A damning new report into Tasmanian allied health professionals (AHPs) has revealed that over a thousand hospital admissions could be prevented each year if the government invested in community-based health care.
The report, by health policy analyst Martyn Goddard in association with HACSU, found that employing more AHPs is one of the most cost-effective measures the government could take to significantly improve the health and lives of Tasmanians.
According to the Commonwealth Grants Commission, the Tasmanian government needs to spend 35 per cent more per head than other states on community health because of our older, sicker and poorer population according to the Commonwealth Grants Commission.
“The Commission gives us extra money so we can pay for it,” Martyn Goddard said. “But that money is not spent on community health. In fact, the government has spent $393 million less than other states since coming into office.
“Community health treats people before they become sick enough to need to go to hospital. By having national-standard community care in Tasmania, we could reduce hospital admissions by at least 2 per cent a year. That would mean 2500 fewer people needing to go to hospital.
“The average cost of treating an inpatient is $5800 each time they’re admitted, so even a reduction of as little as 2 per cent – and we could expect much more – would save the system around $15 million a year.
“That’s only one benefit. Think of the impact on people’s lives and productivity if they could get the effective health care they need.”
HACSU Acting State Secretary Robbie Moore condemned the government’s failure to invest in AHPs.
“We know that AHPs reduce hospitalisation and that we need more of them, yet Tasmania has far fewer AHPs than other states,” said Robbie Moore.
“Waiting until someone’s condition is so serious that they need to go to hospital is bad economics and bad medicine,” he said. “Without enough AHPs to provide essential health services, we know thousands of people will experience avoidable pain, suffering and financial loss. The government must act.”
Community-based health care covers a vast range of areas including mental health, rehabilitation, aged care, disability services, problem gambling, alcohol and drug programs and carer respite, most of which rely on AHPs to operate.
For comment or further information contact Robbie Moore on 0427 471 031.