Health round-up: Australians avoid specialists, Germany shares data and Trump likes Medicare

Peter Terlato 25 May 2017

Doctor Australia

A weekly round-up of Australia's latest healthcare news.

Many Australians shun expensive specialists

New research by finder.com.au reveals a significant proportion of Australians who were referred to a medical specialist in 2016 didn't end up seeing the doctor because they felt the costs were too high.

The study found around two fifths (41%) of patients referred to a specialist skipped out on these visits, citing costly fees and out-of-pocket expenses. In 2009/10 average out-of-pocket expenses for specialist physician consultations for Aussie households was $325. In 2016, this figure rose (33%) to $488 per year.

Women (47%) were also far likelier than men (35%) to have avoided a specialist visit due to cost issues.

Australia and Germany share digital health information

During the G20 Health Ministers' Meeting in Berlin last week, representatives from Australia and Germany signed a Joint Declaration of Intent on Bilateral Health Cooperation.

This agreement will see the two countries share information pertaining to domestic digital health policies in an effort to ensure both nation's health systems deliver access to quality care for those who need it.

Increasing health care costs, driven by a heightened prevalence of non-communicable diseases and an ageing population, means improving systems efficiency is more important now than ever before.

US President says Australia has "better health care"

Just a few hours after repealing Obamacare in the House of Representatives, Donald Trump professed to prime minister Malcolm Turnbull that Australia's healthcare system was superior to the United States'.

According to CNN, Trump said America's new healthcare plan was "going to be fantastic" but postulated he shouldn't have to convince Turnbull because "you [Australia] have better health care than we do".

During an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Senator Bernie Sanders agreed with Trump, reminding the President that "every other major country on Earth" guarantees health care for their people.

"They don't throw 24 million people off health insurance. So maybe when we get to the Senate we should start off by looking at the Australian health care system," he said.


What else is happening?

World No Tobacco Day is Wednesday 31 May. The World Health Organization (WHO) came up with the idea in 1987 to draw attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes.

Each week our round-up offers a summary of the latest developments impacting Australian healthcare and most importantly, you, the consumer. Check in every Thursday to find out what's happening in health.

Picture: Shutterstock

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