The AMA has continuously argued that Australian economic policy needs to recognise that costs associated with inadequate prevention and delayed healthcare, including for chronic illness, access to planned essential surgeries or mental healthcare, have impacts beyond the health system.
Delayed access to healthcare has an impact, leading to loss of quality of life and further deterioration of health for the persons affected. Delaying a minor surgical intervention to improve the hearing of a child can result in significant challenges later in life if they miss crucial developmental milestones. This is likely to incur much larger costs throughout their life than the cost of surgery. Access to joint replacement surgery for someone in their fifties, still with years or decades before retirement, results in their inability to work for extended periods of time while also leaving them reliant on pain medication. This may also negatively impact their mental health.
All these costs are borne by taxpayers but they could have been avoided by better investment at an earlier stage. The AMA has been calling for all levels of government to stop shifting the costs and work together to solve these problems. The AMA's sees the Treasury’s plan to measure what matters as a key component in this, in terms of establishing and delivering evidence.