Beyond beds and boards | Seminar on citizen engagement in health reform, Oct 18

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  • Beyond beds and boards | Seminar on citizen engagement in health reform, Oct 18

Are local community boards for hospitals the only way to give citizens a say in health care policy? Is it really all about budgets and bed numbers, or are these issues distracting us from the hard choices we need to make about the future of our health system?

After Tony Abbott announced a plan to set up boards for each of Australia’s 736 hospitals last week, John Menadue told The Australian that, in practice, hospital boards can become “lobby groups pushed by doctors for the particular interests of their hospital, regardless of the system as a whole”.

Jennifer Doggett, author of A New Approach to Primary Care, analysed Tony Abbott’s proposal for ABC online:

Public hospitals…would benefit from greater consumer involvement in their management. However, Mr Abbott’s plan will not give communities the level of control they need over health care resources to address the most significant problems with the public hospital system. By isolating hospital funding from other health services, his proposal may in fact entrench many of the underlying factors that cause these problems.

In a new article on, Gavin Mooney argues that the party that wins the next election should use citizens’ juries to find out what voters really want from their health services. More than polls or plebiscites, citizens’ juries allow the end-users of the system to have a say on how scarce resources should be spent.

Other CPD authors have explored how citizen engagement can lead to fairer, more sustainable public policies. A reading list of past articles on this subject is available here.

Want to learn more?

CPD and The Australian Health Policy Institute are hosting a seminar on Citizen Engagement in Health Policy Reform in Sydney on Thursday, 18th October from 5.30pm.

Dr Dan Fox, President of the Milbank Fund, and Dr Lyn Carson
of the United States Studies Centre will speak on citizen engagement in health policy reform in the US, Australia and internationally. A panel of policy experts, including CPD Chair John Menadue, will then join the speakers to debate the topic and take questions from the audience.

DATE: Thursday, 18th October

TIME: 5.30 – 7.30 pm (refreshments from 5 pm and at conclusion)
COST: This seminar is free-of-charge and open to the public

VENUE: Eastern Avenue Auditorium, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney. (Map reference k19)

RSVP: By Monday, 15th October to Diana Freeman (02) 9351 2818.

Further information available at AHPI website or the CPD event page.

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