Major Essay – Comparing Health Systems
It is beneficial to compare various care systems on the international as it acts as an important tool for healthcare researchers, the policy makes and health ministers who are volunteering to evaluate the performance of the nation’s care system (Ehara, 2011). Hence, comparing both national and international health care systems makes more extensive viewpoint for the overall public, researchers and policymakers. Achievement and downside inform how new policies, preventive measures and health interventions are created and executed in individual nations. Both application and assessment are needed to be considered carefully. It is crucial to estimate the methods and data that lies behind these comparisons in an appropriate manner if not done with utter care, there is a chance that it can misinterpret the outcomes. Apart from this, there are certain methodological issues that should be considered while assessing the data and availability and deciding about which nations to compare. By considering UK and Australia, the following paper would incorporate research and analysis of the healthcare related data, particularly by concentrating on funding system, Government framework, healthcare indicators, health system performance and status.
Funding System (including health insurance systems)
Figure 1: Source of funding (2012); Source: OECD health data (Oecd.org, 2016)
The National Health Care System in the UK has become one of the world’s largest healthcare systems. In the past, Healthcare policy was in the hand of central government whereas Scotland, England, Iceland, Whales and Northern Ireland depends on them. The situation is different now the power of the health care system has been transferred to local and regional ones. Due to this, Scotland, England, Iceland, Whales and Northern Ireland has their healthcare funding system. The health care system is responsible to and funded by discrete governments, parliaments, private sectors and smaller and voluntary provisions (Berry, 2015). This represents that individual nation has their own independent procedures and policies and because of this variation exists between these systems.
England-one of the largest and oldest single player healthcare system across the globe was publically funded by the National Health Service (NHS). Majority of the money was conducted through the common taxation system and controlled by the Health Department, offer care to legal residents of the in Britain and most of the services are free. This is noticeable in the previously mentioned graph, where the UK has higher public spending than Australia. Certain administrations like treatment for irresistible diseases and emergency treatment are free for all individuals including visitors as well. The single player healthcare in the UK may employ workforce and possess healthcare resources. However, it also made of different legitimately and fiscally independent Trusts for instance- Kent Community NHS Trust who provides medical benefits in East Sussex and a couple of areas in the London and Kent. In 2008-2009, the budget of NHS was equivalent to £110 billion where £1,980 per man, woman and child along with this almost£14 was spent on the medications (News.bbc.co.uk, 2016). Believing on the 2012 report, the yearly premium for the employer-sponsored healthcare policy was around $15,750 that has expanded to just about 4% since 2010, where an employee with normal pay almost $4316 as their coverage cost.
On the other side, in Australia, the healthcare facilities are provided by the government and private institutions. They follow ‘Medicare’ the universal HealthCare scheme funded by the public to cover the medical bills. This scheme was brought into the attention in the late 1984 and now exist with the private health system. Less than 2% of the scheme was funded by income tax levy which is not applicable to the low-earners. Slightly different from Medicare there is a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme’ that significantly sponsors a variety of prescription medications. The central health minister only looks after the national health policy while individual states supervise the hospital operations.
Figure 2: Responsibility and funding in health services; Source: (Aihw.gov.au, 2016)
The interior section demonstrates expenditure size in 3major individual and medicinal system: social healthcare, hospitals and different areas. The centre segment shows the use of administration and responsible persons for service delivery. The outer ring represents that funding size of the individual administration and source of the service. Compared to the UK in 2008-2009 the healthcare expenditure was around $140.2 billion compared to $133 billion in 2010-2011(Aihw.gov.au, 2016). About 70% of the whole health expenditure was supported by the diverse governments, where almost 27% was funded by the territory government and 42% was financed by the administration of Australia. Whereas, the remaining 17% paid by compensation, patients, and healthcare insurance. Additional government programs are focused to develop healthcare services to provide better facilities to individuals living in the remote areas of Australia, older Australians and the list goes on. In addition, the Australian government gives nearly $805 million chronic disease package to the indigenous individuals with the goal to how HealthCare system treats, prevents and control a chronic disease which influence numerous indigenous Australians (Aihw.gov.au, 2016).
