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Australian public hospitals face only a residual role in elective surgery

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 03 July 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:12
  1. Christopher Zinn
  1. Sydney

    Australians seeking elective surgery have been disenfranchised by the growth of private hospitals conducting such procedures and the retreat of public services, according to a report commissioned by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

    It found that public hospitals faced only a residual role in elective operations, such as hip and knee replacements, and the lack of access for patients without insurance (including more than half of those aged over 65), posed major equity issues.

    The independent report said the swing to private care—caused by policies encouraging health insurance and by state and federal governments' reluctance to fund public hospitals properly—meant that patients without insurance would face longer waiting …

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