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Bryan Pyne (St John of God Health Care Group)

One of Australia’s largest Catholic hospital operators, St John of God, has warned the country’s public health system risks being overwhelmed if private providers are not put on a more sustainable footing. Source: Australian Financial Review.

As the $22 billion private hospital sector faces intense financial stress driven by rising labour and input costs and constrained revenue, operators have welcomed an urgent review launched by Health Minister Mark Butler.

Dubbed a “financial health check”, the review by senior health department officials Brian Kelleher and Emily Lancsar and former Independent Hospital Pricing Authority chief executive James Downie will look at market challenges and profitability concerns.

St John of God Health Care Group chief executive Bryan Pyne welcomed the review. The company operates across Australia and New Zealand, employing about 17,000 people.

“The sector is facing unprecedented financial pressures, and funding from private health insurers is failing to meet operational costs,” Mr Pyne said.

“While our priority is to provide excellent patient experience and safety, many private hospital groups continue to report operational losses. 

“This is not sustainable and private hospitals are turning to initiatives that can deliver increased efficiencies and cost savings such as service closures.

“Without a successful and sustainable private hospital sector, the public health sector would be overwhelmed.”

After a low-key launch of the review, Mr Butler said yesterday his department was working to better understand the sector’s viability. The “health check” on private hospitals in expected to be finished in August.


Help us or hospital system could fail: private operator (By Tom McIlroy, Australian Financial Review)