Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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New Bill allows specialists to certify medical exemptions to vaccines

Starting with the 2015–16 Budget, the Australian Government has made significant changes to immunisation policy in recent years. These include removing conscientious objection as a valid exemption to immunisation requirements for certain family payments (the ‘No Jab, No Pay’ policy), and recording immunisation information nationally for people of all ages, rather than just young children. On 23 March 2017, the Government introduced the Australian Immunisation Register and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (the Bill) in the House of Representatives. This Bill expands the list of medical professionals who can certify a medical exemption to immunisation, and clarifies that... Read more...

Explainer: paying for GP services

This post has been revised on the 21st August 2014. Recently the debate around healthcare has focused on paying for GP services. The proposal for a patient co-payment is one example. Other proposals include capitation, blended payments and managed care. Arguments over the best funding models for primary care may appear to have little relevance for most patients, but how we fund primary care services can impact on the quality of care, as explained in this paper from the Primary Health Care Research & Information Service (PHCRIS). Currently, most primary care services like GP visits are funded through Medicare. GPs receive most of their remuneration through fee-for-service (FFS) payments... Read more...

What can be done about the social determinants of health?

Three recent reports: the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report on perinatal depression, Australia‚Äôs Health 2012 (produced by the AIHW) and the Council of Australian Government (COAG) Reform Council performance report on the National Healthcare Agreement (2008) have highlighted the impact of the social determinants of health. These reports demonstrate the relationship between income, health status and access to health care. They clearly show that Australians with low incomes usually have poorer health outcomes. The AIHW report on perinatal depression shows that low income households have the highest rates of perinatal depression (14%). Perinatal depression is less likely i... Read more...

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