Author Archives: Stephen Duckett

Stephen Duckett

About Stephen Duckett

Stephen Duckett PhD DSc FASSA FAHM is Director, Health Program at the Grattan Institute, Melbourne.

IAN HICKIE and STEPHEN DUCKETT. Mobilise private resources to cope with the COVID-19 mental health wave

The public-private divide in Australia’s health system disappeared early in the Coronavirus pandemic when all states signed contracts with private hospitals to ensure private beds were available to meet the anticipated tsunami of hospital demand. The same ‘can do’ approach … Continue reading

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STEPHEN DUCKETT supports Pearls and Irritations.

I am both a daily reader of, and a contributor to John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations.

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ADAM ELSHAUG & STEPHEN DUCKETT. Hospitals have stopped unnecessary elective surgeries – and shouldn’t restart them after the pandemic (The Conversation 16.4.20)

Part of Australia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic was a severe reduction in elective surgery, and so private hospitals have stood almost empty for a month now.

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STEPHEN DUCKETT, ANIKA STOBART, WILLMACKEY.- If coronavirus cases don’t grow any faster, our health system will probably cope (The Conversations 1.4.2020)

The growth in COVID-19 cases in Australia appears to have slowed across all states, through a combination of tighter border control and spatial distancing.

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STEPHEN DUCKETT. Time to kill the Private Health Insurance zombies

Two zombie policies stalk the Private Health Insurance (PHI) policy world: A ‘Hospital Benefits Schedule’ and ‘Medicare Select’. Here’s why both should have been put to rest long ago.

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STEPHEN DUCKETT.  Private health insurance needs a rethink

Australians are dissatisfied with private health insurance. Premiums are rising and consumers are dropping their cover, especially younger people, who are less likely to need health services. Those who are left are more likely to use services, driving insurance costs … Continue reading

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STEPHEN DUCKETT. Morrison’s health handout is bad policy (but might be good politics) (The Conversation).

The A$1.25 billion Community Health and Hospitals Program Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced this week should be awarded a big policy fail.

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STEPHEN DUCKETT. Activity-based funding and prevention: a message for state governments (Croakey)

JENNIFER DOGGETT.  Keeping people well and out of hospital should be a primary focus of our health system.  Yet the evidence is that we could do much better in preventing and managing problems in the community, before they require hospital … Continue reading

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STEPHEN DUCKETT. The tooth hurts but Victoria’s public dental system is broken (Grattan Institute).

Our dental care system is not working for a lot of Victorians. More than half a million Victorians say that the cost of dental care stopped them from getting care when they needed it in the past 12 months.

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STEPHEN DUCKETT. A hospital win-win: improving care and saving money.

Every day we hear stories about innovation in health care – new drugs, new machines and new tests that will help us live longer. We have got used to thinking that any improvements in health care will come at a … Continue reading

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STEPHEN DUCKETT. Time to name and call out unconscious racism in the treatment of Indigenous Australians.

Indigenous Australians suffer racism when they seek or require medical treatment. The good news is that the medical profession acknowledges there is a problem. The bad news is that doctors are not doing nearly enough to bust the systemic bias … Continue reading

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STEPHEN DUCKETT. Turnbull government backs pharmacies over consumers, yet again.

The government has totally squibbed the latest pharmacy regulation review, and consumers will be the losers. Every five to 10 years in Australia, the government establishes a review of the regulations governing pharmacies. Those reviews invariably come to the same conclusion: … Continue reading

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STEPHEN DUCKETT, CHRISTINE JORM AND GREG MORAN. Hospitals are risky places – but some are better than others

One in every nine patients who go into hospital in Australia suffers a complication: when something preventable goes wrong with their care. They might develop an infection from a hygiene breach, for instance, or be given the wrong dose or … Continue reading

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STEPHEN DUCKETT. Assisted dying is one thing, but governments must ensure palliative care is available to all who need it

The debate in the Victorian Parliament about assisted dying has tended to focus on the terrible personal experiences of deaths of family members. That focus is understandable, but it has been at the cost of consideration of the need for … Continue reading

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STEPHEN DUCKETT. Why it costs you so much to see a specialist – and what the government should do about it

Australians pay too much when they go to medical specialists. The government can and should do more to drive prices down. A current Senate Inquiry on out-of-pocket costs will hopefully lead to some policy action.

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STEPHEN DUCKETT. Labor charts a health policy rethink

The Labor Party has released a summary of the proceedings of its ‘National Health Policy Summit’, held in Canberra on 3rd March. Good on the ALP for holding the summit. Trouble is, the ‘communique’, while summarising the views of the … Continue reading

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HAL SWERISSEN and STEPHEN DUCKETT. Is a tax on sugary drinks “bonkers”?

The evidence is that currently there are significant harms and costs associated with the consumption of sugary drinks, both to those who are obese and the community more generally. 

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STEPHEN DUCKETT. Blood money: pathology cuts can reduce spending without compromising health

In the coming weeks I will be posting articles on the high costs and corporate nature of pathology in Australian. The following article by Stephen Duckett in The Conversation, even though posted in February this year, helps set the scene. … Continue reading

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Stephen Duckett. Blood money: pathology cuts can reduce spending without compromising health

The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) set the cat among the pathology pigeons late last year. One of the government’s flagged changes, estimated to save around A$100 million a year, was to abolish the bulk-billing incentive Labor introduced in … Continue reading

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Stephen Duckett. Health in 2016: a cheat sheet on hospitals, Medicare and private health insurance.

We start 2016 as we started 2015 – with big challenges for the health system and uncertainty as to how governments will meet them. The health care headaches in 2016 are, in fact, the same ones we faced a decade … Continue reading

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Stephen Duckett. Frequent flyers in health and the way we remunerate doctors.

Time for policy rethink as frequent GP attenders account for 41% of costs. The Commonwealth government’s big idea for primary health care in the past year was to charge everyone who visits the GP a A$7 co-payment. The idea had … Continue reading

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