This 2019 Public Hospital Report Card shows a public hospital system under pressure.
Although the annual rate of growth in Commonwealth and State hospital funding is tracking at 3-5 per cent per annum over the decade, the rate of growth in Commonwealth funding is in large part determined by the current National Health Reform Agreement. Under these arrangements, Commonwealth contributions to public hospital funding activity are indexed each year, but the efficiency gains from the previous period are built into it. Meaning, Commonwealth funding is indexed at a rate that reflects public hospital input cost increases, offset by efficiency gains.
But of course, public hospitals are service organisations, and staff salaries account for a large proportion of total input costs. Nurses in particular are a large workforce cohort, comprising about 41 per cent of total hospital staff. As we all know, the talented doctors, nurses, and other staff in our hospitals are what make the system work.