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Switch to home care could save millions: report

The Deloitte research also found patients treated at home were more satisfied and had shorter hospital stays.

A new study has found treating patients at home could save state and federal governments millions of dollars annually.

Research by Deloitte Access Economics found it was up to 32 per cent cheaper to treat patients at home instead of public hospitals.

Patients treated at home were more satisfied and had shorter hospital stays.

There were also no difference for patients being treated at home or in hospital in terms of how many died or were readmitted to hospital.

The study was based on patients with six common conditions which can be treated at home including cellulitis, blood clots in the lungs or legs, respiratory infections, knee replacements and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The report said that if the number of patients treated at home rose 10 per cent, governments could save $1.7 million a year.

But if all patients who could be adequately treated at home were transferred from their hospital beds, the savings would be even greater at $108.6 million.

Hospital in the Home Society Australia president Gideon Caplan urged the federal government to make home treatment more accessible for patients.

He said changes to the Medicare benefits scheme to allow GPs and doctors to treat hospital patients at home would keep more patients out of hospital and save money.

"The study shows there's a lot of money that can be saved by treating people at home and it also frees up beds so people needing beds can get into hospital, taking the pressure off emergency departments," Caplan told AAP.

"People say in the future maybe hospitals will only be intensive care and operating theatres and other things can be treated at home.

"That may be 20, 30 or 40 years in the future but there's certainly more potential to treat people in this way."

More than 50,000 hospital patients were treated at home in 2008-09 for common conditions such as respiratory, skin, joint and soft tissue infections.


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