Work together to drive reform

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Two former health ministers have spoken at a recent event hosted by Bupa, with both stressing the importance of stakeholders working together to drive reform.

Health minister in the Howard Coalition government, Dr Michael Wooldridge, and Nicola Roxon, who led the portfolio in the Rudd and Gillard Labor governments and serves on the Bupa Board, spoke at a Bupa Health Foundation event in Sydney to discuss the future of healthcare in Australia.

They were joined by managing director of Bupa Health Insurance, Dr Dwayne Crombie.

According to Ms Roxon, “Because of the way our system works, the disrupters could actually be completely outside the health professions.” She added stakeholders can avoid the risk of quick fixes by giving ground to each other.

“The worry is that disrupter could actually be more damaging than a more modest disruption that would actually require people to give up a bit more territory,” she said.

Ms Roxon emphasised the importance of creating wide coalitions to drive reform.

“The sorts of success on areas where there have been big reforms you’ve all the stakeholders wanting the same thing, so tobacco control (for example) that was relatively simple in a way because everyone agrees about the harms of tobacco and all sorts of unusual partners everyone agreed to do it.

“I think we need to build the platform for what are the things that these unusual partnerships all want, because governments can’s make it happen if there isn’t enough agreement amongst these very difficult stakeholders all want,” she added.

“I think the key question is to figure out what is the problem and what are you trying to fix,” said Dr Wooldridge. “I think the health funds could be the disrupters if they were allowed to.”

“But they’re not allowed to at the moment and they’re not rewarded for being disrupters.”