18 November 2018

ACT's hospital treatment costs top nation, says new report

| Ian Bushnell
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Costs are coming down at the Canberra Hospital, says ACT Health. File photo.

A new report says it is more expensive to treat patients at the Canberra Hospital than any other major public hospital in the country, but ACT Health says it is making progress in reducing costs.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report Hospital Performance: Costs of acute admitted patients in public hospitals from 2012–13 to 2014–15 shows the Canberra Hospital spent more than any other major public hospital in treating patients, at a cost of $6,000 per patient, compared with a national average of $4,680.

The Alfred in Melbourne at $3,900 was the lowest, according to the MyHospital data.

Across large metropolitan public hospitals, Calvary Public was equal second highest at $6000 per patient, with the average at $4,460. The lowest was Maroondah Hospital, also in Melbourne, at $3500.

ACT Health said the figures were from up to five years ago and did not reflect the current status of the ACT’s public hospitals.

“There has been significant work underway in recent years to ensure we are more efficient and this has resulted in our public hospitals improving the average costs of our services,” it said in a statement.

“ACT Health’s preliminary figures for 2016-17 show average costs have reduced by around 10 per cent, and we anticipate future national reports that will be released in early 2019, will further demonstrate this reduction.”

ACT Health said this was because the implementation of national Activity Based Funding (ABF) meant improvements in the way services are costed.

It also said figures in this report included costs that did not directly relate to acute admitted patient care, such as immunisation programs in schools, which were not an accurate reflection on hospital costs.

Opposition health spokesperson Vicki Dunne said huge amounts of money were being poured into the health system without results.

“Our emergency department and elected surgery wait lists are among the worst in the nation, we cannot attract interstate health professionals because of the toxic work culture, nurses and patients are being assaulted, and the hospital infrastructure is so old, outdated and dodgy that, for example, wards are closed down and a lot of work is being outsourced,” she said.

Click here to access the report.

Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on the RiotACT.

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