Healthcare & Lifescience Talking Points | 20/07/2017

In today’s talking points: American healthcare study ranks Australia second best in developed world; survey shows big bones do not cause obesity; improving the integration of health and elderly care in China; progress in China’s health reform.

American healthcare study ranks Australia second best in developed world

A team of American researchers have ranked Australia among the best in the world in a recent research study. In their study of 11 different national health care models, researchers at the New York-based Commonwealth Fund ranked Australia’s mixed public-private system second best. The United Kingdom National Health Service was ranked the best system overall, followed by Australia, the Netherlands, and then Norway and New Zealand sharing fourth place. Although Australia placed well in overall rankings, its equity ranking was below average. Overall the American authors still thought many countries could learn from Australia’s healthcare system.

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Survey shows big bones do not cause obesity

A survey of 600 Queenslanders by the state branch of the Australian Medical Association has found 78 per cent of Brisbane residents blame genetics for their weight woes, along with 48 percent of people living in the regions. AMA state president Bill Boyd said genetics only play a “small” role in the obesity epidemic confronting Australia. Around 10 percent of people surveyed admitted to eating junk food once a week, and a further 43 per cent admitting to eating junk food once or twice a week. Obesity has become a growing problem within Queensland, with 33 percent of people surveyed putting on between 6kg and 10kg, and with eight percent putting on more than 15kg.  Bill Boyd said that with the circumstances, and the environment we live in, has lead to more people putting on weight.

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Improving the integration of health and elderly care in China

At a recent press briefing, Wang Haidong, official at the National Health and Family Planning Commission, spoke about a greater push in improving health care integration and quality of elderly care services by encouraging cooperation between various health institutions. For greater convenience in accessing medical services for the elderly, China has set out to establish green channels in 80% of its medical institutions in 2017. China also aims to provide a wide range of medical services for its elderly patients in more than 50% of its elderly care institutions. Furthermore, in pursuant of ensuring that 60% of China’s elderly patients are engaged with contractual family doctors, family doctors are to prioritise elderly patients and to offer basic customised health care services to them. To increase the access of elderly care in China, the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) further provides subsidies for all elderly individuals suffering from financial difficulties or disabilities.

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Progress in China’s health care reform

In 2016, China has expanded the number of cities participating in the health care reform to 200. In fact, in a recent report released by the leading health care group, more than 2,300 public hospitals have participated in the reform. Furthermore, the costs of medical services and medicines in 92.6% of the prefectural cities have been adjusted to reflect the drop in outpatient and hospitalization fees in 2016. Additionally, while 98.8% of the population is enrolled in various public medical insurance systems, there are more than 440,000 non-public medical institutions now established in China.

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