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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Former Deputy Chief Health Officer to lead patient voice in Medicare reforms

Health Industry Hub | February 3, 2023 |

MedTech News: Former Deputy Chief Health Officer of Australia has joined a leading patient advocacy group in the role of Ambassador for Health Reform.

The respiratory and infectious diseases physician, Dr Nick Coatsworth, who has led not-for-profit boards, medical assistance teams, government agencies and hospitals whilst retaining his frontline role as a public hospital physician, will use his new role with the Australian Patients Association (APA) to ensure that the voice of patients is heard in policy circles and in the media.

Dr Coatsworth said that as federal and state governments embark on the monumental task of reforming the healthcare system it is vital that grassroots advocacy organisations have a voice.

“Every interest group in health has one or more organised and professionalised bodies representing it, except the people who use the system,” Dr Coatsworth commented.

“These interest groups often push back on reforms proposed by governments because their role is to represent their members. But as we move from the old model of single-illness-based care to a model that recognises that the best care for the individual patient is delivered by a team of professionals working together, it is vital that patients have a seat at the table.

“To get ‘multidisciplinary or ‘team based’ care right for the patient, it’s likely every discipline will have to give ground a bit. We must seize this opportunity to reform Medicare in the interests of the community.”

Stephen Mason, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Patients Association, said that Dr Coatsworth will bring enthusiasm and expertise to the role of Ambassador for Health Reform.

“Dr Coatsworth is an experienced physician and public administrator, who has always put patients first in his work. We are very excited to add him to our team.

“The Australian Patients Association regularly surveys patients on their experiences and priorities, and reports on the findings. It is also the organisation that Australians are most likely to contact when they are having trouble navigating the healthcare system, or struggling to access the care they need.”

The APA’s survey of almost 11,700 consumers was released in June 2022 and provided consumer points of view and experiences across the public and private healthcare ecosystem. Costs associated with private health insurance was the number 1 issue facing consumers.

“Dr Coatsworth will help us ensure their voices are heard by government and policymakers as they tackle health system reform,” Mr Mason added.

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