Wollongong Private Hospital a breath of fresh air for public system

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A leading surgeon believes Ramsay Health Care’s new Wollongong Private Hospital will ease pressure on the region’s public health system.

Speaking ahead of today’s opening, neurosurgeon Dr Matthias Jaegar said the state-of-the-art hospital’s capacity to offer an increased range of surgical options will have a positive flow-on effect for public patients.

Dr Jaegar and his team of three neurosurgeons currently perform more than 100 operations at Wollongong Public Hospital each year.

Dr Jaeger said 40 per cent of those cases are privately insured patients who require emergency surgery.

“With the opening of Wollongong Private Hospital…we will be able to offer services for private patients which will open up a lot of operating time for public patients in the public hospital system,” Dr Jaeger said.

“So if you look at the overall healthcare and surgical service delivery in the region, the new private hospital doesn’t only benefit private patients but public patients too.”

Dr Jaegar said the hospital’s “state-of-the-art facilities” mean neurosurgeons can perform a broader range of brain procedures.

“We now have the tools and the expertise to conduct all types of operations including brain tumours,” he said.

“We can also conduct operations for the chronic nerve pain condition trigeminal neuralgia and treatment of hydrocephalus, the abnormal enlargement of brain cavities caused by fluid build-up.”

The new services mean Illawarra and Shoalhaven residents requiring such procedures no longer have to leave the region to access world class neurological services.

“There’s now no need for patients to travel to Sydney in many cases,” Dr Jaegar said.

“It means they will have the benefit of having family and friends close by which helps them through their operation and associated recovery afterwards.”

Cardiac patients are also set to benefit from the introduction of additional services at the new hospital.

All aspects of interventional cardiology are available, while cardiothoracic (open heart and lung) surgery, which hasn’t been available in the region for over a decade, will be introduced mid-year.

Dr Astin Lee, director of cardiology within the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, said it was a “major step forward for the region”.

“I’m very excited that Ramsay Health Care is investing in private cardiology services in the region,” Dr Lee said.

“Some patients, already unwell with a cardiac condition, find it really difficult to travel to Sydney for their procedures.

“Having a local facility which offers world-class services and more choice eases the burden on patients and their families.”

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