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Health system wastage – share your experience

Thought Plus
14 Oct 2015

Australian Unity is deeply concerned about the level of waste and inefficiency across Australia’s health system, the level of unnecessary (and potentially harmful) diagnostic testing, treatment and even surgical procedures, and the consequent impact on both patient wellbeing, the affordability of private health insurance and the national budget.

We are determined to make the case for change, and want your support, and help.

A recent episode of Four Corners, “Wasted” (28/09/15), suggested that $46 billion a year, nearly one-third of all the money spent on health, is being squandered.

The current health system, paid for by Medicare (through your taxes), private health insurance (through your premiums), and increasingly your own out of pocket costs, offers no incentive to allocate resources efficiently. It rewards activity and intervention rather than prevention and better health outcomes for patients.

Further, some surgical procedures have been shown to have no benefit for many of the patients, and diagnostics such as MRIs in many cases don’t show why a patient is in pain. In addition, there is wide variation in practice between different doctors, hospitals and provider groups that cannot be explained by condition or preference of the patient. This money could be reallocated to other areas of the health system where real gains could be made.

And worse, there are potential dangers to patients in undertaking these procedures.

If you are concerned about waste in the health system, we are asking that you join our campaign by registering your name at

We are also hoping you may be able to share your experience of navigating the health system, the issues you’ve faced on your patient journey, and whether you’ve been satisfied with the outcome and your care along the way. You can write to the same email address. We plan to collate these experiences, publish them on our website, and ultimately provide a summary to State and Federal Governments.


Amanda Hagan

Chief Executive Officer – Australian Unity Healthcare