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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Government ignores struggling private hospitals in budget

Health Industry Hub | May 14, 2024 |

MedTech & Diagnostics News: Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has called on the federal government to address the challenges faced by the private hospital system, which was notably overlooked in tonight’s Budget.

“The government has ignored a critical part of the health system that performs two thirds of elective surgeries in this country, missing an opportunity to take pressure off public hospitals,” said CHA CEO Jason Kara.

She added, “In the past five years, 71 private hospital services have closed down as a result of workforce shortages and funding from insurers failing to keep pace with soaring costs of providing care. Without immediate action, these closures will continue and more private patients will be pushed into public hospitals which are already operating over capacity, impacting patient access to timely care and increasing costs for taxpayers.

“In addition to reducing demand on the public system, private hospitals provide patients with choice and improved access to care, and are therefore a vital component of Australia’s health system.”

To address these pressing issues, CHA has outlined several key recommendations for the government, including compelling insurers to finance hospital-at-home care, aligning premium hikes with benefits returned to patients, encouraging states and territories to leverage private sector capacity to reduce public surgery wait times, and supporting struggling private providers in maternity and mental healthcare.

While expressing these concerns, CHA also commended the government’s recent decisions, including maintaining General Use Items on the Prescribed List, which is estimated to save patients and not-for-profit hospitals up to $80 million annually.

Additionally, the organisation welcomed the allocation of $882.2 million to aid older Australians and alleviate pressure on public hospitals through community outreach initiatives, along with $90 million earmarked for implementing health-related recommendations from the Kruk Review.

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