Public Hospital Report Card 2024


AMA VIC President’s Introduction

Dr Jill Tomlinson

President, AMA Victoria

Victoria's public hospital performance presents a nuanced picture of resilience and adversity. Despite significant increases in funding from the Victorian Government outlined in this report, the extent of the increase must nonetheless be viewed as modest given the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic in Victoria. The ongoing struggle to maintain healthcare standards amid (now) severe financial strain underscores the uphill battle toward healthcare resilience. Targeted, effective interventions and strategic resource allocation are therefore imperative to address system shortcomings.​

In line with this imperative, AMAV's advocacy priorities for 2024-2025 centre on "Restoring Confidence" in Victoria's healthcare system. We offer tangible and achievable solutions to Victoria’s healthcare challenges. Our goal is to bolster confidence and morale while enhancing the quality, accessibility, and safety of healthcare services.​

Central to our efforts is supporting general practice, the backbone of our healthcare system. With appropriate investment and support, avoidable hospital admissions can be reduced, producing tangible patient benefits and healthcare savings.​

Beyond general practice, AMA Victoria is committed to enhancing Victoria's healthcare system by focusing on key areas: advancing digital health, supporting the medical workforce, elevating rural and regional health, lessening the administrative burdens placed on all medical practitioners, and addressing equity and diversity issues, amongst others.​

Our overarching objective in all this is to usher in a more resilient and responsive era- one that advances a Victorian healthcare system that empowers doctors and enriches patient care. This report card underscores the extent of our challenge and the urgency of our task.

Key Takeaways

Victoria’s performance paints a mixed picture. While the state remains a relatively strong performer in median scheduled surgery and Category 3 emergency waiting times, its poor performance in both the “four-hour rule” and Category 2 scheduled surgery waiting times are close to the worst in Australia. Following broader national trends, Victoria’s performance fell across most of the key performance indicators between the 2021-22 and 2022-23 periods.

Table 1: Victoria’s performance 2022-23 compared to the previous year

Cat 3 ED on time 4 Hour Rule Median Surgery wait Cat 2 Surgery wait

Table 2: Victoria’s performance 2022-23 compared to national average (below or above)

Cat 3 ED on time 4 Hour Rule Median Surgery wait Cat 2 Surgery wait

Emergency department performance - Victoria

During the 2022-23 reporting period, Victoria’s emergency department performance was varied. The state’s ability to see category 3 ED patients within the recommended time of 30 minutes improved slightly compared to 2021-22, while the percentage of patients being seen within four hours of presenting to ED fell to 52 per cent, compared to 71 per cent just six years ago.

Figure 3: Percentage of Category 3 (urgent) ED patients seen within the recommended time of under 30 minutes - Victoria

Figure 4: Percentage of ED visits completed in four hours or less - Victoria

Planned surgery performance - Victoria

While Victoria has maintained a relatively short median waiting time for planned surgery in recent years, including best in class performances in 2018-19, 2020-21 and 2021-22, last year saw a major jump from 25 to 36 days for the median patient on the planned surgery waiting list. Meanwhile, the percentage of category 2 patients being admitted within the recommended time remains very poor at just 55 per cent.

Figure 5: Median waiting time for planned surgery (days) - Victoria

Figure 6: Percentage of Category 2 planned surgery patients admitted within the recommended (90 days) - Victoria

Public hospital expenditure - Victoria

Figure 7: Per person average annual percent increase in public hospital funding by government source (constant prices) - Victoria

2011-12 to 2021-22 2011-12 to 2016-17 2016-17 to 2021-22
Commonwealth 1.94% 0.98% 2.59%
Vic Government 5.37% 1.57% 8.36%

Figure 8: Public hospital funding, per person, by government source (constant prices) - Victoria

The most recent public hospital funding data are from 2021-22. In Victoria, most public hospital funding (64 per cent) comes from the state government. This is much higher than the national average of 59 per cent, even as most state and territories continue to take on most of the funding burden for our public hospital system.