- Governance System
In the UK, The major components of healthcare governance system incorporate clinical audit, risk management, education, training, evidence-based effectiveness, evidence-based care, an involvement of patient, staff management and care providers. Let’s discuss further to know more.
The risk management refers to reducing the risk of patients by recognising what could possibly go wrong during the care. It requires an in-depth understanding of the risk factors, collecting information from unfavourable incidents, ensuring proper precautions are taken to avoid any sort of recurrence and maintaining the quality of the system to cut down the risks.
The clinical audit allows healthcare professionals to evaluate the quality of care. This helps them to find out whether they are working by sticking to the standard care guidelines and compare the performance against the pre-set standards. This gives care professionals a wide range of opportunities to work on the care quality making it better than it is now. The individual audit is performed by the staff while NHS foundation trusts and hospitals participate in National audit program carried by the healthcare commission and National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD).
In order to effectively perform the job, every care provider must possess efficient knowledge and skills. This is the main reason why professionals are provided with regular opportunity to enhance their knowledge, skills, and the latest development along with adopting new skills. Various teams including medical education, nursing education, clinical skills and development skills work together with the medical trainers to enhance the overall competence of staff members so they can deliver the best services to patients. As patients care should be founded on the quality only from therapeutic research. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) is responsible for providing national guidelines in term of health promotion, avoidance and ill-health treatment. It is right to say that supervisor of the clinical effectiveness agencies consistency with the NICE rules. The British government keep the backup powers comprising the mediate rights. Public resources are protected through privatization or demutualisation and disallowances. For the Australian healthcare system coordinating with the governance and health service regulation is indeed a tough job. Plus, it is the major responsibility of the government to control the health care system which makes the overall process more complicated. Both government and non-government share the healthcare planning and delivery of services.
The current issues faced by the governance of Australia are mentioned in the context of regulating and financing the Indigenous Australians’ health care. The problem has been identified as “fee for service” in general practices and pharmacy care, particularly by the indigenous Australians. They do not possess any right to access the fair share of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS-) and Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS-) subsidized care services (Pbs.gov.au, 2016). There are various problems that continuously hinder the draw of funds between Commonwealth and states. This directly affects the implementation of good intentions and ideas like Primary Health Care Access Program (PHCAP). Apart from this, it was also mentioned that Aboriginal care providers are facing major issues in overseeing different contracts and adherence with various announcing needs compared to other care providers. This further determines the main reason why the less access to primary health care was granted to Indigenous people. This problem could be resolved if the state and Commonwealth could solve disagreement on who is answerable for what, select a concurred role and execute inventive methodologies to coordinate with different networks.
- Selected Population Health Indicators
a. Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR)
The MMR is the indicator for efforts to improve the health of the mothers. In short, MMR represents the number of females who annually give birth. The maternal death is divided into two main subcategories first is direct and second is indirect. The main reason behind the increasing pregnancy deaths is various diseases and their stimulation due to the pregnancy. The death rate could stumble down with the help of pregnancy management. The mentioned death rate causes don’t include accidents or incidental causes. In 2011-2013 the survey revealed that around 214 women who died in the UK due to the pregnancy but looking at the big picture the rate has declined from 2010 (BBC News, 2016). Although, this death rate could be controlled by providing better care services to mothers. During the pregnancy the immune system of women become weaker thus, separation of uterus and placenta could be the main resource of infection in them.
