Healthcare costs under scrutiny in South Australian budget

Doug Hendrie

5/09/2018 2:55:47 PM

The new South Australian Government has handed down its first budget, with healthcare costs under the microscope.

Steven Marshall’s first budget as South Australian Premier has targeted healthcare costs. (Image: AAP)
Steven Marshall’s first budget as South Australian Premier has targeted healthcare costs. (Image: AAP)

Efforts are under way to rein in an expected large deficit for the Central Adelaide Local Health Network, with The Australian reporting the figure was estimated to be around $255 million.
In a controversial move, the South Australian Government is proposing to claim a higher percentage of the clinicians’ income by treating private patients in the public system. At present, SA doctors in this situation contribute 9% of their earnings towards insurance coverage and admin support, while other states set the level as high as 90%.
Steven Marshall’s Liberal government has reduced healthcare saving targets set by the previous administration, which were not being met
The new savings targets are $800 million over five years.
‘The South Australian health system is not operating as efficiently as other systems and sensible reforms will be pursued focusing on reducing the cost of public health services to national average efficient levels by the end of the current forward estimates period,’ the budget papers state.
Treasurer Rob Lucas has also said he would seek to outsource the work of SA Pathology and state-funded medical imaging services if the Government was not able to better limit costs.
Spending on hospitals will be increased, with rural hospitals getting a $140 million windfall for capital works.
A new immunisation program for meningococcal B will be rolled out for babies, young children and adolescents, costing $30 million.
Real-time prescription monitoring will move forwards in the state, with $7.5 million allocated to rolling out a program to reduce doctor-shopping for drugs of dependence.
Long waiting lists for elective surgery and colonoscopies will be reduced with a $45 million boost.
The State Government has decided not to sell the Repatriation General Hospital site, and will instead plan for the site to remain a health precinct.
A new borderline personality disorder specialist service will be established with $10 million of funding.

healthcare spending South Australian Government state budget

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