Let’s take a look at the mental health issues in Australia alongside other challenges faced by the Australian healthcare sector.
The Australian health care system is one of the highly respected systems worldwide, with an average person having a high life expectancy and low child mortality.
However, recent health issues in Australia brought about by factors such as the aging population and chronic illness have continued to issue a significant threat to the outstanding mark the system has ever made.
Introduction to mental health issues in Australia
Despite the considerable investment by the Government towards the provision of quality healthcare to all Australians, about 47% of people have suffered from one or more chronic conditions, and 4.8 million Australians had mental or behavioral conditions in 2018, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
These figures are a big reason to worry about for the Government, stakeholders, and every Australian.
In this piece, we’ll be talking about some of the major setbacks of Australia’s Health Care System.
Ready to learn more? Kindly read along!
List of top health issues in Australia
Below is the list of the healthcare issues facing the Australian government;
Mental Issues in Australia
According to World Health Organization, mental health is a critical component of a person’s overall health and well-being.
If anything compromises this, then the overall well-being of that person is jeopardized. Sadly, a recent report from the Nation Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing revealed that an estimated 1 in 5 Australians aged 16-85 experienced a mental disorder in 2008.
Judging from the above statistics, this is pretty much as this affects the individual and the families taking care of the victim. The prevalence of this illness is always around mid-to-late adolescence, which is around 18 to 24 years old compared to the other age group.
Common mental health issues in Australia include anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, and substance use disorders.
One major setback in caring for the victims is that many do not access any treatment and keep it themselves. Some victims are delayed with regards to treatment due to serious problems in the proper diagnosis of the illness.
The good news is that the primary health care services are doing a great job addressing signs of mental disorders in children and young people. The Government is doing its best to rescue the situation as it budgeted about $511 million on mental health-related subsidized prescriptions under the pharmaceutical benefits. However, there’s a need for continuous provisions of assistance to make the efforts sustainable.
Cost of Innovative Technology
It’s a great thing to have new technology that will improve the efficiency with which doctors work in delivering the best healthcare services to the people, but the technology’s cost is always a setback considering its skyrocketing prices.
Listing such innovative technologies for subsidy through Medicare won’t arrest the situation but rather increase their availability and use.
No doubt, Australia is one of the developed countries with an amazing record in assessing a new pharmaceutical products, judging from the principles of cost-effectiveness.
But the assessment of these new interventions isn’t comprehensive and lacks the rigor applied to these new pharmaceutical products and vaccines.
There are a couple of criteria in Australia in determining access to new technology, and these things are different across public and private hospitals. For instance, expensive cancer drugs aren’t yet available.
Changing Healthcare demography
The aging population in the nation challenges the health system’s capacity to maintain wellness and overall health.
The life expectancy of an average Australian is 73 years, but this is always accompanied by increasing disability from severe illness and makes this group of people vulnerable and need constant medical attention.
Furthermore, the Federal Treasury’s intergeneration report revealed that the aging of the population has little effect on spending.
This means the aging population isn’t a major element of rising health costs. But diseases associated with old age pose a greater medical challenge.
The preventive initiatives meant to get to those at risk aren’t reaching as it is always concentrated in the acute care sector with few links to community care.
Present days Health Workforce
Another health issue in Australia is the preference of health professionals on how to practice. The present day’s doctors don’t want to work for extended hours compared to what was obtainable in the past years.
Also, the number of female health professionals continued to surge, unlike the male counterpart.
The increase in the number of female doctors highlights the issue of balancing work with family life, which is one of the setbacks to the quality of healthcare delivery nowadays.
Decisions on where to live and practice can be pretty difficult to meet outside the metropolis, which has affected the supply and distribution of healthcare professionals.
The truth is, there are severe healthcare shortages in professions such as general practitioners, nurses, dentists, and various key allied healthcare professionals.
These shortages are more pronounced in rural and remote regions as many healthcare workers wouldn’t want to serve in such localities.
Presently, the overseas-trained health professionals now make up more than 25% of the total medical workforce compared to what we had in the last decade.
The improvements in the average life expectancy of an average Australian in recent decades have been remarkable, but health gains have been unequally shared across genders in recent times.
Women do better than men, and the educated population living within the metropolis does better than people living in the rural areas.
The continued disparity in the access to quality healthcare services among people is a big subject of discussion, which needs to be streamlined and fairly defined. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that if all people experience the same death rates as the disadvantaged population, thousands of less death will be experienced annually.
There are many health issues in Australia, which, regardless of race, gender, and social class, must drive a sustainable search for effective and lasting solutions to these challenges.
Yes, the willingness of the Federal Government to invest in public hospitals is pertinent but not enough to drive the needed improvement in the sector.
In the 21 century, the solutions to these issues must recognize the fact that innovative approaches to prevention, and primary and acute care will be required to tackle these problems sustainably.
The focus should be on the root causes, not the peripheral aspect of the nation’s challenges.
We are open to suggestions, and commendations. Kindly air your view in the comment box below.