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Hospitals don’t need increased funding, they need to make better use of what they’ve got

Several health care experts write in The Conversation (22.3.16) about how public hospitals could be more efficiently and effectively managed and operated, not necessarily through simply injecting extra funding into the health system.

‘The Australian hospital sector is facing growing pressure, not least around funding. The states are struggling to come up with the funds to fill the gap left by the Commonwealth’s 2014 budget announcement that it will reduce the levels of federal hospital funding from next year.

‘Australia’s health system is a network of service providers, rather than a single, coherent system. The rules around funding and access – even within a single hospital – are often different, making it difficult for patients to navigate their health-care journey.

‘Another feature of a system with multiple interfaces between services is queues. Australian patients do an awful lot of waiting. It’s not just inconvenient to the patient, it can result in increased cost of care and reduced health outcomes.

‘Proposed solutions usually focus on the need for more resources, be it money, beds or staff. But fixing the hospital system is not just a matter of more and more funds. We don’t necessarily need to increase funding to the public hospital system, we need to make better use of what we’ve got. Hospitals need to work smarter, not harder.’

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