The major provider of healthcare services in Australia is the Public Health System (Medicare). This is a comprehensive free-of-charge healthcare service for all Australian citizens covering both hospital-based and community-based medical services.
Those who have experienced working in Australia will always compare it very favourably to working in other countries. As a rule, Australians (both patients and staff) are very laid back and so this creates a very informal and friendly working environment.
The dress code varies from hospital to hospital but is usually much more casual than would be found in many parts of the US or UK. Doctors as a rule do not wear white coats and most do not wear ties either. It is not uncommon for doctors in rural hospitals to wear very casual clothing such as jeans and a short-sleeved shirt but as a general rule smart casual clothing is normally required.
The actual hospitals in Australia as a rule tend to be very well equipped with all the latest technology and facilities.
Radiology and pathology services have been corporatised in Australia in recent years and so digital radiology, image distribution systems, extremely rapid pathology investigations, same-day reporting etc are all normal practice in Australia.
Almost all hospitals in Australia will usually have an in-hospital intranet for dispersing medical information and test results within the hospital and some hospitals are in the process of moving to wireless technology for the dispersion of results and medical data.
Healthcare workers such as doctors and nurses hold far greater power and authority in Australia within the hospital system than is usually found in other countries. Professional groups representing nurses and doctors are very strong here, with most of the hospital directors and senior managerial staff being doctors and nurses themselves who are keen to protect the interests of healthcare workers.
Medicare was introduced in Australia in 1984 as a Federal Government administered health Insurance. It aims to provide high quality healthcare, which is affordable and accessible to all Australians. Medicare includes free or subsidised treatment from medical practitioners as well as some services from Allied health and dental practitioners. It also provides subsidies for prescribed medicines (with a safety net providing free medicines for the chronically ill).
Medicare benefits are paid based on a comprehensive list of services and corresponding benefits which is the Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS). If the Medical Practitioner provides an eligible service such as a consultation at the MBS recommended fee the patient pays no fee at the point of care and this is often referred to as Bulk Billing. If the Medical Practitioner provides a service and elects to charge more than the MBS recommended fee the patient pays the higher fee and then claims back the MBS fee from Medicare.
Some services under medicare and at public hospitals have long waiting lists and for this and other reasons many Australians have private medical Insurance as well as being able to access the benefits of Medicare.
Australian Healthcare system….more