Insight Edition | Prescriptions for a healthy Australia


Tony Abbott once described Australia’s health system as a “dog’s breakfast”. With the surprise announcement of a federal takeover of Mersey Hospital in Devonport, it appears that the current government is perfectly happy to go on feeding the dog – as long as it lives in a marginal seat.


Howard’s decision has bypassed years of community consultation and careful consideration of how to serve the health needs of everyone in the area over the long term. It demonstrates exactly what is wrong with the current approach to health reform: the selective cherry-picking of celebrity problems to cure with a quick cash injection from the policy paramedics in Canberra.

If, like us, you’re sick of short-term political goals being prioritized over good policy, you might enjoy this special health edition of InSight, packed with positive ideas on everything from preparing Australia’s health workforce to deal with ever-increasing demands on the system (Jill Iliffe, Peter Brooks and Niki Ellis), to proposals for giving citizens a real opportunity to participate in the design of a fairer, more sustainable system (Tony McBride & John MacKean).

Obstacles to health reform

The problem with health reform is that even when major redesign is necessary, many ‘reformers’ continue to think incrementally, says CPD Chair John Menadue.

A new approach to Australia’s health workforce

Jill Iliffe argues that any serious attempt to improve Australia’s health policy must address the capacity, efficiency and flexibility of our health workforce.

Locked: Funding health care – a principled approach

Ian McAuley explains how to give some direction to Australia’s muddle-headed health finance system.

Time to talk to Australians about a sustainable and fair health system

Consumer and community voices need to be centrally involved in both discussing and influencing government decision making. Tony McBride outlines a plan for involving Australian citizens in the health reform process.

Locked: Principles and practice: a better system of health care

Canada’s Romanow Commission points the way for Australia’s own health reform process, argues John Mackean.

Locked: Health workforce reform: rising to the challenge

Despite the ongoing expansion of Australia’s health workforce, our health system is still not equipped to deliver appropriate and timely care to Australians, write Peter Brooks and Niki Ellis.

Locked: How an Ambulance Service can contribute to the health care continuum

Carol Gaston makes a strong case for integrating ambulance services into the health system, as part of a ‘continuum of care’ centred on patients’ needs.

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