Primary care funding close to a third of total health expenditure

Morgan Liotta

25/09/2019 4:24:07 PM

Australian health expenditure of more than $185 billion in 2017–18 reflects a small increase from previous years, new AIHW figures show.

Health expenditure
Health expenditure decreased by 0.4% per person 2017–18 – or $27 less per person than the previous year

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reports that national health expenditure reached $185.4 billion in 2017–18, equivalent to $7485 per person.
This represents an increase of 1.2% from the previous year, lower than the decade average of 3.9%.
Health expenditure decreased by 0.4% per person in 2017–18 – or $27 less per person than the previous year.
Government and non-government sources spent an estimated $2558 on primary healthcare per person. Personal out-of-pocket health costs amounted to an average of $1578 per person, reflecting little change in the proportion of individual net worth spent on health over the decade.
Health expenditure accounted for 10% of Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP), with the majority invested in hospitals (40%) and primary healthcare (34%).
‘Regular reporting of national health expenditure is important to understanding Australia’s health system and how spending relates to changes such as the ageing population, increased chronic disease prevalence, and medicinal and technological developments,’ AIHW spokesperson Dr Adrian Webster said.
Total primary healthcare expenditure only increased by $1.5 billion. Of the $63.4 billion spent on primary healthcare, $12.7 billion went towards unreferred medical services and $12.1 billion was spent on benefit-paid pharmaceuticals.
Government spending of $10.5 billion on unreferred medical services equated to 8.64% of total health expenditure – a small increase from 8.15% last year.
However, some services grouped within the ‘unreferred services’ category are not general practice services, and the total spend on general practice is likely close to 7.4% of total health expenditure.
Government spending on benefit-paid pharmaceuticals totalled $10.61 billion. In 2017–18, hospital spending increased by $3.2 billion, to $74 billion.
The AIHW estimates that around two-thirds of Australia’s 2017–18 health spending ($122 billion) was funded by governments, with individuals, private health insurance providers, injury compensation insurers and other private sources spending $58.8 billion. Individuals were the largest contributor, at $30.6 billion.

AIHW general practice funding healthcare expenditure

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