Current Topics and Trends in Australian Healthcare

Survey Report

A special report from producers of Australian Healthcare Index, Healthengine and the APA, on findings from our national survey with over 9000 respondents will be released soon. The report focused on the impact of cost of living pressures on Australian Patients making it increasingly difficult to afford their basic healthcare needs. The report can be downloaded from our website as soon as it is made available.

Submission on Better and Faster Access to Pathology and Diagnostic Reports through My Health Record

APA believes that many patients will benefit from better and faster access to Pathology and Diagnostic Reports through My Health Record. Highlights of the submission include support to lift the 7 day waiting period to access results through My Health Record, removing complexities by better alignment between State and Federal governments, enabling best technology and tools to analyse the results and digitising the records which makes it easier for healthcare providers with coordinated care and clinical decisions. A copy of the submission is available here.

Post Implementation Review of Telehealth MBS items

APA believes that telehealth, if regulated properly, has the potential to especially increase access to care for populations in remote, regional or low socioeconomic areas. To be effective in that context, access and affordability needs to be carefully considered. Our submission focused on the establishment of digital health standards rather than limiting rebates in the name of continuity of care by imposing the 12-month rule, and not allowing rebates for online-only telehealth services. A copy of the submission is available here.

Dental Reform

The main reason Australians struggle to access Dental Care is affordability, and there is a significant gap in access to Dental care between the haves and the have nots. APA in its submission made to the Select Committee into the Provision of and Access to Dental Services in Australia has reiterated the need for immediate action to address the issue.

Extended Scope of Practice

It is an initiative by the Australian Government in response to the Strengthening Medicare Reform Taskforce to identify opportunities to remove barriers preventing health professionals in primary care from working to their full scope of practice to deliver better care to patients. The APA is working with Professor Mark Cormack, Lead Reviewer, and his Taskforce to provide the Patient perspective.

The 8th Community Pharmacy Agreement (8CPA)

The federal government has announced early negotiations for 8CPA, an agreement to support the Government’s ongoing commitment to improving patient health outcomes and providing cheaper medicines for all Australians. The agreement is planned to commence on 1 March 2024. The APA have had discussions with the Department of Health and provided the Patients perspective on matters relating to pharmacies and access to cheaper medicines to all Australians.

Genetic carrier screening

Genetic carrier screening involves a simple blood test that provides you with information regarding your risk of having a child with a genetic condition. From 1st November 2023, reproductive genetic carrier screening for cystic fibrosis (CF), spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), and fragile X syndrome (FXS) will be 100% bulk-billable*, once in an individual’s lifetime. For more information click here.

Experts Warn Why We Need to Stop Treating Back Pain with Opioids

Opioids are the one of the most prescribed pain-relief for people with low back and neck pain. In Australia, around 40 percent of people with low back and neck pain who present to their GP and 70 percent of people with low back pain who visit a hospital emergency department are prescribed opioids such as oxycodone. But a new study, published July in the Lancet medical journal, found opioids do not relieve “acute” low back or neck pain (lasting up to 12 weeks) and can result in worse pain. Click here to read the full article published in Science Alert dt 20 November 2023.

National Skin Cancer Action Week (20th-26th November)

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, with approximately two in three Australians diagnosed with skin cancer during their lifetime. If you haven’t booked a skin check lately, now is the time to take action!

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