The politics of health

by John Daley

Presented at
Vernon Collins Oration – The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne
Thursday 15 October

Australian government budgets are under pressure. Health is the dominant underlying driver, with costs consistently growing faster than the economy and government revenue. The increased costs are due to increased servicing, not ageing, and seem to be contributing to better health outcomes overall.

Health will be part of budget repair, but reform will require hard choices. Australia’s spending is efficient relative to other developed countries. Incremental – but vital – reforms require a more systematic approach to hospital cost management, and treatment choice. Ultimately hospital professionals must choose: either drive improvements themselves, or have reform imposed by governments that are running out of alternatives.