The health care system in Australia though recognized as one of the best in the world has to undergo some changes. This is despite the heavy government spending to ensure the health of all citizens. The proposed changes are not only to extend the coverage to include all the citizens irrespective of culture, social status or physical ability but also change the outlook of the work force. The Aborigines lacked representation in the health care workforce thus acting as a major impediment in getting to understand their health problems and how best their health issues could be tackled (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2005). Nevertheless, in order to achieve this end the community has to change its culture and lifestyle to accommodate the modern way of life, education and societal values. This will ensure that the poor, disabled and the aged persons in the society are not neglected but taken good care of.
Practice within the Australian Health Care System
The Health care system should feature the concerns of the people who desperately are in need of it. These are the poor, aged and the disabled. There should be an effort to understand the lifestyle of the people in general for in most cases it contributes a great deal to their overall health. This includes the upbringing of the children, values within the family, social status and the general conduct of the entire population. Regarding the Aboriginal people the attention should be on the prevention and an early intervention to the attack of a particular disease (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2005). This also applies to the foreigners that currently live in Australia. The culture of the people will have to be taken in to due consideration as this will have an impact on the overall effect of the treatment.
In order to reach out to the people there must be an effort to extend to the homes more so to the aged and the disabled people. Those visiting the hospitals are also to be probed such that they furnish the attendants with the knowledge about the welfare at home and how it can be improved or accessed by the health workers. In this way the neglected persons in the society will be attended to. Similarly, those that are unemployed, lost jobs or located in the rural areas find it difficult to access health care. Since the government is committed to providing health care to all citizens irrespective of the cultural background, political or religious affiliation then it is vital for these populations to be given priority.
Funding Sources for Healthcare in Australia
The health care in Australia is based on a cost sharing model whereby there are three stakeholders; the patient, the health insurance companies and the government. The latter is the major contributor to the health care paying up to 70%of the total health care cost i.e. 23% from the state government and the remaining 47% from the federal government (Duckett, S (2009). The government is responsible for a greater percentage of the entire cost as they believe that an individual’s financial capacity does not matter much as compared to the medical need. The service to be offered therefore is the main determiner on how the cost will be shared. For instance, in the public hospitals the funding is 45% state and 48% federal. The balance is funded by the private sector. On the other hand the federal government funds 82% of the medical services while the balance is met by the individual patient.
The private health insurance which is responsible for almost 10% of the net health cost is also allowed a 30% subsidy by the government. This subsidy provided by the federal government caters for everyone (Duckett, 2009). Almost half of the population has prescribed to the private health insurance. The cost per a family ranges from US$539 to US$1,078. This insurance is bought directly from the insurance company and not through the employer.
Factors Affecting Health
There are various factors affecting the health of the members of the community. These factors vary with the age, social status and the general lifestyle of the people. First we have the formation of the family whereby instability in its structure such as early pregnancies; alcoholism etc may result to poor health in future. Similarly social health, nutrition and poverty contribute significantly to the health of both children and parents. Poor families cannot access education and other vital facilities (Health Insurance Info 2009). This eventually leads to low self esteem, job insecurity and unemployment. On the other hand the older Aborigines and those with disabilities are more prone to diseases since they live in poverty much distanced from health facilities. The old and the disabled are also marginalized, exploited, abused and isolated which leads to further deterioration of their health.
There are various services to address some of the health issues. For instance the pathways for planned care; referrals have been coordinated to other services and also in-home care for both the old and the aged (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2005). The construction of health care facilities funded by the government will also ensure that the political, cultural, management and social issues are addressed. The needs of the aboriginal people can be addressed effectively by tackling the problem from the root cause. The development and upbringing of the children in the community has to be addressed. This is through providing the necessary facilities for the growth of the child. Health professions are therefore charged with the responsibility to interact closely with the patients in the process of treating them. They not only suggest a change in the behavior of the people but also provide them with the necessary tools and information that will facilitate the change. There are however, those that may fail to reach the institutions but lucky enough information is available for anyone that endeavors to probe the patients. They will volunteer to give information regarding their neighbors with the knowledge that their ill health will eventually affect them. As a whole it is important for the people to adopt a cultural change.
There has been much exclusion of the Aborigines and the Torres in the Australia health care system despite the government’s dedication to improve the health care system. The proposed plan however, is meant to include them in the work force and to further bring the health facilities closer to them. On the other hand the Aborigines have to show some commitment by the change of culture and embracing some of the western values that would guarantee positions in the proposed system. The strategy to interact closely with the patients, know their background and problems affecting them will further enrich the program. Nevertheless, there ought to be more attention to the poor, disabled and the aged majority whom are Aborigines.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2005).Expenditures on health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, 2001 – 02. Health and Welfare Expenditure Series, No. 23. Canberra.
Duckett, S (2009). Healthcare in Australia. Retrieved on May 18, 2009 from http://www.medhunters.com/articles/healthcareInAustralia.html
Health Insurance Info (2009). Australian Health Insurance. Retrieved on May 18, 2009 from http://www.healthinsuranceinfo.com.au/