A major coup for Australian Patients Association with new appointment

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A major coup for the Australian Patients Association with the appointment of former Commonwealth deputy chief medical officer Dr Nick Coatsworth as an Ambassador for Health Reform.

Dr Coatsworth brings extensive experience to the role. He is an infectious diseases physician, who has led not-for-profit boards, Australian Medical Assistance Teams, government agencies and hospitals.

The association said he will use the new ambassadorial role to help ensure that the voice of patients is heard in policy circles, as well as represented in the media.

Dr Coatsworth played a prominent role during the COVID-19 pandemic, as deputy chief medical officer, but also as a critic of extended lockdowns and restrictions.

Dr Coatsworth says that, as federal and state governments embark on the 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,” said Dr Coatsworth.

“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.”

Australian Patients Association CEO Stephen Mason said, “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.

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