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Surgeons say private patients have been frozen out in government deal

Neil Mitchell
Article image for Surgeons say private patients have been frozen out in government deal

It’s claimed thousands of private hospital patients can’t get a bed due to a deal between the Andrews Government and hospital operators to clear a backlog of public patients wanting surgery.

Two surgeons told Neil Mitchell private patients had virtually been frozen out of the system.

It’s claimed privately insured patients are being denied operations such as knee or hip replacement, while people without private cover are being admitted for the same reasons.

Health Minister Martin Foley said on Wednesday all decisions were being made on clinical advice, not whether a patient was public or private.

“That’s not correct,” Dr Sue Morris, a senior vascular surgeon, told Neil Mitchell.

“What has happened is that all surgeons in Melbourne have been given, by all the major hospital groups, an email saying that under no circumstance can a privately insured patient, with a category 3 or 2b condition, be admitted to a private hospital.”

She said there was a “moral obligation” to tell the truth.

“I think if people knew they’d be disgusted,” she said.

“And they should be complaining to their private health insurer, asking why they’re paying for this insurance when they can’t use it.”

Press PLAY below to hear Dr Sue Morris explain what’s going on

Her claims were quickly backed up by another surgeon, who rang in.

“I think it’s disgraceful,” he said.

Press PLAY below to hear his version of events

Picture: Getty iStock

Neil Mitchell
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