General Practice care still costs less than a dollar a day

By May 6, 2019GP

An annual snapshot on the nation’s health spending reveals the surprising cost of general practice

Federal government spending on general practice remains below a dollar a day per person, a new report reveals.

The Productivity Commission released its annual figures on the nation’s health spending on Wednesday.

It found the total cost of general practice to the Federal Government was $8.8 billion over the past financial year, or just $357 per person. On a per capita basis it represents an increase of 2% on the previous 12 months.

By contrast, the cost of public hospital care reached $2606 per person or $7.14 per person which is 7 times more than GP primary  care.

The commission also revealed that more than 37% of practising GPs are now aged 55 and over compared with 33% a decade ago.

Government recurrent expenditure on primary and community health was around $36.9 billion in 2016-17.

Australian Government expenditure on general practice in Australia was $8.8 billion, or $357 per person, in 2017‑18.

Australian Government expenditure on the PBS was around $8.5 billion, or $341 per person, in 2017-18.

Expenditure on public hospitals (excluding depreciation) was around $63.8 billion in 2016-17, with the Australian, State and Territory governments funding 91.6 per cent (non-government sources funded the remaining 8.4 per cent).

Nationally, in 2016-17, government expenditure on public hospitals was equivalent to $2606 per person, similar to 2015-16 ($2603) in real terms.

In 2016-17, there were 695 public hospitals in Australia – 3 fewer than 2015-16. Although 68.1 per cent of hospitals had 50 or fewer beds, these smaller hospitals represented only 13.4 per cent of total available beds.

There were approximately 6.6 million separations from public (non-psychiatric) hospitals in 2016-17. Nationally, this is equivalent to 254.2 separations per 1000 people. Acute care separations accounted for the majority of separations from public hospitals.

A total of 35.5 million individual service events were provided to non-admitted patients in public hospitals in 2016-17.

There were 7.8 million presentations to emergency departments in 2016-17.