Almost one in four Australians believes that a strong private hospitals sector is essential to the success of the country's health care system according to a new study – however many are still unsure about how private hospitals operate.
Commissioned by the Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA), the data indicated that 42 per cent of young Australians – aged between 18 and 24 – lacked the knowledge of what types of services were provided by hospitals catering to those with private health insurance.
"It is important to understand that the private health system treats 40 per cent of all patients in Australia, which is more than 3.7 million patients each year," APHA chief executive officer Michael Roff said yesterday (March 25).
"They are not only a crucial part of Australia’s overall health system, but also a part of their local communities."
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicates that 581 private hospitals were operating in Australia in 2009-10.
According to the Private Health Insurance Administration Council, almost 53 per cent of the population are now covered by hospital, general or combined treatment policies – the highest percentage in 35 years.