Prue Power, Executive Director, Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association, adds to the debate about health inequalities:
“As the peak national body for public health services, including public hospitals, the AHHA has a strong commitment to equity within our health system.
While Australia’s health system performs well compared with many other countries, in terms of equity of access, we need to do more to improve the health status of specific groups in the community, in particular Indigenous Australians, rural Australians and people from low socio-economic backgrounds.
AHHA shares Mark Ragg’s concern about the poorer health outcomes experienced by these groups and is committed to working closely with governments and other health stakeholders to address this issue.
In particular, we have advocated strongly for increasing access to public dental care through a number of media statements, submissions to government and policy papers (see our website for more information at www.aushealthcare.com.au)
AHHA is hopeful that the current Federal Government’s commitment to health system reform will result in a fairer health system for all Australians. In our submission to the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, and other current inquiries and reviews, we have stressed the need to maintain our strong commitment to universality within our health system and build on this by identifying and removing the barriers to improved health outcomes for Australians from marginalised groups.
As many of these barriers may lie outside the immediate influence of the health system, we believe that health groups need to work closely with other relevant sectors, in particular education and social security, to ensure that a comprehensive multi-sectoral approach is taken to reducing the health gaps within the Australian community.”