The South Australian Government’s move to engage private hospital providers to ease elective waiting list pressures has been welcomed by the Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA).
APHA CEO Michael Roff said the decision would be better for patients, meaning those waiting for treatment will have their surgery sooner and pressure on waiting lists will be relieved.
“This is a good outcome for South Australians and hopefully represents the first step in greater collaboration between public and private hospitals.”
South Australian Health and Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wade announced an agreement between 13 health providers who will become part of a new Patient Services Panel.
The panel, which will be managed by SA Health, will allow public patients to access services they need earlier at private facilities.
“Public and private hospitals have always worked together, however this has traditionally been done on an ad-hoc, non-strategic basis,” Minister Wade said.
“This new agreement allows for better planning and a more streamlined coordination of services to minimise delays for surgery.”
The panel includes day and overnight private hospitals providing elective surgery and rehabilitation services. In addition they may be called on to provide additional support in emergencies or during major incidents.
Mr Roff said the move brings the two systems together in collaboration to provide care to South Australians.
“The problem of growing public hospital waiting lists is evident around the country. The APHA national body has been calling on the public system to engage with private hospitals to alleviate the pressure on waiting lists.
“It is pleasing to see the State Government recognise the high quality care provided by private hospitals. We hope there will be more collaboration to more efficiently use the resources of both sectors.
“Ideally, privately insured patients would be transferred from public hospitals to be treated in the private system, which would remove more of the waiting list burden from public hospitals.
“A more collaborative system should mean this happens more often and public and private hospitals work closely to ensure patients get the care they need, when they need it,” Mr Roff said.