by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Australian Journal of Pharmacy : November 2006
news news Challenges to our demographic destiny ?from page 4 and private hospitals increased by 11 per cent in real terms and the average treat- ment cost rose by 8.5 per cent—even though the length of stays were falling. Ms Gillard emphasised that only some of this growth could be explained away by an increase in wages. In the hospital set- ting, new technologies had contributed considerably to the average costs of treat- ment. One such area where this growth had been stark was joint replacement pro- cedures. She said spending on prostheses alone in the period from 1996/97 to 2002/03 increased across all hospitals by an aver- age of 165 per cent, because of the adop- tion of new types of prostheses. ‘Unlike the PBS listing process, the process for assessing other medical tech- nologies is fragmented—across state boundaries—and inconsistent—across hospital systems’. However, Ms Gillard said cost was only one side of the coin. Anything that gen- uinely improved the quality of patient care and increases the patient’s ability to return to work or family responsibilities is to be welcomed. The issue, therefore, becomes how a system measures the overall economic impact of these advancements, not just on a hospital or budget’s short term bottom line, but also on the longer-term impact on future hospitalisations, acute hospital visits and workforce participation. ‘This will be difficult because current measurements are based on how we fund and deliver our services,’ she said. Beating chronic disease Ms Gillard added that there were other areas ripe for reform such as our chronic disease management system. Treating chronic disease is costly. The majority of government spending in health goes to treating existing problems when they become chronic conditions. Quoting statistics, she said $30bn alone was spent on treating our top seven chronic diseases, such as heart disease and nervous system diseases. About $22bn of government health spending—about 45.3 per cent of allocated health system expenditure—went to the so-called prior- ity areas of our health system. She added that about 20 per cent of this went to treating cardio and muscu- loskeletal disease, about 8 per cent each on mental illness and injuries and about 1.5 per cent on each of asthma and dia- betes. About 50 per cent of this spending goes to hospital treatment, particularly for admitted patients and about 14 per cent of the spending goes to pharmaceuticals. Preventable health costs According to Ms Gillard, most of the ill health, disability and premature deaths in Australia come from diseases which could Baby boomers push up demand for hospital beds HE public hospital system will be put under increasing pressure as the baby-boomer generation ages, according to a new study. The study was undertaken by Associate Professor Deborah Schofield and Arul Earnest from the University of Sydney’s Northern Rivers University Department of Rural Health. This research is reported in the most recent edition of the Australian Health Review, the policy journal of the Australian Healthcare Association. ‘Over the next 45 years the Australian population will age rapidly as the baby boomer cohort moves into retirement and then old age,’ Associate Professor Deborah Schofield said. T ‘This will increase the demand for hospital services and place a corresponding demand on hospital infrastructure and staffing. The study used Australian Bureau of Statistics population projections to 2050 and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare public hospital bed-day data from the past decade to develop models of future demand for hospital services. ‘We found that over the long term, demand for public hospital bed-days will grow faster than population growth. By 6 ? THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY VOL 87 NOVEMBER 2006 2050, ageing will increase the demand for bed-days by between 70 per cent and 130 per cent, depending on the underlying assumptions,’ said Professor Schofield. ‘Also significant is that the proportion of bed-days devoted to older people will increase from less than 50 per cent in 2005 to more than 70 per cent. ‘This increase in demand will occur at the same time as the large baby boomer cohort retires from the health workforce—making it harder to recruit doctors, nurses and other health professionals to meet this increase in demand. ‘The increase in demand for public hospital services to date has been largely masked by changes in hospital practice—such as early discharge programs and increases in day surgery. However, it is likely that the majority of the efficiency gains from practices such as this have been obtained. Evidence from this study shows a plateau in the growth in same-day treatments. ‘This study demonstrates that there is an urgent need for planning to ensure future needs of the ageing population can be met,’ Associate Professor Schofield said.