Taking a lot at the statistics of Australia, in 2008-2012, there were around 105 maternal deaths were recorded which determine that there are almost 7 women over 100,000 dies because of the pregnancy. Through statistics, it could be seen that the MMR rate is low for Australian women still it is extremely dangerous for the Indigenous population. For them, the death rate is 3 times higher in comparison to general women.
b. Infant Mortality Rate
The infant mortality rate in the UK predicted to be around 150% than most of the other European countries by the year 2030. The mortality rate in Australia was 4.37 while in the UK it was 4.37 over per 1000 births which represent the rate of infant mortality after the year of their birth. This rate is the key indicator of the health rate of the country (Cia.gov, 2016). As per the records, infant mortality in the UK is considered as one of the most horrible incidents, especially in Greece and Portugal which is due to the lack of funding from the NHS and high rate of poverty. Britain ranked as 4th highest among the western countries while in term of income equality it ranked third. Although, the country is well –developed the income gap is the main reason behind the child death rate. This indicates the direct relationship between health equality and child death rate (Mail Online, 2015).
Figure 3: Infant mortality rate in Australia; Source: (Abs.gov.au, 2016)
The above graph shows a decreasing rate of child death especially after the development of maternity care unit. The Australian government took initial steps to spread awareness on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome known as SIDS in short and other associated risk factors through regular vaccinations to maintain the immune system.
c. Life Expectancy at Birth
The life expectancy refers to the average number of year a child is going to live if the mortality rate during his or her birth remains constant in the future. The life expectancy rate in a particular country incorporates the summarization of mortality patterns across different age groups. According to the collected data in 2015 the life expectancy rate in the UK was 76.8years which was increased since the last five years.
Australian, in this case, are outliving the UK with the average life of 82 years. However, for the indigenous population is life expectancy is less on the average base they live around 75 years. It associated with the average age of death in a particular country linked with the actual death rate in the same population. The shows the direct relationship between life expectancy and death rate as lower death rate means greater life expectancy. It is right to say that ratio highly depends on the population. As mentioned earlier life expectancy rate has a direct relationship with the death rate and if pushed further it can also relate with the infant and child death. Apart from this difference could be seen in the death patterns. For instance- in 1923 various diseases caused 15% Australian death and majority of the population was infected. During that time the life expectancy falls down to 27 years old whereas, in 2013 infectious disease caused around 2% death due to this the rate was fallen under the 75 years (Aihw.gov.au, 2016).
- Health Status
a. Low birth weight 45/45
Low birthweight is a term used to describe babies born with the less than average healthy weight which is 8 pounds.
Figure 4: Source: (poverty.org, 2016)
In countries like Wales and England the low birthweight has remained untouched since the last few decades. It has been witnessed that babies of single parents tend to have low birthweight in comparison to others. In between 1998 to 2000, there were around more than 3087 new-born babies weighed less than average, especially babies of native mothers.
Figure 5: Comparable data of obesity; Source:
From the received data, it could be mentioned that obesity has become one of the major causes of deaths in the past few years. The scenario is even worse in the OECD countries. This data shows that health care cost has increased because of the preventable health diseases and complications, diabetes and heart disease are examples of this. In some areas of England, the obesity rate is under control but the situation is just the opposite in Australia. Obesity has increased in Australia for the last few decades. Individuals with no education and lower socio-economic are tended to gain more weight. Plus, the gap is even wider among the Australian women population. The obesity rate can be reduced with regular physical exercise along with healthy eating habits (OECD, 2014).
The data shows that there are 3.7 people living with diabetes in the UK. It also indicates that diabetes is common in between the age group of 20-29 years. This rate is expected to be doubled in the year 2035 and could affect around 592 million people. It is estimated that every 1 out of 17 individuals in the UK is suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes (Diabetes UK, 2014).
Figure 6: Diabetes prevalence; Source: (Aihw.gov.au, 2016)
Coming to Australia, there are around 280 individuals in the country who develops diabetes every day which means one person in every 5 minutes develop this disease (Aihw.gov.au, 2016). This rate includes both type 1 and type 2. In addition, this collected data also represent that diabetes is rapidly increasing in both men and women along with their age.
