A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has indicated that healthcare spending in Australia has “risen markedly” over the last 10 years – but this growth has been inconsistent across geographical regions and sectors.
The ‘Health expenditure Australia 2011-12: analysis by sector’ report found that while expenditure on healthcare increased on the whole in the last decade, spending in some sectors rose at a faster pace than others. There were also discrepancies between individual states and territories.
For instance, AIHW spokesperson Dr Adrian Webster noted that the government has been increasing its spending allocation on primary healthcare in the last several years, which has corresponded to decreased funding for hospitals.
“Between 2001-02 and 2003-04, for every dollar the Australian government spent on hospitals, it spent on average 97 cents on primary health care,” he explained.
“In 2011-12, the Australian government spent around $1.16 on primary health care for every dollar it provided for hospitals.”
In terms of expenditure by geographical region, the AIHW report revealed that Western Australia enjoyed the largest growth in state government funding for hospitals. This spend more than doubled in the decade between 2001-02 and 2011-12, representing an annual average growth rate of 8 per cent.
This is in contrast to the national average growth rate of 5.6 per cent. Meanwhile, the rate in states such as Victoria and New South Wales, recorded at 4.3 per cent and 4.8 per cent respectively, was belowHo this level.
These fluctuations in healthcare expenditure are worth keeping an eye on, especially given the constant shifts in spending across states, territories and sectors and in governmental and non-governmental spending.