Private and public healthcare necessary for a functioning health system

26 March 2018

Media Release

Pregnant women making decisions about a maternity model of care that suits their needs and circumstances often find navigating the health system difficult, particularly when considering private or public healthcare.
Out-of-pocket expenses can be a major influencing factor as to the type of care a woman chooses to undertake. It is important that a woman can easily access accurate costing information about her birth, and is aware of the associated costs outside of obstetric care that can contribute to birthing expenses. RANZCOG recognises that for many women access to this information isn’t as straight forward as it should be.
Despite this, Australia continues to be one of the safest places to be pregnant and have a baby in the world and this can be attributed to the high quality care that is delivered through the obstetric workforce and maternity professionals in both the public and private sector.
While the private versus public debate can often polarise opinions, the fact remains that the best care is delivered when the private and public sector models are understood, and discussed within the context in which they are designed to work. Care delivered in a private hospital setting promotes continuity of care and allows women to opt for more personalised care, while also removing pressure from an already saturated public system. When the private system works, so does the public system and vice versa.
A recent media report suggesting that private obstetricians charge out-of-pocket costs close to $13,000 is neither substantiated nor helpful to women deciding on a model of care that suits them. RANZCOG President Professor Steve Robson has said “All women have different needs and clinical situations, and these individual circumstances impact what costs may arise.”
Private maternity care is associated with high levels of safety for mothers and their babies, and is responsive to the choices that women make. Almost 30% of women in Australia choose care with a specialist obstetrician in a private hospital setting. In provincial areas this care is delivered through general practitioner obstetricians.
“Specialist obstetricians in Australia are among the best in the world,” said RANZCOG President, Professor Steve Robson. “The private system offers a trusted primary carer who can manage any outcome - from a totally natural birth, to highly-complex and life-saving treatments that only can be provided by specialists and no other group.”
Professor Robson said, “Having a highly-trained specialist whom you know and trust, who can handle any problem, available at all times is a wonderful investment in the safety of your family.”



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