If you’re paying for your health care you’d expect good service wouldn’t you? The release of four health commissioner decisions over the weekend and covered by the Sunday Star Times, focused attention on private hospitals and the potential for catastrophic outcomes from relatively minor operations.
According the report, Health Commissioner Ron Paterson says the cluster of cases “tells us that sometimes people go in for relatively minor surgery in private hospitals and things go very badly wrong there” and that patients should be aware of the lack of a “safety net” of the public hospital team when they are in the hands of just one private specialist who has ultimate responsibility for their care.
Those who suggest the private health system is the answer to our heavily committed public hospitals may have to think again. Currently about 3 per cent of publicly funded elective surgery is done in the private sector.