Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson
The Greens welcome the federal government’s plan to underwrite the integration of private hospitals into the public system for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.
We understand the proposed partnership agreement will integrate its staff and facilities as the pandemic worsens to prevent the public hospitals becoming overwhelmed, and is not designed to generate profit or to assist with loan or debt repayments for the private health sector.
Around Australia, health services and hospitals are desperately trying to plan for the massive impact of coronavirus. Many states are creating makeshift hospitals in non-medical facilities.
It makes complete sense for private hospitals to be integrated into the public system, as has occurred in Ireland and Spain. This will expand the capacity of our state health system, and make it more flexible, more efficient and more fair.
Tasmania is currently in the fortunate position of having relatively few coronavirus cases, so this announcement should give government the opportunity to get on the front foot. We expect they will now be able to establish a comprehensive plan for a staged response with a unified health system.
Our entire health system - public and private - needs to be prepared for the prospect of community transmission.
Tasmania is already doing many things to limit the spread of coronavirus, and making plans to dramatically expand the capacity of our health system to manage seriously unwell people should now be a priority.