Australians have more confidence in the healthcare system since the COVID-19 pandemic began, but gaps are growing when it comes to affordability and accessibility, a new survey has found.
The study by advocacy group Consumer Health Forum shows 30 per cent of people had increased confidence in the health system.
Yet the survey of more than 5000 Australians adults in October 2021 found financially disadvantaged Australians and those with chronic health conditions are being left behind.
It showed 14 per cent of Australians with chronic conditions could not pay for health care because of the cost and 24 per cent did not fill a prescription or omitted doses of medicine.
Over one third attributed this to the cost of prescriptions.
Consumer Health Forum chief Leanne Wells says consumer voices must lead government when making improvements to the health system.
"Australians are more engaged with their health and wellbeing than ever before and this survey demonstrates just how important it is to ask consumers directly what their experiences are - and importantly - what they need from the health system of the future," she said.
Medicines Australia CEO Elizabeth de Somer said Tuesday's budget must reflect important lessons learnt from Australia's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Medicines save lives and improve quality of life. Rapid access to medicines must become standard practice in Australia," she said.
"But Australians currently wait significantly longer than other similar countries when it comes to access to new medicines."
On average, more than 60 per cent of medicines become available to patients within six months, but in Australia it is 22 per cent.
"For patient access to new medicines, Australia is lagging. We should be a world leader," she said.
Meanwhile, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has returned a positive test for COVID-19 and will isolate for seven days.
Mr Andrews announced he'd taken a test after developing mild symptoms.
NSW Treasurer Matt Kean has also tested positive, saying the virus has "finally caught up" with him.
He will miss sitting dates of the NSW parliament this week, the last before it resumes in May, and said he will use the time in isolation to prepare for the upcoming state budget.
LATEST 24-HOUR COVID-19 DATA FROM ACROSS AUSTRALIA:
NSW: 16,199 cases, three deaths, 1270 in hospital including 55 in ICU.
Victoria: 8739 cases, no deaths, 252 in hospital including 21 in ICU.
Queensland: 7816 cases, no deaths, 299 in hospital, with 14 in ICU.
South Australia: 4140 new cases, three deaths, 181 in hospital with seven in ICU.
Tasmania: 1726 cases, no deaths, 27 in hospital with none in ICU.
Western Australia: 7288 new cases, no deaths, 210 people in hospital, with nine in ICU.
Northern Territory: 279 cases, 16 in hospital, including three in ICU.
ACT: 701 cases, 46 in hospital including four in ICU.
Australian Associated Press
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