There is ample evidence of overuse of donated blood products by doctors. One contributing factor must be the obscene financial incentives for doctors to give a patient a blood transfusion, rather than use a colloid or electrolyte solution.
Item number 22002 in the Medical Benefits Schedule pays doctors a large amount of money on top of their already generous remuneration if they choose blood rather than another fluid. The amount doctors receive depends on what billing schedule is in place.
The AMA List, which many doctors use, values this "service" at $324.00! That is an additional amount, on top of the usual fee. Nice work if you can get it.
Of course patients who require blood are often sicker, take more time, or may be having more complicated procedures than others. These factors are all separately compensated in the Medical Benefits Schedule.
And ill patients still require close monitoring, irrespective of whether they are receiving blood or colloid.
The Health Minister, Ms Sussan Ley and her Government are now proposing to fund this growing largesse by imposing the GST on fresh food. The inertia of bureaucrats responsible for the MBS, and the propensity for Australians to only voice their opinion after legislation is in place make this increasingly likely.
There are also financial incentives for hospitals to favour blood transfusion, but that is another story.
Let the Health Minister know what you think.