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Thursday, 30 August 1973
Page: 727

Mr Berinson (PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

What was the estimated cost of hospital and medical services in Australia during each of the last 5 years, and what percentage of the Gross National Product did this represent in each of those years.

Dr Everingham (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for Health) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The Commonwealth Statistician advises that he is unable to provide the estimates of cost of hospital and medical services in Australia as requested by the honourable member. He has, however, been able to provide the estimates of expenditure on health services set out in Table 1, which are taken from estimates prepared for inclusion in the Australian National Accounts.

(2)   While the coverage of the figures relating to the public sector is reasonably complete, full information is not available in relation to private final consumption expenditure on health services and private capital expenditure on health facilities. In relation to the former, the Australian National Accounts (see table of the 1970-71 issue) do show an item 'chemists goods', but this item includes much expenditure which cannot be regarded as expenditure on health, and a satisfactory estimate of the health component cannot be made at present. With regard to the latter item, an estimate of private fixed capital expenditure on new buildings for health services is available from the building statistics collection. However, no estimates of expenditure on hospital, etc., equipment are available.

(3)   Additional information on public sector expenditure on health services is available in other publications of the Commonwealth Statistician, in particular Public Authority Finance: Commonwealth Authorities' (Ref. No. S.12) - which is issued each year as a budget paper - and the mimeographed bulletin, Public Authority Finance: State and Local Authorities' (Ref. No. 5.43). The honourable member's attention is also drawn to earlier answers given in reply to similar questions (see Hansard of 27 April 1972, pp. 2178-81, and 6 and 7 May 1971, pp. 2877-8).

(4)   My Department has undertaken some special surveys to complement other information available on which to make its own estimates of current account expenditure on health services for the years 1966-67 and 1969-70 (see Table II). Estimates of capital account expenditure on health services (e.g. new buildings for health services) have not been compiled by my Department. The former figures may be of interest to the honourable member and have been included in the table. It should be noted, however, that my Department's estimates are not strictly comparable with those supplied by the Bureau of Census and Statistics, mainly because, of differences in the classification of certain items and in scope and coverage. They have been compiled as an interim measure pending the development of collections by the Bureau of Census and Statistics which will enable health expenditure estimates to be made on a more uniform and comparable basis than at present.


Source: Australian National Accounts, National Income and Expenditure, 1971-72 (CBCS, forthcoming)

(a)   The public sector includes the activities of the Australian government, State and local governments, statutory bodies set up or controlled by the Australian or State governments, including universities and public hospitals, and corporations owned or controlled by governments. Expenditure by the public sector on 'health' relates to the provision of services and facilities for the prevention and cure of human illness. This covers the operation of hospitals, health centres, etc., ambulance services, inspection and preventive services, sanitary and garbage services, administrative expenses connected with national health services and other administrative activities of Federal and State Health Departments. Expenditures on hospital and medical services provided to members of the armed forces and to ex-servicemen are included in the functional categories 'Defence' and 'Repatriation'. Transfers to persons, such as medical and hospital benefits, are not included since expenditure from transfers is reflected in private expenditure.

(b)   Medical services consist of payments directly by persons or by way of medical benefits to doctors, dentists and other para-medical practitioners. Hospital services cover fees of patients in private and public hospitals met directly by persons or by way of hospital benefits. The estimated cost of food supplied in meals is included.

(c)   Not available. See (2) above.

(d)   Estimate of expenditure on new buildings for health services. See (2) above.

(e)   The aggregate which was previously described as Gross National Product is now called Gross Domestic Product in the Australian National Accounts. See 'Australian National Accounts 1971-72: Preliminary Statement No. 1*.


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