CHF makes the case for 'access' as a basic need

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The Consumers Health Forum has used its pre-election platform to argue that access to "new and innovative health technology, including medicines and devices" should be a basic expectation of all Australian patients.

The organisation has released its platform ahead of the 2022 federal election. It says the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the need for significant reform "into sharp focus".

"Achieving the best health services, care and outcomes for all will need that always seeks to place consumers at the centre of care, developing policies, systems and initiatives that continually reflect how it will be received by consumers," it says, adding a "world-class health system" includes "access to new and innovative health technology, including devices and medicines" that is "delivered equitably to all."

It says Australians should have a base expectation of their health system, including equitable access to well-funded primary care that is integrated with the wider health system.

It also says Australians should "expect access to new and innovative health technology, including medicines and devices."

The pre-election focus on access reflects the CHF's submission to the National Medicines Policy review. that also called for an enhanced focus on timeliness.

"CHF is suggesting an additional principle around timeliness of access," it said in the submission.

"Whilst this is implied in the equity principle it is an issue of great importance to consumers and it should be a separate one.

"CHF believes there needs to be a more direct reference to timeliness of access with an identified principle addressing that as the best approach.

"It is in the objectives but for many consumers it needs to be elevated as a principle as it is seen as one of the main barriers to effective access to appropriate medicines.

"This is particularly true for people with life-threatening illnesses and others where timely access improves quality of life and impacts on the longer-term progression or otherwise of the disease."