WA Budget: More room for health expenditure

Amanda Lyons

10/05/2019 1:29:23 PM

The State Government has delivered a boost for public health, particularly the areas of in mental health and palliative care.

WA Government
The WA budget includes some significant health spending, and not just on hospitals.

The Western Australia Government’s third budget has been delivered with a sense of triumph, as it announces the state’s first surplus in five years.
‘A real surplus, right here, right now,’ WA Premier Mark McGowan said.
The budget also delivered a significant commitment to public health, with $9.1 billion allocated for health service investment in 2019–20 and $6 billion dedicated to a health infrastructure program, reflecting a broader remit than last year’s largely hospital-focused health spend.
‘We have to be accountable in how money is spent across the health system, and ensure that the balance between hospital and non-hospital services is right,’ WA Health Minister Roger Cook said.  
Mental health is a key winner in the WA budget, with the promise of a record investment of $942.1 million. This money will fund mental health, alcohol and other drug services in 2019–20, and is expected to grow to more than $1 billion by 2022–23.
Initiatives to be funded by this mental health spend include expansion of the secure mental health unit at Fremantle Hospital, $914,000 for alcohol and other drug training for Aboriginal workers through the Strong Spirit Strong Mind Program, and $2.3 million towards rehabilitation facilities in the Kimberley region.  
Palliative care has also received a boost, with $41 million to be invested into an end-of-life choices and palliative care package across the state, including a 38-bed residential aged and palliative care facility in Carnarvon.
The Government will also inject $1.3 billion into the WA New Future Health Research and Innovation Fund, which is designed to help position the state as a centre for medical research innovation.
WA hospitals are still set to receive a significant portion of the funding, with an expected $6.7 billion allocated for hospital services in 2019–20. This includes redevelopment funding for two hospitals that missed out in the last budget – Royal Perth Hospital, which will receive $22.7 million for refurbishment of its intensive care unit, and the King Edward Memorial Hospital, which is apportioned $3.3 million to begin planning its relocation.

budget healthcare mental health palliative care Western Australia

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