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Public surgical centres should not be run privately

CTU Media Release

18 December 2012

Public surgical centres should not be run by private contractors

CTU welcomes the new dedicated elective (non-acute) surgical centre announced today by Waitemata DHB, but is concerned that it is being run by private surgical contractors, being paid out of the public purse.

Bill Rosenberg, CTU Economist says “the North Shore Elective Surgical Centre announced today will be good for patients - more patients get more operations more quickly. But reports that private contractors could be paid over $7,000 per half-day for the easiest surgery done in public hospitals is a wasteful use of our limited health budget. This is a form of the Public-Private Partnerships which in the U.K. and elsewhere have led to massive waste of public funds and which the U.K. government now deeply regrets.”

“In addition, devaluing the work of other hospital specialists who work in other, often more complex parts of our public health by paying private contractors such extraordinary rates for relatively simple surgery will create conflict and divisions within the public hospital workforce at the expense of co-operation and teamwork.

“Running this new surgical centre effectively as a private practice effectively means the private surgeons will have their private practice subsidised by the taxpayer, while only undertaking the easier work.”

Rosenberg says “we support assertions from the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists that this kind of structure risks the new public hospital elective surgical centre ending up being controlled by a private monopoly, and should not be the model of funding for our hospitals.”


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