The Health Minister, Kim Hanes allows public patients on a more than 90 days waiting list to be treated in a public-private of private hospital. This action plan is called due to a blowout in the waiting lists. The state opposition Health spokesman, Roger Cook, however criticized the plan.
Mr. Cook says that the costs of elective surgery performed in the public hospital are different from the private ones. He adds, It is much more expensive for the taxpayers to have patients treated in a private hospital. Secondly, it doesn't go to the issue which confronts public hospitals and that is they need more resources and they need a Minister that's prepared to do the hard work to get them working better.
Presently, there are more than 2,000 people on the waiting list for elective surgery. Dr Hames says that a number of private hospitals have been informed that the surgery cost will be the same as the cost allocated in the public hospitals, with the goal to help in reducing the blowout.
He goes on to say, The reason for me making this decision is while I expected those numbers to b gone within a year and a half at the rate of reduction that they'd had just this last few months, they've started going back up again and I've really had enough of that and we're going to take steps to fix it.
The total of surgeries carried out in January was 750 fewer than those carried out in the same month last year and this, according to Dr Hames, is unacceptable.
Gary Geelhoed, professor and the representative of the Australian Medical Association says waiting lists are a problem at every hospital and it is unlikely for patients to get an opening elsewhere. He believes that elective surgery done in private hospitals will undermine the private health system.
Professor Geelhoed bluntly states, Why would someone take out private insurance and go into a private hospital when sitting in the next bed is someone who comes from the public system and hasn't paid anything. I mean there's not point to it.
He believes that the situation in not an emergency and that this is just a result of underfunding over a period of time and thus, it is a bad move.