Author Archives: Stephen Duckett
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has highlighted the tragic weakness of residential aged care throughout Australia. Hundreds of older Australians have died prematurely during the COVID pandemic. For their sake, and ours, this tragedy must prove … Continue reading
Victoria is now facing a difficult choice: to continue stringent lockdowns in the hope of getting COVID-19 cases down to zero, or accepting the lesser goal of opening up once cases are in single digits.
Australia’s response to coronavirus to date has been among the most successful in the world. After an exponential increase that peaked at more than 400 cases a day in late March, daily cases declined to about 20 a month later, … Continue reading
Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been remarkably successful. After an exponential increase that peaked at more than 400 cases a day in late March, daily cases declined to almost zero a month later.
PETER BROOKS, STEPHEN DUCKETT and BRIAN OLDENBURG. Telehealth and digital health navigators – a bright future.
Telehealth is not new in Australia but Covid -19 and the new Medicare item numbers have stimulated its rapid adoption across the country. It is clear patients like it. They do not need to expose themselves to potentially dangerous environments … Continue reading
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
I am both a daily reader of, and a contributor to John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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