New book puts focus on Australian healthcare fundamentals

30 June 2010

The Rudd health reform proposals failed to address the funding fundamentals of the Australian healthcare system according to the authors of the fourth edition of the highly regarded 'Health Care and Public Policy: An Australian Analysis.'

This new book argues for significant health policy reform; that shifts the balance of power towards a more equitable, publicly funded system.

'In reviewing the major health policy initiatives since the previous edition in 2000, we have come to the conclusion that a strong central government participation in health affairs is vital to achieve equity in health policy and delivery,' said co-author Professor Stephanie Short of Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Sydney.

Written in partnership with Emeritus Professor George Palmer of the Faculty of Medicine at UNSW, the new edition provides an up-to-date account of Australian health policies and considers the political, economic and social context of these reforms.

Particular attention is paid to the policy-relevant omissions and shortcomings in the Rudd Labor Government's National Health and Hospital Reform Commission Report.

"In our view there is a notable failure to question the lack of both horizontal and vertical equity in the financial arrangements that flow from the relatively high proportion of expenditure in Australia derived from private sources as compared with other developed OECD countries."

The authors also express concern that the report fails to address the considerable variation in the provision of many elective surgical procedures between geographical areas of similar demographic types, and to question the underlying assumption that all medical/surgical treatments and technologies are effective.

"As we make quite explicit in the book, our values are based on the premise that the more fortunate members of society have a strong responsibility to look after, both financially and otherwise, the less favoured individuals and communities."

The book will be launched by Dr James Gillespie, Deputy Director of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy at a launch event tomorrow evening. All are welcome.

Event details

Thursday 1 July, 2010 from 5pm

The University Co-operative Bookshop

Building G09

Cnr Codrington Street & Darlington Rd

University of Sydney NSW 2006

More information

Interview contact: Professor Stephanie Short on 02 9036 7374, 0407 580 286 or email

Media contact: Rachel Gleeson, University of Sydney Media Officer on 0403 067 342, (02) 9351 4312 or