Catholic Health Australia has welcomed a Commonwealth Government decision to underwrite the viability of private hospitals in the wake of cancelling non-urgent surgeries because of the COVID-19 crisis.
The national coronavirus partnership will provide the certainty that the not-for-profit hospital sector needs to maintain its full capacity and shift its service offerings towards fighting coronavirus.
Catholic hospitals account for around 30 per cent of all private hospital patients and approximately 10 per cent of all healthcare needs across Australia.
CHA said the move to cancel non-urgent elective surgeries would have forced some hospitals to furlough services and stand down staff just as the health sector prepares for the expected surge in COVID-19 cases.
Wednesday night’s agreement with the Commonwealth will ensure staffing and capacity in our hospitals is maintained.
It was also agreed that the states and territories would draw up plans to fully integrate public hospitals with the private sector in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking to Sky on Wednesday night about his meeting with the private hospital sector that afternoon, Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Government was “guaranteeing their viability as we go forward over the coming six months because that is such an important message to the market and to the staff to maintain their viability and they in turn maintain their capacity”.
CHA chief executive Pat Garcia said the news would ensure that the private and non-profit hospitals remained viable and ready to deal with the coronavirus threat.
“This is a welcome common-sense approach and ensures that Catholic hospitals can continue their state of readiness and work with all tiers of government. We urge the states and territories to support the Commonwealth’s plan to underwrite the viability of private and non-profit hospitals so that we can beat this pandemic.”
“This deal ensures that everyone in the health sector – the private sector, Catholic non-profits and the public hospitals – will be working together to fight this pandemic. Our doctors and nurses have been ready for weeks but this deal ensures they can remain at their posts.”
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