Articles & Resources

This section currently contains full-text articles written by Doctors Reform Society members, however every view expressed is not necessarily that of the DRS. Also see Andrew Gunn’s articles.

Media Releases


“The report today that specialists are charging large copayments which inevitably stop patients seeing them is further evidence that governments have little thought for the financial struggle for many patients to access quality health care” said Dr Tim Woodruff, president, Doctors Reform Society. “A second report today from the Grattan Institute show sthe Federal Government could save $445 million yearly if they payed (using our taxes) world market prices for prescriptions. With such savings we could be reducing prescription copayments rather than increasing them.”

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“The report card on public hospital performance released by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) yesterday showing a nationwide deterioration in the capacity of those hospitals to care for the 54% of Australians without private health insurance”, said Dr Tim Woodruff, president, Doctors Reform Society. “These are real people with major health problems. Many could be working, increasing Australia’s productivity. Many could be managing to live without the support of their relatives, releasing them to add to Australia’s productivity. They have been forgotten by a parsimonious Federal Government which can easily find extra taxes to subsidise private health insurance but not to pay its share of public hospital funding. These patients’ preventable pain and suffering is ignored.”

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5th Dec 2016

Joining the dots: how universal healthcare is being undermined

Source: Croakey independent, in-depth social journalism for health
By: Dr Tim Woodruff

The Medicare rebate freeze is here to stay. Despite the Federal Government announcing it had heard the electorate expressing their concerns about Medicare at the election the Prime Minister is ploughing on, claiming that savings must be made, that people should pay a copayment if they can, and anyway the bulk billing rate is going up so patients aren’t missing out.

Do savings need to be made?

Countries increase their spending on health care as they get richer. In the last decade Australia has increased spending on health care from 8.8% of GDP to 10%, a figure very slightly above the median for OECD countries (1).  Our budget deficit is lower than almost every OECD country.

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23rd Jul 2016

Elitism/Entitlement drives our leaders policies

Source: Eureka Online Magazine
By: Dr Tim Woodruff


Do our leaders believe in a fair go? The Prime Minister has stated that he and Lucy have been lucky and observed that “there are taxi drivers that work harder than I ever have and they don’t have much money”. Read more

Published Letters

26th Apr 2016

Vanstone Ley Selective Efficiency

By: Dr Tim Woodruff

Published in the age on Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Amanda Vanstone claims the Health Minister understands efficiency  (Comment, 25/4). However, Sussan Ley’s view of efficiency is selective. Documented savings of $1 billion per year would be made if the government paid world market prices for pharmaceuticals. But it refuses to tackle the issue and continues to receive donations from the pharmaceutical industry. Also, some $8 billion is spent on the inefficient private health insurance rebate.

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26th Apr 2016

Selective efficiency

By: Dr Tim Woodruff

Published in Australian on Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The claim that there are huge unnecessary costs in the health system is one we have been pointing out for years. It is encouraging that the Federal Government is showing some limited interest in this issue. The approach however, is half hearted. It continues to ignore the $1 billion savings which could be achieved if our Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme paid world market prices for drugs. Thus for the the breast cancer treatment Arimidex, the taxpayer  pays 30 times more than in Britain, and for cholesterol lower drugs it costs 10 times as much in Australia than in both Britian and New Zealand. But pharmaceutical companies are good political donors.

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7th Sep 2016

Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016 Senate Standing Committees on Economics

By: Dr Brett Montgomery

The Doctors Reform Society of Australia is concerned about the potential adverse health and societal impacts of two aspects of the Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016.

1. The bill proposes a $1.3 billion cut to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) over the coming 5 years. Many renewable energy researchers believe this likely to have serious negative impacts on renewable energy science in this country.

As a health organisation, we recognise the serious threat that climate change poses to health, both now and increasingly in the future. International health researchers believe climate change to be the biggest global health threat of our century. We believe that Australia needs to play a vigorous role in mitigating climate change. Clean energy technologies will be a vital part of such mitigation.

Cutting funding to such mitigation efforts would be a serious false economy.

2. The bill proposes to cut $4.40 per week from the energy supplement to Newstart recipients. New Newstart recipients receive a payment significantly below the poverty line, and this new cut would reportedly take these people 32% below the poverty line. International evidence finds that less generous unemployment payments are associated with poorer return-to-work outcomes. Inequality and poverty are important drivers of poor health outcomes.

We ask that the committee strike these budget measures from the bill. Indeed, we believe Australia should go further than this, and increase support for renewable energy and unemployed people.

Yours sincerely

Dr Brett Montgomery

on behalf of the Doctors Reform Society


24th Jul 2016

Submission to productivity commission on privatisation

By: Dr Tim Woodruff

Submission to the Productivity Commission regarding the public inquiry into the increased application of competition, contestability and informed user choice to human services

Thank you for the opportunity to provide a submission.

The Doctors Reform Society is an organisation of doctors and medical students whose aim is to have a health system and a society which optimises the health of Australians. Affordable timely access to high quality culturally appropriate health care is one key to that.

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