Private hospital review an opportunity to highlight reform priorities for the sector

A planned review commissioned by the Department of Health and Aged Care into private hospital viability is welcome, with patient access to medical care at risk if private hospitals continue to close around the country or choose not to support certain services like obstetrics and mental health care.

The review comes at a critical time, with several private hospitals closing in recent times, and services being limited, threatening patient access to care.  

The private sector is an essential part of our health system. Without it the pressures on public hospitals would be compounded. And with essential public surgery waiting lists continuing to grow and more and more patients waiting sometimes years to be seen, we cannot afford to see more private hospitals fail.

The AMA, which has been highlighting the structural issues in our private health sector for several years, is looking forward to engaging with the review team on the issues facing the system.  

Last year we held a workshop with leaders from across the sector — including from the Department of Health and Aged Care and the minister’s office — where attendees heard firsthand about the challenges facing private hospitals. 

The AMA has previously outlined proposals to make private health insurance more affordable for those who currently cannot afford it; improve its value proposition for consumers, and the wider health system; and to position our private health system into the future.  

One of the AMA’s key proposals is a new independent body — a Private Health System Authority – which if established could ensure we have a cohesive regulatory model that safeguards patient choice.  

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