PC report on health workforce deserves close attention

The worrying shortage of health professionals across Australia demands the close consideration of more preventative action to reduce the burden on hospitals and doctors, Medicines Australia said today.

The Productivity Commission report into Australia's Health Workforce, released today, delivers a powerful message to governments meeting at COAG next month, industry and the professions on the need to examine, as itstates, "new models of care".

"As our population ages and the number of available doctors decreases, medicines will play an increasingly important role in supporting the medical profession," the chief executive officer of Medicines Australia, Kieran Schneemann, said today.

"We all want to keep Australians healthy and productive, and where possible limit visits to community doctors, keep patients out of hospital and help manage the load and burden on the medical profession.

"A responsible, preventative health regime includes early detection and often an early medication program, to prevent or keep in check ailments that drain the resources of doctors and hospitals.

"Without a healthy and sustainable Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, supported by a sustainable pharmaceutical industry, the pressures on the health system as highlighted by the Productivity Commission will only worsen."

Medicines Australia also believes that it is important the expected fall in scrip volumes of 15 million over the next four years is closely monitored.

The reduction in critical medicine usage across a number of illness groups, including mental health and cardiovascular disease, could further increase the burden on hard-pressed doctors, nurses and other health professionals, particularly in country areas.


Contact: Paul Chamberlin
Research Australia

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