Australia has a healthcare system which is fundamentally divided. The Federal government funds our Prescribing Benefit Schedule and our Medicare Benefit Schedule, as well as 30% of our private health insurance rebate. We have a mixture of public and private health and Australian citizens have the right to access free health care.
In simplistic terms, our General Practitioners are funded federally while our state governments fund our hospitals, and it makes for a fragmented system in a number of ways.
WA’s public health system has recently undergone significant change, de-centralising from the Health Department in East Perth. There are now five Area Health Services – North, South and East Metropolitan Perth, Child and Adolescent Health Services, and WA Country Health Services. You can find out more here.
WA has many private hospitals and health services providing care for West Australians. You can see the full list here.
This refers to care with your local GP, pharmacist, physiotherapist, podiatrist, dentist etc. As noted above, this is usually funded through the federal system, with you paying any relevant gap fee. Currently WA has a Primary Health Network organisation, WA Primary Health Alliance, which evolved from Medicare Locals and before them, GP Networks. The vision of the Primary Health Networks is to co-ordinate what we buy at a state level to support the health of West Australians. You can find out more about how they involve the community here.
My Health Record
Most hospitals keep paper records, and faxes continue to be common in the health sector, even though they are largely abandoned elsewhere. The state and federally funded systems do not easily communicate with each other and the challenge of communicating between our GPs and hospitals continues. From 2018, every Australian will be issued with a My Health Record, unless you choose to opt out. Currently, 22% of Australians have a My Health Record, with more people applying each day. You can find out more about either applying right now, or choosing to opt out of having a My Health Record by visiting this website.
You can get involved
We firmly believe that our health care system is better when the people using it are meaningfully involved in its development. Have a look at here for ideas, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 9221 3422.