medical science draft narrative

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  • Better Medical Science

    A strong, well-funded medical science sector to deliver better health outcomes for all Australians.

    Better Medical Science

  • Better Medical Science

    The time has come for governments to determine what sort of health sector Australia needs for the future.

    However, our population is growing and aging, placing additional strain on the wider health sector. In order to deliver better health outcomes for all Australians, we need a firm policy for medical science that delivers a stronger sector and provides the support required for effective and fast treatment, diagnosis, health management and research.

    Professionals AustraliaSTREET ADDRESS 163 Eastern Rd, South Melbourne Victoria 3205, Australia

    POSTAL ADDRESS GPO Box 1272, Melbourne Victoria 3001, Australia

    TELEPHONE 1300 273 762

    EMAIL info@professionalsaustralia.org.au

    WEB www.professionalsaustralia.org.au

  • Better Medical Science

    Dear Medical Science Professional,

    Australia prides itself on having a world-class health system. Many years of investment has developed a strong network of medical scientists and medical physicists that work together with our doctors to ensure the ongoing health of all Australians. While our networks are strong, the need to consistently improve and cater for our growing population means that more needs to be done. Australias aging population will exacerbate this problem, as the baby-boomers move towards retirement, where health care needs are often higher.

    With the challenges of a growing and aging population both expected to increase over the coming years, the time has come for governments to determine what sort of health sector we need, and what has to be done to deliver this. In order to effectively answer this question, we need a firm policy regarding medical science that addresses how we can strengthen the sector and provide the support required for effective and fast treatment, diagnosis, health management and research.

    In developing a whole-of-government policy, the goal must be the improvement of medical science, to provide better health outcomes for Australians. However, public spending has become a topical issue in recent years, and governments have not been able to resist the temptation to pull money out of our health sector. Governments have also sought to push much of this vital work into the private sector and out of our hospitals. Removing the direct link between medical scientists and doctors will ultimately compromise the treatment of patients, by cutting the level of communication and increasing the time taken for results to be delivered.Any plan to strengthen and future-proof our medical science sector must involve additional funding, and an end to cost cutting. Governments need to look at how they can make our diagnostic services, research and pathology departments better, not simply how they can make them cheaper. Additional funding will encourage decision makers in hospitals and health departments to build a vision for the sector, address the short-falls in our systems, and empower our medical science professionals to deliver the best possible support for our doctors.

    However, alongside additional funding, we need the right people, with the right skills. A major aspect of ensuring a strong medical science sector is to provide better support and conditions for our medical scientists and medical physicists. In order to achieve this, governments need to investment in workforce development, rather than pulling money and jobs out of the industry. This will not be achieved without rebuilding respect, recognition and reward for medical science professionals in our hospitals, pathology departments and in the wider health sector. We need to support our medical scientists and medical physicists so they can make vital contributions to Australias health, now and in the future.

    The time to act is now if we are to effectively future proof our health system. To do this, we need to make sure we have a guiding plan for the sector, with adequate funding and the necessary skilled scientists to deliver the health outcomes that the community needs. With that, I extend an invitation to all medical science professionals to be a part of this initiative, and help shape our plan from the ground up to make the voice of your sector stronger.Please visit: Professionalsaustralia.org.au/_________ and register your interest. Otherwise, contact sherrington@professionalsaustralia.org.au.

    Thank you,

    Chris Walton, CEO | Professionals Australia

    Chris Walton, CEO Professionals Australia

    An open letter

    In order to achieve this, governments need to investment in workforce development, rather than pulling money and jobs out of the industry.

    This will not be achieved without rebuilding respect, recognition and reward for medical science professionals in our hospitals, pathology departments and in the wider health sector.

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  • Better Medical Science

    A world-class health sector is vital if we are to improve the health and quality of life for Australians in the future. However, the pressure on our health sector is only going to increase over the coming

    years, as our population increases, and gets older. To effectively face these challenges, we need better funding for medical science.

    Strengthening our health sector

    The consequences

    Medical science professionals work in a diverse range of roles within the wider health sector. Our medical scientists study and diagnose diseases, and work directly with our doctors to better understand and manage patient care. Medical science capability is core to the delivery of an efficient, functioning health service. Pathology, one the many disciplines within medical science, is involved in approximately 70% of medical treatment decisions, and 60% of Australians will require pathology services at least once a year. In addition, medical scientists also provide expertise in complex technologies in the heath sector and often bridge the gap between IT, biomedical engineering, and clinical staff. Governments therefore rely on medical scientists to ensure they are informed purchasers of high-level, high-cost medical technologies.

    However, current efforts to produce a cheaper health system are undermining the support for medical science. Better planning at government level is needed to determine our priorities, improve funding levels, and prioritise high-quality over low-cost. If the health of Australians is to be prioritised, we need to ensure that we are investing in our medical science professionals, providing the workforce, equipment and facilities required to strengthen the health sector.

    Planning: no current plan to improve the quality of medical science throughout Australia; current planning prioritises low-cost over high-quality no plan is in place to improve capacity to deal with growing and aging population; current planning is impeding direct relationship between medical scientists and doctors; and a lack of planning for future demand discourages workforce development.

    Funding: inadequate investment to strengthen in-house skill; inadequate investment in strengthen and future-proof our facilities; cuts to public sector are reducing the workforce and closing some facilities; and low budgets compromise the effectiveness of existing facilities.

    Workforce: no workforce development framework exists to encourage the attraction and retention of quality medical scientists; lack of funding is causing a decline in public sector skill; response times are likely to decline due to a depletion of in-house skills; regulators not listening to industry experts, discouraging expert opinion; and doctors are losing the ability to liaise directly with medical scientists, which can be vital in providing the best treatment and diagnostic options.

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  • Better Medical Science

    If Australias medical science sector is going to be prepared for the forecast demand growth over the coming years, we need to fix the problems now. By improving planning and coordination across all parts of the industry, we will be better placed to tackle the challenges of the future.

    A thorough, well-designed plan that prioritises quality and capacity would allow decision makers to direct funds where they are most needed, and would provide a strong case for additional funding and an end to the cuts. A plan to attract, develop and retain a skilled workforce of medical scientists and medical physicists would significantly strengthen the sector. The wider health sector would be better positioned to provide effective, fast and high-quality treatments and diagnoses.

    PlanningAustralias population is growing. According to Infrastructure Australia, the population is forecast to rise from 22.3 million in 2011 to 30.5 million in 2031. Australians are also living longer and the baby-boomer generation is rapidly moving towards retirement. These trends are going to place significant stress on public-sector medical science, with demand for pathology and diagnostic services expected to rise dramatically.

    Alarmingly, at present there is no plan in place to manage this increase in demand, with government policy pulling funding away from medical science, rather than strengthening resources in a time of need. The private sector will not be able to fill the gap, as public pathology and medical science do the majority of the less profitable work. The public sector is also better able to liaise directly with doctors and nurses within hospitals, to provide faster, more-tailored patient care. Professionals in medical science are telling us that there is a planning problem in the sector, and that current p