And this flies in the face of the failed Port Macquarie privately invested public hospital venture where, as the article spells out, the public purse had to buy it back and in effect, pay for it twice. (www.smh.com.au)
As Anna Patty points out in her article from various sources, when does a privately investment orientated hospital give open slather to the public hospital public housing mob and moreover, then it has to be given back to the public purse in 20 years.
It may well be deemed non-profit and the great fear of those who support public funded hospitals is that this is a money making bonanza to those who have been generous and kind of the right people who will be handsomely compensated down the track.
Then in another on-line news report from the Sydney Morning Herald this time written by Matt Wade, that according to the latest tax figures, reveals that just 3115 surgeons raked in taxable income of nearly $1.1 billion between them in 2010-11. There's the rub! Surgeons need hospitals and many Public Hospitals provide the where-with-all facilities for such medical operations. (www.smh.com.au)
The average taxable income for surgeons was $350,383, up a handy $17,589 on the previous year. Anaesthetists were second on the top-earners list but they had to settle for almost $50,000 a year less than their colleagues holding the knife.
Australia's 12.6 million individual taxpayers declared income of $662 billion in 2010-11 and paid $133.1 billion in tax. The average taxable income was $51,342. Matt Wade explained that the tax on incomes earned each financial year is not calculated and paid until the following year and it then takes the Tax Office another year to process the data.
There you are, hospitals and surgery is big business, and when a hospital is built with private money as a non-profit entity and then to be given back to the public purse in 20 years, it doesn't take much to follow there the money is.
Paul Keating's story
When Paul Keating was Prime Minister 1993-96 he made a deliberate statement that he choose for himself and his family not to have private health insurance. If something came up, he would pay for it himself in a private hospital so as not to take a bed in a public hospital from someone else in need. The Keating family proved hearty types and the Keating family budget was much enhanced.
As a faith funded missionary for 31 years our family could not afford private hospital cover, moreover for 14 years 1992-2006 we lived in Moruya where there was only one hospital, the public one. My wife and I both undertook surgery at the Moruya hospital to have gall bladders removed through key-hole surgery and all went well.
Our annual dental cover premium was $735 and more was paid in excess with our visits, a total of $1200. When we relocated to Tweed Heads with one family member still at home, we dropped out of the dental program and paid whatever each time. We came out $450 ahead.
In 2012 I found I required a mesh umbilical hernia repair, a common surgical procedure, and planned my Mission trips around a November surgery with 6 weeks recovery time of light duties. Come early November 2012 Tweed Heads Hospital sent me a letter, dates had blown out and my surgery as a public patient would be sometime early in the new year (2013).
Late January early February still no word, so I wrote to my local State Member who proudly speaks at our Tweed Heads Chamber of Commerce breakfasts of the Tweed Hospital's achievements under his State coppers funding watch. I spelt out my concerns of delay and now I had planned Mission trips in mid February, late March and the end of May and could the surgery be fitted in within those now specified dates.
Monday March 25 was set which was within their 12 month policy for public patients (3 April 2012 to 3 April 2013). The surgery as one might expect went to plan, I was sent home at 3.00pm that same day, but by tea time I was bleeding and back to the emergency section I went. I was patched up and sent me home. By Thursday I had an infection, an angry red all over my tummy area, this time I'm given a hospital bed and all night long fed intravenously the 'pick-me-up' anti-biotic.
I missed out on Good Friday services but was home for lunch on Good Friday and the next week my local GP had his nurse re-dress the wound every second day which slowly signs of improvement and then we went for respite to the Laguna Quays missionary cottage on the Whitsundays for 11 days of recuperation and giving the wound a good dose of morning sunshine (and a bit of sun burn).
Yes, it was annoying having those two initial set backs, the bleeding that first night and then the infection four days later, but I knew I was in good hands at the local Tweed Heads Hospital. My next door neighbour, a young emergency doctor at the hospital popped in every second day in those first two weeks to keep an eye on me. Missing out on Good Friday services as a Minister was a trial.
Mr State Government – be careful with our tax dollars and privately funded hospitals and where the money goes and who gets it and why. My story is a salutatory one. I had a State Member of Parliament who I knew pretty well who got the ball rolling for my non-life-threatening surgery in a public hospital. Not everyone is a member of their local Chamber of Commerce with such connections and thereby, a result.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html