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Insurance exodus has no impact on hospital: chief

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Liam BeattyGeraldton Guardian
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Scott Daczko from St John of God Geraldton Hospital.
Camera IconScott Daczko from St John of God Geraldton Hospital. Credit: Liam Beatty Geraldton Guardian

An exodus of people from private health insurance does not threaten the long-term viability of Geraldton’s private hospital, according to its chief executive.

St John of God Hospital Geraldton chief executive Scott Daczko, said it was clear to him Australians were dumping their cover but it was an issue for private health insurance companies, not the hospital.

“While private health insurance take-up has declined, the health care needs of West Australians, including those of the Mid West, continues to grow,” he said.

“Our strategy is to provide a point of difference in patient care.

“For example, you could come in for surgery this weekend and choose your surgeon.”

Mr Daczko was resolute in affirming that St John of God Hospital would continue to provide for the Geraldton population, pointing to a $2 million infrastructure upgrade.

“We’ve looked after this community for many years and will continue to for many more,” he said.

Concern was raised recently by Mid West General Practitioners Network deputy chairman Dr Ian Taylor, who said he was worried about the long-term viability of the private hospital and the private health insurance industry as a whole.

“(Lower private health insurance coverage) is concerning, it would place additional pressure on our overburdened public health system,” he said.

His statement came after the Medical Technology Association of Australia estimated millions of Australians had dropped their private health care in recent years.

Dr Taylor, who practises as an obstetrician, said in his practice he had observed a shift in the amount of women asking to be referred to Geraldton Hospital, a public institution.

This was confirmed by Mr Daczko, who said there had been a decline in births at the private hospital over the past decade and this was likely due to young women choosing not to have private health insurance.

Both men agreed the private health insurance market needed work to provide better value to Australians but it remained in the interest of all Australians to have a dual public/private system.

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