Saturday, July 11, 2009

Decisions decisions...

Who decides what proportion of a country's GDP should be spent on health and how much on all the other stuff? How do they decide? Who wins? How? What do they decide should get health dollars? How do they work that out from all the competing claims? Since, in Australia, Public Health has only received 1.8% of the health budget in the past, how can we change this? These are some of the things I have been wondering about as a student of Public Health, a few weeks before I begin a semester in Health Economics (or Health Resource Allocation, as the department can't seem to decide what it wants to name the course!).
I have been triggered to start this blog by a session at the Adelaide 2009 Festival of Ideas, titled "Who cares? The limits of health."
My first note from the session was appreciation for the information provided by Professor Fran Baum on her work with the WHO on the Social Determinants of Health. She seems committed to the ideal of "Health for All" within each country environment according to their needs and available resources. And I wholeheartedly agree, even though many people think this view is rather "pie in the sky"- I think if there isn't an ideal to aim for, why start?
Here's a link to a big blog about the (health care of someone's 91-year-old dad) these are the issues most families must deal with. The medical profession then has to collaborate in decision making about these individuals, keeping quotas, budget constraints and the health of others in mind.