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Do Private Patients have Shorter Waiting Times for Elective Surgery? Evidence from New South Wales Public Hospitals

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  • Meliyanni Johar
  • Elizabeth Savage

Abstract

The Productivity Commission (2008) identified waiting times for elective surgery as a measure of governments' success in providing accessible health care. At the 2007 COAG meeting, the Prime Minister identified reduction of elective surgery waiting times in public hospitals as a major policy priority. To date, the analysis of waiting time data has been limited to summary statistics by medical procedure, doctor specialty and state. In this paper, we look behind the summary statistics and analyse the extent to which private patients are prioritised over comparable public patients in public hospitals. Our empirical evidence is based on waiting list and admission data from public hospitals in NSW for 2004-2005. We find that private patients have substantially shorter waiting times, and tend to be admitted ahead of their listing rank, especially for procedures that have low urgency levels. We also explore the benefits and costs of this preferential treatment on waiting times. Copyright (c) 2010 The Economic Society of Australia.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The Economic Society of Australia in its journal Economic Papers: A journal of applied economics and policy.

Volume (Year): 29 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 128-142

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Handle: RePEc:bla:econpa:v:29:y:2010:i:2:p:128-142

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Cited by:
  1. Michael Keane & Meliyanni Johar & Glenn Jones & Elizabeth Savage & Olena Stavrunova, 2012. "Discrimination in a universal health system: Explaining socioeconomic waiting time gaps," Economics Series Working Papers 2012-W11, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Meliyanni Johar & Glenn Jones & Michael Keane & Elizabeth Savage & Olena Stavrunova, 2011. "Geographic Differences in Hospital Waiting Times," Working Paper Series, Finance Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney 166, Finance Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney.
  3. Mark Stabile & Sarah Thomson, 2014. "The Changing Role of Government in Financing Health Care: An International Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(2), pages 480-518, June.
  4. Shmueli, Amir & Savage, Elizabeth, 2014. "Private and public patients in public hospitals in Australia," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 189-195.

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