Preparedness of general practitioners in Australia for the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games.J Travel Med. 2002 Nov-Dec; 9(6):322-5.JT
The modern Olympic Games have been conducted only once every 4 years since 1900. They were held in Sydney, Australia, from September 15 to October 1, 2000, with approximately 35 competition venues, 5 villages, 100 training venues, a media center, and sponsor hospitality areas. Roughly 300 events for 28 sports involved 10,300 athletes from 200 countries, 5,100 team officials, 50,000 volunteers, 15,000 media, a worldwide audience of around 3.5 billion viewers and listeners, and up to several hundred thousand spectators at any one time. The Paralympic Games were also held in Sydney after the Olympic Games, from October 18 to October 29, 2000, with more than 4,000 athletes competing. A report detailing possible health advice and requirements for travelers attending the games has been published previously. Good systems of public and private health care operate in Australia, but health care is not free. Australian taxpayers contribute to a national public health system, Medicare, and even this does not necessarily cover all the costs of treatment. Section 3.5 of the Medicare Benefit Scheme refers to "Reciprocal Health Care Agreements," which exist for immediately necessary medical care ("emergency care"). Agreements with Australia cover New Zealand, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Malta, and Ireland. Benefits for Italy and Malta may only be available for the first 6 months of a stay. The Australian government covered much of the costs of medical treatment for most team members competing or involved in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, when the Games Village was open. This did not however extend to other visitors, and public hospitals in Australia are not generally geared and staffed to provide timely general practice services.