Figure 7: Individuals diagnosed with asthma; Source: (Statistics.blf.org.uk, 2016)
In the UK, Asthma has become a major problem faced by the general public. There are more than 5.4 million people are diagnosed with Asthma which includes 1.1 million children, and 4.3 million adults. This indicates that every 1 out of 12 individuals is suffering from Asthma. On the other side, in Australia, every 1 out of 9 individuals are suffering from Asthma which is around 2.5 million. Children between the 0-14 are prone to have a higher risk of Asthma. In 2009 the total expenditure cost was $655 million that directly increased the total health expenditure.
As many as 7 million in the UK are suffering from hypertension without knowing its risks from which 32% are men and 30% are women (Bloodpressureuk.org, 2016). Each year approximately 63,000 deaths occur due to the stroke and high blood pressure. Almost one-third people are not aware of their conditions or existing knowledge of gap.
Figure 8: proportion of hypertension; Source: (Abs.gov.au, 2016)
In Australia during 2014-2015. 6 million Australian people aged 18 or more are suffering from high blood pressure. Out of these two-third had unmanaged blood pressure which represents 4 million Australian.
Figure 9: Cancer screening rates; Source: (Wcrf.org, 2016)
From the above graph, it could be seen that the cancer rate in the UK is higher than in Australia. Every year more than 360000 cancer cases appear in the UK while in Australia the number is around 138000. However, this data doesn’t represent that UK women suffer from cervical cancer in comparison to Australia. This data can be used to spread awareness among the women population of the country. In the UK almost 161,825 deaths have occurred because of cancer which includes lungs, bowel, breast and prostate cancer and other soft of cancers (Cancer Research UK, 2015).
- Health System Performance
- % GDP Spent on Health
Figure 10: % GDP Spent on Health; Source: (Data.worldbank.org, 2016)
- According to the official analysis has uncovered that government spending on the NHS has fallen down as a % of GDP. The spending has reduced from 6.5%v to 6.2% from 2012-2013 to 2015-2016. On the other hand, the minimum expenditure on the health care system has increased and financial development has outperformed the consumption by 2010 demonstrates shrinkage in % of GDP. Unexpectedly, on the yearly basis, Australia spent nearly $121.5 billion (as per recorded in 2010) that is right around 9.5% of the whole spending on all services (average $5,480/person). Since the past few decades, the health care expenses have increased but not as much as compared to the UK. Considering the overall funding, the Australian Government has given around 45%, other states contributed 25%, several funds have been involved as out-of-the-box payment, and health insurers (8%).
- Measures and results along with comparison that the countries use to demonstrate the health care
- After comparing the health situations of both countries we could say both of them provide good healthcare services including major parameters: physical accessibility, affordability, non-discrimination, and information accessibility. Both healthcare systems stay adhere to the standards and medical ethics. Professionals provide the best care while maintaining the sensitivity.
- There are numerous methods to develop the quality of care system that may be or not budget-friendly but they will be surely effective. An appropriate example of this could be the implementation of EMRs or medical devices to keep the track of patient’s health. The safety and effectiveness can further be increased by policies, which will help professionals to effectively plan the services, budget and other resources and making the win-win situation.
From the above discussion, it could be considered that Australia provides free health care services to its citizens since 1975 named as Medibank that supports autonomous access to the particular medical procedure, specialist visits, authority conferences et cetera, which was rebranded after some time as a Medicare and worked under the government authority. Along with this, dental care was excluded from the healthcare system has sponsored numerous pharmaceutical benefit plans which incorporate various plans which further provide buyers with reasonable medications, healthcare insurance cards and other benefits for suitable citizens. On the other side, in the UK, the NHS provides most of the funds to their healthcare sector. Moreover, unlike the Australian government, the UK care system provides dental and optical care along with other necessary services. The life insurance cost is very similar in both countries, thus, the healthcare system has its own advantages and downsides which are mentioned in this document.
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