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

INVESTMENT IN PATIENTS NOT A BUDGET PRIORITY

This year’s budget claims to be about funding infrastructure and restoring fairness. The most important piece of infrastructure for the future of Australians is the people. The health of every Australian is vital for our country to progress. But almost all of the health measures in the budget are simply partial restorations of funding which has previously been slashed. It would appear this budget is designed simply to move health off the political agenda as much as possible.

Whilst extra funding for mental health and for research in primary health care is welcome, the paltry 3% increase in hospital funding is less than inflation, the Medicare rebate freeze will still remain in part for 3 years, there is no new funding for preventive health, for expansion of Primary Health Care networks to co-ordinate the chaotic health system patients have to negotiate, for dental care, or for the myriad supportive community based programs axed by the 2014 budget’s cut to flexible funding.

Funding for general practice is now becoming increasingly dependent on rents from pathology companies with multiple potential dangers as the Government attempts to reduce the cost of pathology.

Dr Tim Woodruff Dr Con Costa President Vice President
Ph 0401042619 Ph 0418400309


http://www.facebook.com/DoctorsReformSociety

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KILLER COPAYMENTS: SPECIALISTS AND PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

“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.”

Read more

Articles

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

A FAIR GO OR SHOULD WE TAX PEOPLE WHO ARE UNLUCKY ENOUGH TO BE SICK?

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

1st May 2017

Narrow Vision of Elites

The Age
By: Dr Tim Woodruff

The most important part of a nation’s infrastructure is the people. People who are sick are less productive. Parents, children and partners of sick people are less productive as they take time to care for loved ones.
But this government has systematically attacked investment in the health of that infrastructure (the people) by freezing the Medicare rebate, and cutting promised dental care and funding to multiple community-based care organisations and so on. The aim of making Australia more productive reflects the narrow vision of the elites who run our country. Instead the government will continue to subsidise the private health and hospitals industries and pay $445 million above world market prices to the pharmaceutical industry for prescription drugs.

18th Apr 2017

Medicare safety net a Coalition gimmick

The Age
By: Dr Tim Woodruff

The abuse of the extended Medicare safety net is no surprise (The Age, 15/4). When it was introduced by John Howard, the Victorian branch of the Australian Medical Association detailed in its monthly newsletter how a psychiatrist could make more money without any extra care or cost to the patient. Also, most of the money spent through the safety net goes to rich electorates. Very little goes to patients in poor electorates. The scheme has helped many doctors financially but was a gimmick designed to fool people into believing the Coalition cared about out-of-pocket costs. In fact, the Medicare rebate freeze sends a clear message this government wants patients to pay more out of their pocket.

Dr Tim Woodruff, Doctors Reform Society

Submissions

Submission to the 2017 Review of Australia’s climate change policies

What about health impacts?

The Doctors Reform Society is a health organisation which aims to improve health for all people in a socially just and equitable way. We believe that human health depends fundamentally on a healthy environment. We accept the scientific consensus that anthropogenic global warming is occurring, that this is a great hazard to health, and that urgent action to combat this is required.(1)

It is from our health perspective that we wish to make a brief submission to the current review of Australia’s climate change policies. This complements and in places overlaps with our recent submission to the National Electricity Market review.(2)

We welcome the discussion paper’s acknowledgement that the climate change is a global issue requiring an international response, in which Australia has an important role to play.(3)

However, we note the near-absence of discussion of health in the discussion paper – indeed, the word “health” appears only once, in reference to motor vehicle emissions rather than climate change impacts. It is vital that the Australian government responds to climate change not just as an environmental issue or an energy issue but also as a serious health issue…

Read the full submission here..

Submission to the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market

The Doctors Reform Society is a health organisation which aims to improve health for all people in a socially just and equitable way. We believe that human health depends fundamentally on a healthy environment. We accept the scientific consensus that anthropogenic global warming is occurring, that this is a great hazard to health, and that urgent action to combat this is required.(1)

It is from our health perspective that we wish to make a brief submission in response to the Preliminary Report of the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market.

We welcome the report’s acknowledgement that the Australian electricity sector is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, its recognition that the transition to a low emissions economy is imminent, and its awareness of the importance of integrating emissions reduction and energy policies.(2)

However, we note the absence of discussion of health in the Preliminary Report – indeed, the word “health” appears nowhere in its pages…

Read the full submission here.