“Patients with private health insurance could be placed on waiting lists because of C19 crisis contracts that are no longer consistent with reality”, Chairman of ASOS, Dr Simon Coffey said in Sydney today.

We have been fortunate in Australia to have a balanced public/private health sector and public/private hospital system.  That balance is now under threat.

The Federal Government acted to ensure that extra capacity was available in private hospitals should there be a surge of C19 patients.  Despite the threat diminishing, the contractual arrangements are proceeding leaving private patients with less assured access to private hospitals.  

It is obvious to all those who work in both public and private hospitals, that we no longer need private hospitals to provide beds for overflowing public hospitals. To the contrary, our public hospitals have considerable excess capacity and the viability of private hospitals will now be resolved by the return of elective surgery to both public and private hospitals.

The justification for contracting the private hospital system no longer exists and to continue these arrangements is to add to further disruption.  At a time when some Australians are reconsidering their commitment to private health insurance, the emergence of private hospital waiting lists will simply add to the problem by further diminishing the value proposition of private health insurance and the private health sector.

On top of all this, our staged return of elective surgery has been covered in complexity by health administrators, and their advisers at state and local levels.  A balanced public/private sector healthcare model that has worked well for all Australians in the past, is now out of balance.

Australian procedural specialists and the medical profession in general have worked cooperatively to ensure that C19 protocols and necessary safety measures are in place.

ASOS calls on Federal and State Governments to increase their efforts to remove unnecessary barriers to the full operation of our public and private hospital sectors, to relieve unnecessary suffering and to contribute to Australia’s economic recovery.

For more information:

Dr Simon Coffey                                                         Mr Stephen Milgate
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Chairman                                                                    CEO