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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Funding, workforce and novel medical technology top of list for private hospitals

Health Industry Hub | February 24, 2023 |

MedTech News: The Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA) will bring together delegates from across the private hospital sector to discuss workforce issues, health funding models and developments in technology at the the APHA 40th National Congress in March 2023.

The private hospital sector comprises 289 overnight hospitals and 350 standalone day hospitals. The sector contributes to 60% of all surgical services, 80% of all in-patient rehabilitation, 45% of all acute adult psychiatric beds and at least 30% of all chemotherapy.

APHA’s Acting CEO, Lucy Cheetham, said the APHA Congress program was designed to spark debate on issues relevant to the sector.

“Private hospitals stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic. We had hospitals sending staff into aged-care facilities to provide healthcare, other hospitals hosted well aged-care residents to keep them safe, then through the vaccination period private hospital nurses staffed vaccine hubs, and our hospitals also cared for COVID-19 patients,” she said.

“Now, private hospitals are helping reduce the elective surgery waiting lists that built up during the pandemic, while also managing a workforce that is tired and hasn’t been replenished through skilled migration for several years.”

Ms Cheetham said two sessions on workforce in private hospitals would focus on the shortage of nurses – private hospitals are short about 8,000 nurses – but also on keeping that workforce well and resilient.

“These are important issues for private hospital operators as well as their staff. We know there is a workforce shortage, but we also want private hospital staff to feel supported and prepared for our post-COVID challenges.

“In terms of migration, APHA has been campaigning for the Federal Government to take up a range of measures to make Australia an attractive place to move to. Measures like improved pathways to residency and reduced red tape for applicants and employers would go a long way to making Australia an attractive destination,” she said.

“We are competing for workforce with countries all over the world because there is a healthcare workforce shortage everywhere, so we need to put out the welcome mat to nurses, doctors and allied health professionals who might be thinking about bringing their skills here.”

Ms Cheetham said the APHA Congress program would also investigate developments in technology, like the use of artificial Intelligence and data and how they might shape what a hospital looks like in 10 – 20 years.

“Private hospitals have always been innovators in healthcare technology. The first robotic surgery in Australia was performed at an Epworth HealthCare hospital in the early 2000s. We will discuss what is coming next in this space for the healthcare sector.”

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