AAP Imagemick Tsikas

Give the states primary health care: OECD

AUSTRALIA'S health system is too complex and should be overhauled, a report from the OECD has urged.

The OECD review of health care quality in Australia said the nation's health system was often "too complicated for patients to navigate".

A key issue adding to the complexity, the report found, was the split in funding and responsibilities between state and federal governments.

It found one way to improve health care was for Canberra to hand over responsibility for primary health care to state governments.

In return, the federal government should take a bigger role in "steering the health system".

The report recommended that more money should be spent on primary health care as the population ages and chronic diseases become more costly to taxpayers.

It said poor coordination had also contributed to higher than average hospitalisation rates for asthma.