patients’ experience of care at 80 NSW public hospitals.
 
“BHI’s Snapshot Report shows that most patients were positive about their overall experience of care with 64% of patients rating it as ‘very good’ and 27% as ‘good’,” Dr Levesque said.
 
“Patients tended to rate well their interactions with hospital staff, including being treated with kindness and respect, and the information they were given about their treatment.
 
“Levels of satisfaction were lower for questions about how well staff assisted and were responsive to patients’ individual needs.”
 
Other results from the NSW Patient Survey Program include:
  • 77% of patients would speak highly of their hospital experience
  • 86% of patients reported they were ‘always’ treated with respect and dignity
  • Around three-quarters reported they ‘always’ got answers they could understand when they had important questions for a doctor (74%) or a nurse (75%)
  • 42% of patients who needed assistance generally said this help was available within a reasonable timeframe ‘all of the time’
  • 71% of patients thought the total time they waited to be admitted to hospital was ‘about right’
  • 54% of patients rated the way the doctors and nurses worked together as ‘very good’
  • 47% of patients rated the hospital food as ‘good’ and 17% rated the food as ‘very good’
  • 44% of patients who needed help eating reported they ‘always’ received enough 
  • Among the 30% of patients who said they needed an interpreter, 38% said that one was ‘always’ provided
  • 92% of patients said they felt well enough to leave hospital at the time of discharge, although 28% said they felt hospital staff did not fully take their family or home situation into account when planning their discharge.
BHI sent the survey to more than 73,000 patients who were admitted to a NSW public hospital during 2013. The survey contained 90 questions asking patients about hospital performance. It received widespread support with 49% of patients providing feedback.

Medications latest items subject to "Australia Tax"

health and money 2It seems that Australians are getting rorted on Medication costs, even under the governments PBS, compared to other advanced countries like the United Kingdom.

With the Government screaming that health costs are surging and slapping everyday Aussies with additional taxes, co-payments and charges… news that taxpayers are wasting $400 million per year on medication won’t help its cause.

Of the 20 most commonly prescribed medications in Australia, the Government pays a lot more when compared to the government system in the UK for 19 of the 20.

This is despite the price disclosure policy implemented seven years ago and designed to stop the rort by large pharmaceutical companies.

While the Government sets the price it does pay for drugs under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Subsidy (PBS) scheme, drug companies sell the drugs directly to pharmacists who make profits of up to 80 per cent.

The price disclosure policy was intended to identify the discount prices drug companies were charging pharmacists and was set to save $18 billion from the reforms in the decade from 2007-17.

However, despite the savings achieved, University of Melbourne economist Professor Philip Clarke has found that we’re still paying more than we should.

Analysing the latest price cuts implemented on 1 October, he found that Clopidogrel, the anti-clotting medication, costs the Government $12 per pack compared to the $3.60 paid by the British government and this isn’t the only drug for which we pay more.

“The Australian government is still paying way more for other drugs for example each tablet of a typical dose of (antipsychotic) Olanzapine cost $2.55 (per pill) in Australia, but just 13 cents in England,” he said.

“There is significant scope for Government to make further savings and to implement policies that would make widely used drugs cheaper for many consumers,” Professor Clarke said.

The news comes hot on the heels of Health Minister Peter Dutton warning that health costs are spiralling and that there is a planned $5 hike in January 2015, which will push the cost of prescription medications to $42 for those not in receipt of a concession. If the Government simply paid the market prices for generic drugs, consumers would see the cost of scripts halved.

This is just another example of cost of living expenses in Australia not being appropriately handled by the Australian authorities - who have the ability to lessen the burden on its citizens. From clothing to software and medicine - it looks like we are being ripped off left right and centre.

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