This new OECD series aims to highlight the latest data in selected countries, to explain their health care systems and to provide key information in a clear and concise way. Each country snapshot highlights the most pertinent issues, be it smoking, obesity, surgical interventions, consumption of antibiotics, physicians density, etc., with the help of key statistics and are followed by brief policy recommendations.
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In Australia, there are two main categories for nurses: Enrolled Nurses (EN) (who, after an additional 6 months of studies, can become Endorsed Enrolled Nurses (EEN)) and Registered Nurses (RN). Graduates from RN programmes can pursue further education and training to become Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) or Nurse Practitioners (NP).
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Entry to initial medical education in Australia can either occur directly following the completion of secondary school (entry to undergraduate medical education) or following the completion of a bachelor degree in any field (entry to graduate medical education). In 2014, 18 medical schools offered medical education programs in Australia.
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The Australian health system is a complex mix of federal and state government funding and responsibility, making it difficult for patients to navigate. Despite its complexity, Australia’s universal health system achieves good results relatively efficiently.
Tackling mental ill-health of the working-age population is a key issue for labour market and social policies in OECD countries. OECD governments increasingly recognise that policy has a major role to play in keeping people with mental ill-health in employment or bringing those outside of the labour market back to it, and in preventing mental illness. This report on Australia is the ninth and last in a series of reports looking at how the broader education, health, social and labour market policy challenges identified in Sick on the Job? Myths and Realities about Mental Health and Work (OECD, 2012) are being tackled in a number of OECD countries. It concludes that policy thinking in Australia shows well-advanced awareness both of the costs of mental illness for society as a whole and of the health benefits of employment. However, challenges remain in: making employment issues a concern of the health care services; helping young people succees in their future working lives; making the workplace a safe, supportive psychosocial environment; and better designing and targeting employment services for jobseekers with mental ill-health.
The recent mental health reform is an important step towards better services for people with mental ill-health, but Australia needs to do more to help people with mild to moderate mental health issues at and into work, according to a new OECD report.
Australia should improve the integration of care across the patient pathway to prepare for a rise in chronic disease and make the health system less complex for patients, according to a new OECD report.
Australia’s health system functions remarkably well, despite operating under a complex set of institutions that make coordinating patient care difficult. Complications arising from a split in federal and state government funding and responsibilities are central to these challenges. This fragmented health care system can disrupt the continuity of patient care, lead to a duplication of services and leave gaps in care provision. Supervision of these health services by different levels of government can manifest in avoidable impediments such as the poor transfer of health information, and pose difficulties for patients navigating the health system. Adding to the Australian system’s complexity is a mix of services delivered through both the public and private sectors. To ease health system fragmentation and promote more integrated services, Australia should adopt a national approach to quality and performance through an enhanced federal government role in steering policy, funding and priority setting. The states, in turn, should take on a strengthened role as health service providers, with responsibility for primary care devolved to the states to better align it with hospital services and community care. A more strategic role for the centre should also leave room for the strategic development of health services at the regional level, encouraging innovation that is responsive to local population need, particularly in rural and remote areas.
Specific country notes have been prepared using data from the database OECD Health Statistics 2015, July 2015 version. The notes are available in PDF format.
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This country profile describes in details the Australian pharmaceutical system, including decision-making processes for regulatory approval, reimbursement and pricing; assessment guidelines; institution and stakeholders involved and specific policies for new high cost drugs, when available.