Health Minister claims re overstated hospital activity by states: evidence needed

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In his address to the National Press Club today, Health Minister Peter Dutton cited the recommendations of a range of reviews as underpinning the health measures in the Budget and called for an informed and measured conversation to support the reforms he believes are necessary to deliver a sustainable health system.

“The Minister’s desire for an open conversation would be greatly enhanced if the Government were to release the evidence it used to inform a range of Budget measures,” says Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA).

When questioned about the cuts which kick in from 1 July and include the funding to support and reward achievement of the National Elective Surgery Target and the National Emergency Access Target, the Minister suggested that the Government did not support incentive payments as States had been overstating hospital activity.  

“Given the rigour applied to the analysis of hospital activity data by the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the National Health Funding Body, this will come as a surprise to the States and Territories and we would welcome the opportunity to examine the evidence that the Minister has available to him. This is particularly important given the impact on state and territory health budgets and therefore on the health of Australians.”

“The Minister also stated that the introduction of the co-payment was expected to reduce GP attendances by 1% in the first year.  Given that the GP service figures used by the National Commission of Audit have been shown to be incorrect, it is vital that the Minister release this modelling to allow the informed discussion that he seeks to occur,” says Ms Verhoeven.

The Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association represents Australia’s largest group of health care providers in public hospitals, community and primary health sectors and advocates for universal high quality healthcare to benefit the whole community

Media inquiries:

Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association 0403 282 501