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Australia tops international healthcare survey


Matt Woodley


8/12/2020 3:58:34 PM

The results reaffirm the ‘outstanding’ job healthcare professionals have done amid major challenges, RACGP President Dr Karen Price said.

Smiley faces
Australia rated highly in a number of areas, including access to primary care and trust in health authorities.

‘There are many cracks in our healthcare system, but it is heartening to see Australia leading the globe in a number of different categories contained in this survey,’ new RACGP President Dr Karen Price said of the Ipsos global health service monitor 2020.
 
The findings of the survey, which included more than 20,000 people, show more than eight in 10 Australians (81%) rate the quality of healthcare to which they have access as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ – the highest result of all 27 countries that participated.
 
Nearly three quarters of Australians (74%) have a high level of trust in domestic healthcare services – second only to Malaysia (75%) and well above the global average (50%) – while Australia also rated highly in terms of public access to both primary care and health information.
 
Dr Price told newsGP the findings reaffirm the ‘outstanding’ job GPs and Australia’s other healthcare workers have done despite rising pressure stemming from a raft of challenges, including fragmentation, limited resources and the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
‘It is especially pleasing to see access to primary care is higher here than anywhere else in the world, but there is more work to be done in this space – particularly with regard to expanding access for disadvantaged groups,’ she said.
 
Ipsos Australia Director Dan Pole said the results represent a continuation of a longer-term trend of increasing positivity towards the country’s healthcare system.
 
‘We are more satisfied than we were a decade ago, and right now we are among the most satisfied citizens in the world,’ he said.
 
‘This is something that everyone in healthcare – from frontline staff to ministers – should be very proud of.
 
‘[But] we should also avoid complacency and remember that perception and reality are not always aligned.’
 
Despite the positive overall response, a large minority of Australians (42%) are concerned that many people cannot afford good healthcare and more than half (52%) believe the system is currently overstretched.
 
And the majority of respondents do not have faith this will change, with only 28% expecting the healthcare system to improve in future years, while 11% believe it will get worse.
 
Dr Price called these findings ‘concerning’.
 
‘Only three in 10 Australians expect the healthcare system to improve, so it must be our mission to exceed expectations and continue to go above and beyond in our pursuit of excellence,’ she said.
 
‘Luckily, we already know the best way to improve affordability, capacity, and access to good quality healthcare; fund general practice.
 
‘The RACGP’s General Practice: Health of the Nation report details the untapped potential primary care has to improve health outcomes and increase efficiency. Now is the time to put that knowledge to good use for the benefit of all Australians.’
 
Other important Australian findings:

  • COVID-19 was identified as the largest health problem facing the country; the key health problems cited by Australians are coronavirus (65%), mental health (47%), cancer (30%), obesity (22%) and drug abuse (14%).
  • Australians are much more likely than the global average to cite mental health as an issue (47% vs 26%)
  • A clear majority of Australians (72%) believe vaccinations against serious infectious diseases should be compulsory, significantly higher than the global average (64%).
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