The future of community-centred health services in Australia: 'When too many beds are not enough'
The authors welcome a constructive debate on the future of community-centred health services. Therefore, we have written this piece in response to an article published by Cunningham in the previous edition of the Australian Health Review (Cunningham, Australian Health Review 2012; 36: 121-124), which was a very limited analysis and misleading critique of our previous contribution to this journal (Rosen et al. Australian Health Review 2010; 34: 106-115). The focus here is necessarily brief and does not stand in for a detailed analysis of the evidence base. The aim instead, is to draw attention back to the broader political, economic and social dimensions of how the retreat from community health services has affected clinical care.Wealso outline a response to a longstanding assumption, or belief, that 'too many hospital beds are not enough' and may never be enough. How we understand the problem of resource allocation in healthcare shapes the remedies that are considered realistic. We explain that the reasons for the systematic underdevelopment of community health services are complex, historical, and largely relate to political and economic factors, but they are still amenable to change.