Australian health inequality creates medical challenges

Date: Jan 18, 2017

Despite the best intentions of the country’s highly trained medical professionals, mistakes can occur in medical practices across the country. Whether it’s an error in surgery, a miscalculated prescription or faulty equipment, incidents that worsen a patient’s health can be a catalyst for medical negligence cases.

A publication from the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) found there are other complications affecting people’s health nationwide. While overall many people are getting healthier, inequality levels are getting higher, which can impact they way people approach healthcare.

What does healthcare inequality mean for Australian medical professionals?

The AHHA’s response to an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report reflected on both the positive and negative elements in Australia’s healthcare trends. One of the main points centres on the fact that there is an immense range of conditions that leads to health complications in Australians.

In particular, the data showed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a shorter life expectancy than other Australians. While they recorded improved health indicators in some areas, these groups still suffer from higher rates of diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease.

AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven noted the importance of realising that many ongoing health complications are the result of social issues and lifestyle risk factors like alcohol use and lack of physical activity.

“This is an opportunity for health leaders and the Commonwealth Government to heed the report’s message that lifestyle factors and social determinants are significant contributors to ill-health, and to address the issues of health inequality and the importance of reform across all of our care systems,” said Ms Verhoeven.

Non-profit organisation Australians Together expanded on the healthcare inequality issues dividing the groups mentioned above and other people around the country. A number of different health indicator statistics reveal notable differences, such has infant mortality rates, preventable death rates and overall life expectancy.

The inequalities don’t just exist between ethnic groups either. According to the AIHW report, Australian males have a mortality rate that’s 1.5 higher than that of females. Also, people who reside in very remote areas have a mortality rate the is 1.4 times that of those living in major population centres. The organisation found that these inequalities in particular have remained the same over the past 10 years.

The performance of the country’s medical professionals is influenced by a range of conditions. If something has gone wrong in a recent procedure or operation and you think you have a case, contact the team at Gerard Malouf and Partners.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.