Professor Deborah Schofield
Professor of Health Economics
Professor Schofield’s career has spanned the Australian Government public service, academia and clinical practice and she has a national and international reputation for her work in economic modelling of the health system. [More...]
Professor Schofield’s career has spanned the Australian Government public service, academia and clinical practice and she has a national and international reputation for her work in economic modelling of the health system.
Professor Schofield established the health microsimulation modelling program at the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling. She undertook nation-leading work on modelling the distribution of health expenditure and health expenditure trends and private health insurance. As a result Australia is now seen as the international leader in the application of microsimulation to health. Prof Schofield has provided advice to organisations such as the World Health Organisation, the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, Sweden, the National Health Service in the UK and the Associations of the Faculties of Medicine in the UK and Canada. She established Australia’s first model of child care subsidies and their relationship to family earnings and was a developer of STINMOD, a model of income, government benefits and taxation. Over the last 15 years this model has been, and still is, used extensively by major government departments including the Treasury, the opposition for election promises, Cabinet and Budget cabinet, for analysis and costing of major tax-benefit policy changes such as Tax Reform at the time the GST was introduced.
She went on to hold senior positions in several Australian Government Departments. These included the Department of Health and Ageing where she managed $42 billion in funding for the current Australian Health Care Agreements which fund public hospitals and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Budget Policy. At the Australian Treasury she was Director of Health Policy where she managed all analysis and advice to the Treasurer on the Health Portfolio and its funding. She also spent several years as Specialist Adviser at the Treasury and during this time she pioneered the methods for forecasting health expenditure used in the landmark Budget paper called "The Intergenerational Report (IGR)". This report has had a far-reaching impact on the approach to State and Australian Government expenditure policy. It has also fundamentally altered the understanding of the impact of ageing on future demand for health expenditure in Australia. It has been reported by the OECD and has been influential in leading first world nations to recognise that demographic change will place as much pressure on health care as it will on pension systems. Prof Schofield subsequently provided extensive advice to the Productivity Commission on their report of on the Economic Impact of Ageing and was a consultant to the Treasury on the second Intergenerational Report. While at Treasury she wrote a paper on the relationship between health and labour force participation of older workers which led to preventive health policy changes in the 2004-06 budget.
Professor Schofield has developed an excellent reputation for her work on the health workforce and is co-lead for the Australian delegation for the International Medical Workforce Collaborative (IMWC), and member of the IMWC planning committee. She has undertaken consultancies for NSW Treasury and Southern Cross University in this area and made a significant contribution to the North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) Workforce Development Plan 2005-2015 and now sits on the NCAHS Workforce Development Implementation Plan Committee.
She now sits on several government committees including the Professional Programs and Services Advisory Committee (PPSAC) research committee of the Department of Health and Ageing. She is a regular reviewer for the Medical Journal of Australia and other journals
Professor Deborah Schofield currently leads a work program focusing on: modelling ageing and retirement and their relationships with health and the labour force; modelling of demographic change and the health workforce; long term forecasting of health services and expenditure; and a cohort study of rural health clinicians. Her current major research projects include:
• The economic impacts of illness:
- Leads a $717K grant undertaken with NATSEM examining labour force participation and income tax and savings lost due to early retirement, funded by the ARC and Pfizer Australia; and
- A $1.8m grant on understanding the impact of social, economic and geographic disadvantage on the health of Australians in mid - later life where she leads the economic engagement theme, funded by the NHMRC.
• Ageing and retirement of the medical workforce
- Co-leads the Australian contingent for the International Medical Workforce Collaborative
- Leads the health workforce research stream for a $1.5 m Research and Development Capacity Building Infrastructure Grant funded by NSW Health