In the weeks leading up to the end of 2017, there has been a virtual avalanche of reports, publications and other developments with implications for health that merit serious engagement, by Croakey and our readers.
However, we simply have not had the time or resources to delve into them. Below we post links to some of these reports so that we do not lose sight of them in the New Year. (Please post a note in comments if we’ve missed any).
• The final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is bound to contain much of relevance to the health and medical sectors, whether for practice, research, policy, or education and training.
• The World Inequality Report 2018 notes that in recent decades, income inequality has increased in nearly all countries, but at different speeds, suggesting that institutions and policies matter in shaping inequality.
• Australia’s emissions projections 2017, published by The Department of the Environment and Energy, show our emissions have risen in the past three years. According to Mark Butler, the Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, the projections to 2030 are “shockingly disappointing”.
• The Federal Health Department has published My Life My Lead – Opportunities for strengthening approaches to the social determinants and cultural determinants of Indigenous health: Report on the national consultations December 2017. This reports on consultations that will help shape the next Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023.
• COAG has published a public discussion paper to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to provide feedback to a “refresh” of the Closing the Gap initiative. The paper says “Australian governments have committed to work in genuine partnership with Indigenous leaders, organisations and communities, to identify the priorities that will inform how governments can better design and deliver programs and services, to close the gap. Governments want to hear from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples about jobs, economic development, health, quality of life, wellness and participation to inform a new way forward.” Comments can be lodged online here. Here is Minister Nigel Scullion’s statement.
• Cuts to higher education announced in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2017-18 will have significant implications for research, education and the health workforce. An analysis in The Conversation by Mark Warburton says: “Universities may decide to have fewer students in courses with above-average subsidy levels, such as health sciences, nursing, engineering and agriculture… The government is giving the objective of returning the budget to surplus a higher priority than the development of our tertiary education sector. This includes the vocational education and training system, which has already had its funding eroded over many years.”
• A Senate inquiry into the Value and affordability of private health insurance and out-of-pocket medical costs. In this article at the Parliamentary Library blog, Amanda Biggs reviews some of the history of the Goverment’s assistance to the private health insurance sector.
• A toolkit released by the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association and the Consumers Health Forum to help individual hospitals and healthcare services provide better experiences of healthcare for both workers and patients. Experience-Based Co-Design: a toolkit for Australia “guides services in using the expertise and experiences of healthcare staff and patients in a genuine equal and reciprocal relationship to develop a better healthcare experience for all”.
• The AHHA also released: Strategies for outcomes-focused and value-based healthcare: A Blueprint for a Post-2020 National Health Agreement (we will publish more on this in the New Year), and a Deeble Institute Issues Brief, The impact of Australian hospital medicines funding on achieving the objectives of the National Medicines Policy, showing that current funding arrangements for medicines in Australian hospitals are complex and fragmented.
• The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released: Elective surgery waiting times 2016-17 Australian hospital statistics report, showing inequities in waiting times; and Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in Australian hospitals 2016-17 Australian hospital statistics report, which includes private hospital data for the first time.
Meanwhile, let’s not forget the Ministerial reshuffle – see the full list here – and what that may mean for health across portfolios.
Victorian Senator and Deputy Leader of the Nationals, Bridget McKenzie (@senbmckenzie), is the new Minister for Rural Health, Sport and Regional Communications. Dr David Gillespie is now Assistant Minister for Children and Families.
Science & Technology Australia (STA) is “disappointed and concerned” that science has been demoted to the assistant ministry in the reshuffle.
And here’s another important one to watch out for in 2018 – both the report from the Queensland Productivity Commission, and the Queensland Government’s response.
We welcome your contributions and engagement on these matters in 2018…
… we look forward to hearing from you after the holiday break
… and (if that’s not enough) here is some more holiday reading and viewing: