Technically the world’s largest and best-equipped hospitals, including Sydney’s Royal Children’s Hospital, are now on a collision course with one another.
In a bid to save money, some hospitals are offering free operation to patients who can afford it.
In Sydney, for example, the Royal Childrens Hospital is offering operations to people earning less than $30,000 a year, while Sydney University is offering free operations to anyone earning between $60,000 and $90,000.
However, the number of operations being offered to people who can’t afford them is growing.
The Sydney Morning Herald has compiled the results of a recent survey of hospitals across Australia, and found that some are offering operations for $20 or less.
The survey also found that a large number of hospitals are now offering operations under the umbrella of free operation, while the number offering free surgery in its entirety is dwindling.
The biggest threat to this trend is the cost of operating room space.
With the growth of free surgery, and the growing number of surgeries that cost less than the operating room, there is a risk that operations are being taken up for free by those who can pay.
The cost of hospital operations are growing.
Dr Michael Haines, director of the Institute of Hospital Operators, said free operation was a “very viable option” to minimise operating room costs.
“It’s not as easy as you’d think for hospitals to keep operations free, but it’s a very viable option, and there are lots of opportunities to minimiser costs,” he said.
But while free surgery is becoming a more viable option for many hospitals, some will not be able to offer it to those who cannot afford to pay for it.
Some hospitals, such as the Sydney Children’s and Family Hospital, will only offer free operations for people who have the means to afford them, or if they have a spouse who can, but are not in need of surgery.
Dr Hain, who is also the president of the Australian Hospital Operative Association, said he had heard a lot of people complaining that they had to go to a private hospital for surgery and that they were not getting the same quality of care as a hospital with a full service team.
“I don’t think this is an issue in any case,” Dr Hains said.
“You can’t have it both ways.
While hospitals are taking a risk in offering free surgeries, Dr Hagin said they were doing it to give the public more choice. “
If you’re going to offer free operation in the hospitals that you do have full service teams at the end of the day you’ve got to make sure the people who need it are getting the best care.”
While hospitals are taking a risk in offering free surgeries, Dr Hagin said they were doing it to give the public more choice.
“There’s no question that free surgery for children is a good thing for them,” he says.
“But the question is, is it worth it to provide that choice to people?”
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) says it is “not against free operation for children”.
However, Dr Anthony Sperling, AMA’s chief executive, said some hospitals were simply not offering the surgery for free because they did not have the space for patients to get into the operating theatre.
“What we’re doing is putting our best foot forward,” Dr Sperly said.
The AMA said it supported a “full range of operations” at all stages of the operation, including those that were not free.
“Our medical officers have a duty to ensure that the health and safety of patients are protected,” he added.
Dr Hainer said he was not concerned about the cost. “
In the context of an emerging health and social care system, it is vital that hospitals maintain a safe environment for all of their patients.”
Dr Hainer said he was not concerned about the cost.
“Most people would be very happy to pay to have surgery,” he explained.
“They just need to get to the surgery.” AAP