Elective surgeries need to be scaled up in Queensland private hospitals

Tuesday, 21st April 2020

Following yesterday’s news that there were no new cases of coronavirus in Queensland overnight, the LNP is calling on Queensland to up-scale elective surgeries in private hospitals.

LNP Shadow Minister for Health Ros Bates said that non-emergency elective surgeries and important cancer screenings should come back on-line as quickly as possible.

“Queenslanders have done an amazing job at flattening the curve and we should take great pride in that,” Ms Bates said.

“As a nurse I know that while we can’t be complacent, not is the time we should be re-starting surgeries to focus on better patient care.

“Labor’s surgery waiting list had already significantly blown out prior to the coronavirus.

“Queenslanders who on these waiting lists are suffering and if there is capacity in our private hospitals, we need to open them back up,” Ms Bates said.

As of February, there were almost 56,000 Queenslanders waiting for surgery, but we expect that to be a lot higher now given the extra capacity that was needed to respond to coronavirus.

“There is no point having empty hospital beds in private hospitals when Queenslanders are waiting for surgery,” Ms Bates said.

“The LNP has long advocated for a partnership with the private sector to improve patient care and we need that now more than ever.

“Private hospitals were there to help support the public system during this crisis and there is no reason why this partnership needs to end now.

“The cost per minute of surgery in private hospitals is about half that compared with public hospitals, so the system is more efficient as well.

“Some regional areas have had zero or very few cases of coronavirus, so a scaled-up response should be considered to help Queenslanders get the health care they need.

“Any surgery re-start needs to be done in consultation with clinical specialists and private hospital operators, but I would urge the Palaszczuk Labor Government to move quickly,” Ms Bates said.

The Federal Government is currently underwriting 50% of the cost of private hospital surgeries to help manage the system.

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