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Physician assistants provide high-quality care and can help fill Australia’s rural doctor shortage. Dr.Farouk/Flickr

Good news for rural health: physician assistants join the workforce

At a ceremony in Townsville today, four people will graduate from James Cook University’s physician assistant program. They will be Australia’s first bachelor’s graduates in that field. This is an important…
For patients, the availability of beds is more important than the overall number. Emily Orpin/Flickr

Victoria votes: more hospital beds doesn’t equal better health

Scanning through the media coverage of the major parties’ health policies one could be forgiven for thinking that hospital beds are the key to health. Sure, hospital spending dominates the health budget…
Elderly patients increasingly have multiple illnesses and are much more difficult to care for. Julian Rovagnati/Shutterstock

Why hospitals need more generalist doctors and specialist nurses

New medical technologies and treatments over the past few decades have led to remarkable improvements in treating older patients. The annual death rate for an 80-year-old male in 2011 was just 5.6%, compared…
Nation wide, rapid response teams save around 12,000 lives per year. AAP

Rapid response teams halve hospital heart attack deaths

Detecting and treating patients before they have a cardiac arrest isn’t rocket science, but it’s a life saver. Rapid response systems identify deteriorating patients by abnormal vital signs and observations…
As the queue grows, small increases in waiting times soon turn into dramatic spikes. Fotoluminate LLC/Shutterstock

GP co-payment would increase emergency department wait times

The introduction of a GP co-payment could see average emergency department visits increase by between six minutes and almost three hours, new modelling shows, as more patients opt for free hospital care…
The chances of a single level of government taking charge of Australia’s health system are slim. AAP/Quentin Jones

Federal-state health relations: can anything be salvaged?

The federal budget reignited debate over federal-state relations with a decision to cut $80 billion funding for the state responsibilities of schools and hospitals over the coming years. So how can federal-state…
Effective, safe and patient-centred care is needed across the board. Jorgejesus4

Quality of hospital care varies more within countries than between them

Patient safety and quality of care are priorities in health, as is learning from our mistakes when things go wrong. But little is known about what hospitals are doing to make sure the services they deliver…
With the right training and supervision, assistants could safely take on 15% of nurses' workloads. John Keith/Shutterstock

Hospital workforce reform: better jobs and more care

Employees are the public hospital system’s most valuable resource, and its biggest cost. Wages account for nearly 70% of recurrent hospital spending. To keep hospital care affordable in a time of rising…
Doctors are focused almost exclusively on treating the potential infection in the patient in front of them. Shutterstock

Infection control: why doctors over-prescribe antibiotics

Health authorities have long warned that antibiotics should only be used when they’re genuinely needed, to restrain antibiotic-resistant superbugs and avoid potentially serious side-effects. But many doctors…
Finding ways to deliver high-quality care at an affordable cost to the nation is just as important as finding cures for diseases. DWaschnig/Flickr

Digital tools for a better, more sustainable health system

It seems that almost every politician, health economist, policy expert and health-care worker has a different take on the state of the nation’s health system and ways to make it more sustainable. But notably…
The cost of operations varies from hospital to hospital but a higher price doesn’t equal better care. TheTun/Shutterstock

Public hospital efficiency gains could save $1 billion a year

Public hospital spending has been the single fastest-growing area of government spending over the past decade. As governments, policymakers and economists put health spending under the microscope, it’s…
Women report that the birth environment is a key factor in how easy or hard it is to give birth. Image from shutterstock.com

Babies, not burgers: why we need better-designed labour wards

I recently visited a new McDonald’s outlet on the northern fringes of Sydney. What I found inside left me gawping in astonishment: soft lighting, views of nature, a mixture of private and communal spaces…

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