Major Funding Committed to Australian Public Hospitals

The national health reform plan announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon will deliver an extra $175 billion to public hospitals through 2030.

Australia's prime minister, Julia Gillard, and Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon announced the government's national health reform package Aug. 2 and explained how it will share funding of public hospitals with states and territories. Agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments in February, the plan calls for the government to invest an extra $19.8 billion in public hospitals through to 2019-20, rising to a total of an extra $175 billion by 2030.

A four-hour target for emergency department waiting times will be set, with the goal of having 90 percent of patients across all triage categories seen within four hours. Local control of hospitals will increase, and there will be unprecedented transparency about health services and expenditures for every Australian hospital, they said. Gillard said the additional money means the country's public hospitals will be able to handle:

  • 2.9 million extra cases in emergency departments
  • 2 million additional in-patient services, such as major surgery or treatment for severe conditions
  • 19 million more outpatient consultations

"Over the last decade the Commonwealth's share of public hospital funding has been in sustained decline, and States and Territories have had to enter negotiations over health funding with the Commonwealth every five years. Today's agreement permanently puts an end to the uncertainty of public hospital funding. It is money the States -– and Australian patients -- can depend on," the prime minister's announcement stated.

Currently, 36 percent of emergency department patients wait more than four hours to be seen, according to the announcement. For more information, visit www.yourhealth.gov.au.

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