Do we need a Royal Commission into Health System?

A Royal Commission may be a bit over the top but with the amount of money involved one would expect some less than ideal practices occurring.

Having recently experienced calling on private insurance for surgery it was amazing the bills that cropped up. On top of surgeon, anesthetist and hospital there were 3 other medical people that charged for something, all above the medicare schedule and were paid by the insurance. It is just hard to see any checks and balances on who charges what and if the services are reasonable. Are the ancillary providers at arms length from who ever decides what should be done?


Yes, assuming the parliament can be relied upon In setting the ‘terms of reference’.

There is the obvious - size of the industry and profits derived. Does it deliver value and efficiency in a timely manner? What is the balance between commercial profit driven outcomes and not for profit universal quality of life outcomes?

There is also the medical professionals industry. The more we train and employ the more and better the healthy services and outcomes. The greater the rate of intake and the greater the level of skill the faster the growth rate in professional incomes needed. Hence the costs of these services and the technology needed for support is growing faster than our population and CPI.

How do you decouple what many see as also vested interests in better health outcomes from financial gain?

Is it true you cannot put a cost on a life or health, hence expenditure on health related outcomes must be unlimited? Or do you put a reasonable value on what the community should bare for every extra day of good health and life? What value do you put on keeping some one breathing vs the choice to move on with dignity?

There are many much more complex issues subjective, religious and phylisolphiical related to health care when compared to the BRC.

There have been numerous reports governement and private over my lifetime. Other than the universal cover alternative to fee public hospital services (in Qld anyway) the most significant change has been the rate of growth in costs ahead of inflation. That most of us can now live longer may be more to do with life style and nutrition as much as it is to do with modern cheap drugs. For some medical advances have been life saving, often at great expense which we have all chosen to share.


Medical device/drug companiesseem to have different price regimes for different countries.

We have experienced this when travelling where jedications covered by Australia’s PBS are more expensive than the same non-subsidised medications overseas.

I don’t know why, but maybe it is another form of Australia Tax?


We have an entire ‘industry’ of unqualified unregulated ‘cosmetic surgeons’ who might have medical degrees and can call themselves whatever they like even though they have zero related training.

There are routine reports of patients being harmed but government sits on its nethers. Just one of the recent reports. What does it take to do the obvious and properly regulate a medical/surgical ‘industry’?

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Like any of the professional groupings and sector related industries the medical profession and quasi professions are primarily self regulating. The same can be said for those groups subject to some form of government regulation.

They include GP’s, Registered Engineers, law professionals, through to plumbers and electricians. The expert boards or panels that advise and or manage and represent these are exclusive to the profession or those with the qualifications. needed. They are firstly, secondly and thirdly conflicted due to their peer group and self interest. Even our politicians fall under a similar regime of self regulation. We might determine who they are, but only they have the authority to enable changes to their status quo through the constitution. Even then the review committees for constitutional change have exclusive membership. Yes we also get a vote on it in the end. However it is no surprise few changes have ever been passed.

If the system is not broken there is nothing more to do. If it is not working in one or two instances as noted previously, is this also a sign there may be wider concerns and need for a whole sale reform?

Reforms both of how these groups are regulated and who contributes to their oversight. We ask in a court lay people to be jurors and the courts produce detailed public records. There is no reason why the key bodies set up under statutory regulation for each group cannot include an equal number of lay members who have no vested interest in the outcomes. Members of the general public selected by ballot to provide their time and efforts, and not some politicians favourites. Volunteers (remunerated accordingly) with the desire to see transparency in the running of each group and to see sound practices that serve the community at large.

For the present the next best thing is a Royal Commission to tell us what might be wrong, what might be better, and then to remind us there is nothing more a RC can do?

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While regulation will never stop miscreants, and it seems there should have been many red flags for this lady, the end result for the ‘surgeon’ is laughably inadequate as I see it.

Blackstock’s medical practice registration expired in September and he is currently suspended but not permanently banned from practising medicine.

Turner claimed damages for non-economic loss and out-of-pocket expenses. Levy awarded her damages of $204,607 and ordered Blackstock to pay her legal costs.

Whether she actually collects or how that will go to try will be another saga in these times of ‘lightly lightly’ penalties and equally rigorous consumer protection laws spread among as many agencies as they can be with none having complete jurisdiction, to make it improbable to succeed although the victim does win and collect in the odd case. The guilty party is often served with a wrist slap to rise on another day. :frowning:


Well after listening to this interview, maybe we do need an RC.

Very concerning when a doctor is instructed not to offer a second opinion that differs from the first.
And the bullying, gets enough differing accounts to make me think it is most likely endemic in the system.

A Royal Commission in most things i feel is an unnecessary waste of time.When it came to the banks that was fine.But the bottom line of it all is hearing all the sad stories say from Bushfires,or Nursing Homes,which allows family or friends to make there stories heard.But the outcome is never anything uncommon.With the Nursing Homes for example the Commission will just request all homes to double there work force and any other minor changes.I assume it’s still going not heard anything about it in a while

I am a pensioner, and I feel that I have to be covered by health insurance, because I have had a back operation and I have not found a doctor who will operate in a public hospital on backs. It costs me approx $1000 per year (which I really can’t afford) to be covered, - just in case. However, if I have to have anything more done to my back, it will still cost me approx $20,000, even with Health Insurance. Is it worth it. I am beginning to think it isn’t. I did a comparison with not-for-profit providers and other but they all came out much the same.

Yes I really think there should be a Royal Commission - it is keeping pensioners broke.

A royal commission is not the cure for all problems to do with government, it is more suited to investigation of behaviour than setting policy. Determining budgets for government programs is not a job for commissioners, lawyers or investigators. In any case there is no chance of this ever happening as no sitting government will call one for the purpose and no opposition has the power so it is a rather abstract question that will only ever be discussed in forums like this.

If you actually want to get greater coverage for the health system start organising a lobby group, or join an existing one, and lobby both parties to alter policy nearer your heart’s desire. If it gets enough public support you may get somewhere. Of course any party that promises to do it needs to explain where the money is coming from.