Share of health spending dedicated to primary health care increasing

In the past 5 years, from 2008-09 to 2012-13, the share of recurrent expenditure on Primary health care has increased from 37.1% to 38.1%, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

This share is just 2 percentage points lower than spending on Hospitals (40.3%), suggesting health spending is evenly divided between Primary health care and Hospitals, with the remaining proportion (21.5%) being spent on Other recurrent areas (such asspecialists services, health research, administration, patient transport services and medical aids and appliances).

The report, Health expenditure Australia 2012-13: analysis by sector, shows that, $55.9 billion was spent on Hospitals, $52.9 billion on Primary health care and $29.9 billion on Other recurrent areas.

Capital expenditure (including expenditure on fixed assets, for example, new buildings and equipment) accounted for a further $8.6 billion.

'Our report shows that all funders increased their spending on health between 2002-03 and 2012-13,' said AIHW spokesperson Dr Adrian Webster.

'Growth in hospital spending was largest for state and territory government funding ($10.6 billion or about a 79% increase)-almost double the growth of Australian Government expenditure on hospitals ($5.4 billion or about 37% growth) and 1.89 times the growth of non-government expenditure ($5.6 billion equating to a 88.6% increase).'

Over the decade, total spending on Primary health care grew from $32.7 billion to $52.9 billion. Primary health care spending is shared relatively evenly between Australian Government (about 43%) and non-government sources (about 41%). The share of Primary health care funding provided by state and territory governments generally fell over this period from 17.9% in 2002-03 to 14.0% in 2012-13.

The Northern Territory had the largest growth rate in state and territory government health funding. Per-person expenditure in the Northern Territory in 2012-13 ($4,567) was 1.81 times the per-person expenditure in 2002-03 ($2,528), followed by Western Australia (1.80 times) and Queensland (1.74 times). Victoria had the lowest growth rate over the past decade, with health spending just 1.09 times the per-person expenditure in 2002-03 ($1,239).

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 19 December 2014

Further information: Dr Adrian Webster, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1119  mob. 0434 022 127