SA’s health expenditure blows out by $95 million

Morgan Liotta

19/06/2019 2:58:50 PM

SA Health failed to meet its financial targets for 2018–19, estimating a $95 million overspend that will place the state into further debt.

South Australia
South Australia’s allocated health budget for 2019–20 offers little investment for primary care.

The additional $95 million means SA Health overspent its original 2018–19 budget allocation by a reported $238 million.
The South Australian government announced $537 million in new spending for the health system, allocating an extra $1.8 billion over the forward estimates since last year’s election.
‘Last year’s budget outlined a revised financial framework for the health portfolio, setting a more sustainable objective of delivering services at national average efficiency levels by 2021–22,’ South Australian Treasurer Rob Lucas said in his budget address.
Despite the estimated $95 million health expenditure debt, Treasurer Lucas confirmed that the government ‘remains committed to all the reforms outlined in last year’s budget and has taken significant steps to begin the improvement of our health system’ but ‘significant savings task remains’.
Service improvements across the healthcare sector have little focus on primary care, with the 2019–20 budget promising further boosts for public hospitals. A $2.2 billion healthcare package of new initiatives includes:

  • an upgrade of the Repatriation General Hospital ($70 million) to a revitalised health precinct, incorporating a brain and spine rehabilitation unit, additional beds for older mental health and dementia patients, and an eating disorder service
  • completion of planning of a newly-relocated women’s and children’s hospital ($550 million), with construction estimated to be completed by 2025
  • service upgrades to the existing Modbury Hospital ($97 million), including a new acute elective surgery ward.
An independent report into SA Pathology outlined that there are significant opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of pathology services. SA Pathology will be given the opportunity to implement the report’s recommendations.
Additional funding of $6.7 million will also support finalisation of SA’s transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Child protection and welfare services are set to receive a boost, but some areas will experience cuts:
  • $26.9 million will be provided over three years to meet additional costs for children in out-of-home care
  • $3 million will be provided over three years for a two-year trial of an intensive family support program to assist vulnerable families in Adelaide
  • Grant funding to the Victims Support Service, which currently receives $1.2 million per year from the Attorney-General's Department, will be cut
  • The Women's Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service will lose $150,000 a year
Regional SA healthcare will benefit from a $387,000 investment for the Royal Flying Doctor Service South East to develop a purpose-built clinic, designed to provide quality and culturally safe healthcare and related social services to remote communities. Six new regional health boards will also commence from 1 July, delivering public health services to local communities.
The state’s health and wellbeing sector is projected to increase by $230 million in 2022–23, compared to 2018–19, primarily due to a growth in funding for core healthcare services.
Forward estimates also indicate SA Health will continue to go over budget by $90 million annually until 2023.

budget health expenditure South Australia

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