Total spending on public hospitals from government and non-government sources increased by a marginal 2.7 per cent, totalling $48 billion in 2014-15, according to the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Public Hospital Report Card. This is 1.7 per cent below the 10-year average increase in funding.
The AMA’s Report Card paints a bleak picture of the public health system, claiming the performance of public hospitals is “essentially frozen at the unsatisfactory levels of previous years”. The report found bed ratios had remained static, emergency department waiting times had worsened remaining well below targets, and elective surgery waiting times had worsened. To top it off, treatment times had only improved by a small margin.
The AMA blames a lack of government funding for “choking [public hospitals’] capacity to provide services”. The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) in New Zealand has reported similar concerns.
All levels of government agree more funding is needed, but many medical hospitals across the country are still waiting for a boost.
According to the Australian Government’s Productivity Commission and their 2015 report, Efficiency in Health, research has cited “Weaknesses in Australia’s health technology assessment (HTA) system are part of the problem.”