Private hospitals to provide precious resources during COVID-19 pandemic
Published: 31 March 2020
The QNMU welcomes the federal government’s announcement that it will work with the nation’s 657 private hospitals to ensure we confront the COVID-19 pandemic with all available resources.
The deal opens up an additional 34,000 hospital beds, with one third of Australia’s intensive care capacity coming from the private sector. It also ensures the retention of the private sector nursing, midwifery and other health workforces throughout the pandemic.
Under the deal, the health system will utilise the significant skills of nurses, midwives, doctors and others in the private sector, and guarantee physical resources, such as ICU beds, ventilators and PPE.
As of 31 March 2020, the Queensland government was seeking clarification on one element of the funding arrangements with the Federal government and if this is clarified it is anticipated that deals can be struck this week with Queensland private hospitals that will make approximately 6,000 additional private beds available.
In exchange, the government will guarantee the survival of private hospitals during the period in which elective surgeries are cancelled – in particular, the Federal Government has agreed to fund 50/50 of generated activity with the states and territories and underwrite the gap between revenue received and private hospitals’ fixed costs.
This is a welcomed development, and places Australia in a far better position of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.