An alternative to surgical waiting lists

Private healthcare provider, Healthcare Care Australia, says the long-term effects of Covid-19 on elective surgery waitlists are only now beginning to be felt with ongoing delays further impacting surgical waitlists and putting more pressure in an already struggling healthcare sector.

“We know that for some surgeries, including hip and knee replacement surgery, waitlists were already two to three years in some areas. The latest Covid-19 outbreaks have further impacted these waitlists, with thousands of surgeries delayed and patients having to continue living with immobility and debilitating pain, not knowing when they will be able to have the surgery done,” says Lloyd Adams, Executive Manager for Healthcare Care Australia.

Prior to the recent outbreaks in New South Wales and Victoria, private hospitals were already shouldering some of this burden, supporting the public system to reduce their waiting lists, particularly with surgeries such as cataracts, colorectal surgery and orthopaedic surgery.

According to Mr Adams, despite remaining in a ‘holding pattern’ to allow capacity for further surges in Covid-19 cases, the private sector remains ready and willing to ‘pick up the slack’, while also continuing to support those patients who have retained their private health insurance.

However, he highlights that for those patients without private health insurance, choices are limited. Some opt to go privately, shopping around and paying the ‘self-insured’ rates charged by surgeons, while others have previously been forced to look overseas for surgery packages in places like Thailand or Bali.

Healthe Care is now providing a third alternative to lengthy public hospital waitlists for those without private health insurance, with Self Pay Surgery.

“The Self Pay Surgery program has been designed as a way for patients without private health insurance to access the surgery they need, with an accredited surgeon, close to home, in a quality private hospital. For some patients, this means they can now have their surgery privately rather than being part of a long public waitlist, while for others it means accessing surgery that isn’t available publicly.

We launched Self Pay Surgery back in 2020 and have now seen hundreds of patients across our Healthe Care hospitals. As we continue to add more surgeries and locations, Self Pay Surgery will ensure that patients have another option available, allowing them to get back on their feet sooner,” says Mr Adams.

As the name suggests, ‘Self Pay Surgery’ provides patients with an alternative to public hospitals for those without private health insurance, by ‘packaging’ up surgery products at a single affordable price. The Self Pay Surgery packages include the surgeon’s fees, anaesthetist, hospital stay, diagnostic testing and rehabilitation (where appropriate), taking away the leg work and confusion from wary patients.

The Self Pay Surgery packages currently on offer include same day procedures such as gastroscopy, colonoscopy, wisdom teeth and cataract surgery, through to more complex orthopaedic procedures including total knee and hip replacement surgery, shoulder arthroscopies and weight loss surgery.

With ‘buy now, pay later’ options including Open Pay, Zip, and Humm, prepayment plans or even the option to access Superannuation to fund essential surgery, the financial burden of private surgery has even been considered.

“Self Pay Surgery isn’t about jumping the queue or cutting corners, it’s about offering patients more options and the flexibility to have their surgery privately, with an experienced surgeon and surgical team.

With Healthe Care hospitals located throughout the NSW Mid North Coast, Hunter, Central Coast, Sydney and Illawarra regions, along with Victoria and Tasmania, Healthe Care is well positioned to provide this much needed alternative to the traditional public health and private health services, helping to ease the burden for both the healthcare sector and long suffering patients,” says Mr Adams.

 

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