Skip to content

Budget health analysis shows reverse in downwards trend, but much more needed

Council of Trade Unions Economist Dr Bill Rosenberg and the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists Director of Policy Lyndon Keene today jointly released detailed analysis of the 2018/2019 health budget which shows $2.5 billion would need to be put in to the next Government budget to both meet that year’s needs and restore funding to 2009/2010 levels.

“This is the first budget in nearly a decade that has put more money back in to health than this year’s spending requirements,” Dr Rosenberg said. “That’s a significant reversal of the previous Government’s year-on-year deficits which have led us to a cavernous cumulative gap of around $2 billion since 2009/2010.”

“The health budget this year however is very tight with just $57 million to spare, and this doesn’t include for the wage settlements we know are coming, which presumably will need to be funded out of a separate contingency. We know that the last decade has been harsh on the health workforce, and the pressure of that is showing through collective bargaining now. Our estimates for wage growth in this analysis have been very conservative in that context.”

“We’ve also included this year analysis on the unmet need for care which that shows that acute (unplanned) care is increasing and putting the squeeze on non-acute services and management of chronic health problems like mental health. That could be due to a variety of factors, including poverty, poor housing, poor diets, obesity, our aging population and unavailability or unaffordability of G.P. services.”

“Finally, we debunk the myth that increasing health spending needs to come at the expense of other Government services. In reality the Government has a choice about the amount of money it decides to put in to services overall. Government spending on all public services is significantly down as a percentage of G.D.P – so the Government’s choice of very cautious health budget increases has to be seen as a political, rather than a forced fiscal decision.”

For working tables of the analysis: