Spending on health services in Australia, as a proportion of
Gross Domestic Product (GDP), fell for the second consecutive year
during 1994-95, according to figures released today by the
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Health Expenditure Bulletin No. 12 shows that Australia
as a nation spent $38.5 billion or 8.4% of Gross Domestic Product
on health services during 1994-95.
This continues the decline from 1993-94 when health services
expenditure, as a proportion of GDP, fell from 8.6% in 1992-93 to
8.5% in 1993-94.
The fall in the health services expenditure to GDP ratio is
largely the result of two factors-growth for health expenditure
being lower than that for GDP and a period of two years during
which health services prices rose at a slower rate than general
Average spending on health services per Australian was $2,145 in
1994-95, an increase of $89 over the 1993-94 level.
The Institute's health economist, Mr John Goss, said that this
study showed that 'growth rates in expenditure on institutional
services such as public hospitals and nursing homes, where
governments have been able to exercise considerable control on
prices and expenditure, have been below the overall average.'
'However, growth in expenditure on non-institutional health care
such as private medical services and pharmaceuticals continued to
exceed the average, as did expenditure on private hospital
'For example, between 1988-89 and 1993-94 growth in real
expenditure on both pharmaceuticals and private hospitals averaged
8.2% per year.'
The study also shows that the proportions of funding for health
services expenditure from the government and non-government sectors
have remained steady since 1988-89, with governments providing
about 68% of total funding for health services.
The study compares Australia's health expenditure with that of
eight other OECD countries-Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New
Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Australia was ranked sixth in terms of the proportion of GDP
devoted to health services expenditure in 1993-94.
A major factor in Australia's ability to maintain this 'middle
ranking' was the capacity of its health system to control health
6 December 1996
Further information: John Goss, telephone (06)
244 1151For media copies of the report: Telephone (06)
244 1031Availability: Check the AIHW for details.
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