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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 437

Dr Everingham asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 29 April 1 980:

(1)   Has his attention been drawn to a report in The Australian of 23 April 1980 to the effect that the Australian Hospital Association had (a) complained of an antiquated budget system imposed by health authorities and (b) called for financial incentives for good hospital budgeting; if so, will the government investigate this request.

(2)   Has his attention also been drawn to the claim in that report that the high escalation in health care costs of the midseventies had resulted from (a) increased nurses' salaries, (b) the granting of (i) equal pay for women and (ii) an extra week of annual leave for workers, and (c) increased training and education demands.

(3)   Were these factors in part referred to in my speech on 21 April 1980 (Hansard,page 2012).

(4)   Did he state on 23 April 1980 (Hansard, page 2175) that the introduction of Medibank caused a 30 per cent increase in health care costs.

(5)   Were the factors referred to in part (2) several times more important in health care cost increases than the introduction of Medibank.

Mr MacKellar - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes. The newspaper report referred to the statement accompanying the Australian Hospital Association's submission to the Commission of Inquiry into the Efficiency and Administration of Hospitals in Australia. The Inquiry's interim report was received on 30 June 1980. Its final report is scheduled to be presented by the end of this year. The reports of the Inquiry on this and other matters are expected to provide an important input to Government decision making and planning for the future. I would therefore prefer to await analysis of these reports before I consider any further investigation into financial incentive budgeting for hospitals.

(2)   and (3) Yes.

(4)   No.

(5)   Several factors contributed to the high escalation in health care costs in the mid-seventies. However, the Government is firmly of the view that the introduction of Medibank was a very significant factor.

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