Health is not a short-term issue

| August 8, 2019

It was a great pleasure to facilitate the Health 2040 Taskforce. We had around 40 health professionals and consumers who contributed to the Report released today.

The consultation process took more than a year and involved a series of meetings and supportive research, to identify near-term reforms that would underpin the sustainable future of our healthcare system.

We have taken a pragmatic approach to this task, as we recognised there are some fundamentals in the Australian healthcare system that make it one of the best health systems in the world.

These fundamentals are Medicare and the mix of public and private sectors delivered across Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments and private sector providers.

The Report sets out objectives and guiding principles for reform and envisions an ideal health landscape. It discusses current demographic and technological trends and seeks to re-balance the argument between health costs as a drain on the economy and better health as a driver of social and economic benefits.

It outlines steps to improve health outcomes and the ways in which professional self-interest and political inertia may create barriers to reform, and offers a range of ‘quick wins’ and 10-year timeframe recommendations.

I would like to thank members and funding partners of the Taskforce for their commitment to the process and their willingness to work together on complex issues of healthcare reform.

The ‘Second Track’ process, promoted by GAP in public policy consultations, enables strategic, rational conversations in contested policy spaces, in an environment conducive to independent thinking and development of fresh ideas and solutions.

Health reform is hard and will take time. If you look across the world, any significant reform takes a minimum of 10 years. We need all parts of the sector and parliamentarians to leave self-interest at the door and sit down and work on ensuring our health care system remains one of the best in the world.

Subscribers to the Australian Financial Review and the Australian can read more about the report in this interview with Martin Bowles and this overview of the issues presented.