Non-government hospitals deliver care at less cost

Catholic Health Australia (CHA) today again urged the Federal Government to allow private hospitals to take on more public elective surgery, following the release of the Productivity Commission's final report on public and private hospital performance.

"Shifting more elective surgery to non-government private hospitals would shorten waiting lists, ease the burden on Australia's over-worked Government run public hospital system and save taxpayer dollars,' CHA CEO Martin Laverty said.

Mr Laverty was speaking in response to findings of the Productivity Commission thatfound three-fifths of surgical cases in Government run public hospitals cost 10 per cent more than they do in non-government private hospitals.

"The Commission found non-government private hospitals are in many areas more efficient managers of both time and money, and they achieve better infection control," Mr Laverty said.

"For example, the Commission found general hospital costs which include nursing, allied health, operating rooms, and hotel charges cost on national average $600 more per admission in Government public hospitals than in non-government private hospitals.

"At a time when the Commonwealth and States are struggling to make headway on health reform, this report proves the case for greater use of private hospitals for services that the Commission has found they can provide at less cost than Government public hospitals."

The Productivity Commission report confirmed private hospital episodes of care cost on a national average $130 less than in Government run public hospitals. In more than half of the 600 admission categories assessed, private hospitals cost at least 10 per cent less than the same admission type in Government run public hospitals.

The Commission also found private hospitals have lower infection rates than Government run public hospitals.

CHA represents 75 public and private not for profit hospitals treating one in every 10 Australians admitted to hospital.

"The Queensland Government has reduced the number of people waiting excessive lengths for public elective surgery by 20% through greater use of private hospitals to treat public patients. Today's report says the Commonwealth Government should follow their lead," Mr Laverty concluded.

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