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Accessing safe healthcare when cost is a barrier

10 Aug 2022

In the latest episode of Taking care, our guests discuss the cost barriers to accessing safe healthcare and how practitioners are working with consumers to ease these pressures.  

Key findings

 In this latest episode of Taking care, we explore:


  • The taboo of asking about the cost of procedures before treatment.
  • The costs associated with living with a disability or other chronic conditions.
  • How factors like childcare and time off work impact consumers’ healthcare decisions.
  • What practitioners are doing to provide care when cost is an issue.


Host Tash Miles is joined by consumer advocate, Renate Hughes, dentist, Dr Chris Sanzaro, and Associate Professor, Amanda Neil, health economist from the University of Tasmania’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research.

Renate Hughes, who lives with a disability and multiple chronic conditions, understands all too well the choices between healthcare and other essentials like food or paying rent. 

‘I have hundreds of stories of people who have deferred, or not engaged in, health care and then ended up in an acute care situation.’

According to Associate Professor Amanda Neil, patients pay one-fifth of all health spending in Australia each year though out of pocket costs.  

‘Ultimately it's about choices. Choices either to purchase healthcare, or not to purchase healthcare, and cost (or price) is a major factor,’ she said.

But there are ways to make it more affordable. As a dentist of 20 years and practice owner, Dr Chris Sanzaro encourages patients to have full and frank conversations with providers about the potential cost of any treatment.

‘The stigma around cost discussions is something that really shouldn’t be there.

‘If that discussion is very open and honest right from the start, it makes it a lot easier for everyone to be involved.’

Listen to the full episode here.

Useful links

Did you know?

The Taking care podcast series offers professional and consumer perspectives on current issues and answers some frequently asked questions about public safety in healthcare. Download and listen to the latest Taking care episode today.  Ahpra releases a new episode fortnightly, discussing current topics and the latest issues affecting safe healthcare in Australia. You can also listen and subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and by searching ‘Taking Care’ in your podcast player.

Contact us

  • For media enquiries, phone (03) 8708 9200.
  • If you have questions or feedback about the podcast, email [email protected]
  • For registration enquiries, please phone 1300 419 495 (within Australia) +61 3 9285 3010 (overseas callers).

Page reviewed 10/08/2022