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Health spending growth slowest in decades

Health spending growth slowest in decades
Photo: Health spending growth slowest in decades
Health spending increased by just 1.5 per cent to $147bln in 2012/13 compared to 5.1 per cent a year over the past decade.

Health spending has grown as its slowest rate in almost 30 years, new figures show.

Expenditure on health reached $147.4 billion in 2012/13, up 1.5 per cent from $142 billion in the previous year, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) says.

As a percentage of GDP it came to 9.67 per cent in 2012/13, up from 9.55 per cent in the previous year.

"This is the lowest growth the AIHW has recorded since it began the Health expenditure Australia series in the mid-1980s," AIHW director David Kalisch said in a statement.

The average annual growth over the last decade was 5.1 per cent, he said.

On average $6430 is spent on the health needs of every Australian each year - $17 less per person than in the previous year.

The report shows government spending on health overall fell by 0.9 per cent in 2012/13, largely as a result of a drop in the Australian Government funding of 2.4 per cent.

The main drivers of the decrease in Australian Government spending were reductions in spending on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, public health, dental services and e-health.

Spending also fell in the categories of health insurance premium rebates, Department of Veterans Affairs funding and the medical expenses tax rebate in 2012/13.

The commonwealth's share of the $61 billion spent on health goods and services was 41.4 per cent, while state and territory governments kicked in 26.9 per cent.

Other spending came from non-government sources.

Copyright AAP 2014

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