Australia’s private hospitals take on elective surgery load

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Australia’s private hospitals are already assisting public hospitals by taking on some of the essential elective surgery caseload as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Australia’s health care system, says Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA) CEO Michael Roff.

Mr Roff said there is capacity in private hospitals and a commitment from the private sector to play their part in ensuring Australians receive the care they need.

“The whole Australian health care system needs to work together to weather this potential crisis. Many states have already committed to addressing their elective surgery waiting lists with the help of the private hospital sector, we expect others will move to do the same.

“The private hospitals sector is working with States, Territories and the Federal Government to be part of the solution for Australia at this time. Private hospitals are in discussions with their local public hospitals, health districts and state health departments about matching capacity to potential need. Indeed, they are already providing critical services like cardiac surgery in a number of states," he said.

Mr Roff said there were some concerns about the availability of personal protective equipment to ensure surgery can go ahead, but this was also being discussed with government.

“It is essential the health care system in Australia mobilises to ensure we are able to manage the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Roff said. 

Ramsay Health Care supported his comments. The private hospital group issued a series of media releases from its private hospitals emphasising the capacity in the private hospital sector to help.

For example, Tamara Private Hospital CEO Debra Maslen, said the Tamworth hospital was ‘well-resourced and well-prepared’ to manage the impacts of COVID-19.

“All Ramsay Health Care facilities have strict infection control and prevention protocols along with well-established systems and staff to protect healthcare workers, patients and visitors,” she said.

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