Politicians Ignore Solution To The Rural And Regional Hospital Crisis

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20th October 2010, 11:00am - Views: 2870


20 October, 2010



Overcrowded, underfunded hospitals and a lack of hospital beds are a fact of life for many Australians living in rural and regional

areas. However, there is a simple solution to this unacceptable situation.

President of the Australasian Podiatry Council, Brenden Brown says many hospital beds are taken up by patients with diabetes with

avoidable foot complications.

‘Every year up to 200,000 hospital beds in Australia are occupied by someone with a preventable diabetic foot ulcer’, Mr Brown


‘These ulcers may have been prevented with assessment and management by a podiatrist.

However, a patient with diabetes may be able to claim up to five Medicare funded podiatry visits.

We are calling on the Federal Government to increase this to 12 Medicare funded podiatry visits’.

Mr Brown says it would be an easy win for the newly elected-Gillard government.

‘The spotlight is now on the rural and regional areas because of the Federal Labor Government’s relationship with the Independents.

This would further strengthen that relationship, and improve the health system outside our capital cities. 

If for a moment we put the human cost aside, it’s worth looking at the economic arguments in favour of this solution. 

Put simply, it’s the most cost-effective option. It can cost around $1000 per day for a diabetic patient to stay in hospital, and the

average length of stay is around 13 days.

If the patient requires even a minor amputation, you can add another $10,000 to the bill. If it’s a major amputation like the entire

foot, you’re looking at another $100,000 per patient. 

It makes no economic sense because 12 podiatry visits through the Medical Benefits Scheme costs $600.

If our politicians would just make this simple change to the Medicare system, podiatrists could work with diabetic foot problems.

This would free up hospital beds and hospital staff to address more complex health issues. 

It would also save a lot of unnecessary long term poor health and physical incapacity of patients.

Media enquiries: Kylie Johnson, kylie@apodc.com.au or 0405 425 665

Australasian Podiatry Council?89 Nicholson Street Brunswick East VIC 3057 T: +61 3 9416 3111

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