THE Turnbull government's focus on spending the least amount possible on pathology services needs to change, a new report on medical tests has found.
A Centre for International Economics report released on Tuesday has urged that the role of pathology testing in caring for patients be better recognised.
The report, funded by Pathology Awareness Australia, found that despite the number of Medicare-funded tests growing from 40 million in 2000 to nearly 90 million in 2015, the cost was "relatively small compared to many other healthcare services".
It was released as the Turnbull government prepares its first budget, amid plans to cut more than $650 million from pathology, MRI and other Medicare-funded tests.
But CIE's director of health economics and policy, Sarina Lacey, said the report did not advocate for any specific funding change.
"The purpose of this report was really to understand why (pathology) is valuable," she said.