Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle Alistair Brightman

Private hospitals vital to Australia's health

PRIVATE hospitals are a key part of the Australian healthcare system, offering easy access to high quality care that keeps Australians well, Alan Cooper CEO of Friendly Society Private Hospital said.

"Healthcare matters to Australians this election and it matters to us," he said.

"At The Friendlies we take pride in our contribution to keeping this community well and being here when they need us to help them get back on their feet."

Mr Cooper said the hospital was particularly proud of its ability to offer capital city services in a regional hospital setting, which included having the only Cath Lab between Sunshine Coast and Townsville, meaning patients have the option to be treated locally.

"As the population ages pressure on the health system will continue to grow. We need good solutions to the health care puzzle and we look forward to hearing more from local candidates about their policies," he said.

The Friendlies has been serving its local community for 70 years and are leaders in regional healthcare.

They offer surgery and treatment across 20 specialities while offering world-class hospital care.

Last year the hospital cared for 15,193 patients and performed 8351 surgeries.

The Friendlies is just one of more than 600 private hospitals providing services around Australia.

In 2014-15, more than 4 million Australians were treated in a private hospital - about 40% of all patients.

"Private hospitals take on the lion's share of elective surgery in Australia," Mr Cooper said.

"More than half of all surgeries happen in our hospitals, including about half of all heart procedures.

"Almost half of chemotherapy is delivered privately while 75% of eye procedures occur in the private setting.

"Many Australians do not realise non-surgical benefits provided by hospitals.

About 70% of patients admitted for rehabilitation, on a knee reconstruction or after heart surgery, come through the private setting.

"The value of high quality rehabilitation in keeping people well and out of hospital needs better recognition.

"Without the private system taking the pressure off public healthcare by providing all of these services quickly, professionally and with the best available technology, the Australian health care system would suffer."

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