Catholic Health Australia (CHA) today welcomed the restructure of NSW Health, and the specific commitment that Local Health Districts should purchase planned surgery, community health care and other services from non-government hospitals.
"Across NSW, Catholic public hospitals, private hospitals, and home nursing services are able and willing to develop health service plans with Local Health Districts that in time will help cut elective surgery waiting times," CHA CEO Martin Laverty said.
"Our network of non-government public and private hospitals has delivered health care in NSW for more than 185 years. We today have spare capacity to do more public work to ease the current pressure on government owned hospitals.
"We can provide extra acute, sub acute, medical, surgical, mental health, and palliative care services. Longer term, we're willing to invest to expand our capacity in consultation with Local Health Districts to improve access to public health services," Mr Laverty said.
Mr Laverty cited Productivity Commission evidence showing on national average that non-government hospitals provide hospital services at less cost than government owned hospitals, and with more successful infection control outcomes.
"By entering into long term agreements for non-government hospitals to utilise existing capacity, and by agreeing to build new capacity, Local Hospital Districts will find efficiencies and quality gains in how services are delivered," Mr Laverty said.
"Just as importantly, patients will be able to access public health services sooner if Local Hospital Districts work with the non-government sector to plan new ways in which government owned and non-government owned services provide care to patients.
"Putting in place workable mechanisms to ensure Local Hospital Districts can and do purchase services from the most efficient and best quality providers of care will be key.
"We look forward to working with the NSW Government to bring a new 'level playing field' to manner in which health services are funded to deliver the best quality and most efficient services to the people of NSW," Mr Laverty said.