Media Release dated 1/2/2023

Dr Nick Coatsworth joins Australian Patients Association to put patients at the centre of Medicare reform

Canberra, 1 February 2023:  Former Deputy Chief Health Officer of Australia, Dr Nick Coatsworth, has joined the Australian Patients Association in the role of Ambassador for Health Reform.

The infectious diseases physician, who has led not-for-profit boards, Australian Medical Assistance Teams, government agencies and hospitals, whilst retaining his frontline role as a public hospital physician, will use his role with the APA to ensure that the voice of patients is heard in policy circles, as well as represented in the media.

Dr Coatsworth says that, as federal and state governments embark on the monumental task of reforming the healthcare system, it is vital that grassroots advocacy organisations have a voice.

“Every interest group in health has one or more organised and professionalised bodies representing it, except the people who use the system,” Dr Coatsworth says.

“These interest groups often push back on reforms proposed by governments because their role is to represent their members.

“But as we move from the old model of single-illness-based care to a model that recognises that the best care for the individual patient is delivered by a team of professionals working together, it is vital that patients have a seat at the table.

“To get “multidisciplinary” or “team based” care right for the patient, it’s likely every discipline will have to give ground a bit.

“We must seize this opportunity to reform Medicare in the interests of the community.”

Stephen Mason, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Patients Association, says that Dr Coatsworth will bring enthusiasm and expertise to the role of Ambassador for Health Reform.

“Dr Coatsworth is an experienced physician and public administrator, who has always put patients first in his work. We are very excited to add him to our team.

“The Australian Patients Association regularly surveys patients on their experiences and priorities, and reports on the findings. It is also the organisation that Australians are most likely to contact when they are having trouble navigating the healthcare system, or struggling to access the care they need.

“Dr Coatsworth will help us ensure their voices are heard by government and policymakers as they tackle health system reform.”

For further information contact: Stephen Mason Ph: 0408 944 859 or Office: 03 9274 0788