What are the pros and cons of having treatment in the public vs private hospital system?

The choice between receiving treatment in the public and private hospital systems in Australia involves considering various factors. My practice operates solely through the private hospital system.

Below are some general pros and cons associated with each system:

Public Hospital System:


  • Accessibility and Affordability: Public hospitals are funded by the government and typically provide free or subsidised healthcare services to Australian residents. This makes healthcare more accessible and affordable for a broader population.
  • Comprehensive Services: Public hospitals often offer a wide range of medical services at a high standard, and many are equipped with specialised departments and advanced medical technology.
  • Training and Research: Public hospitals are often associated with medical schools and research institutions, providing opportunities for training the next generation of medical professionals and research.cartoon illustration of hospital bed
  • Public hospitals may offer a range of support services, including social work, counselling, and support groups, to assist patients and their families.


  • Wait Times: One significant drawback can be sometimes longer wait times due to the high demand for public healthcare services. However, the public system uses a system of triage to prioritise urgent cases. All cancer cases are categorised as most urgent.
  • Limited Privacy and Comfort: Public hospitals may have shared rooms and limited privacy.
  • Limited Choice of Specialists: Patients don’t have a choice regarding a specific specialist or healthcare provider, as it is often determined by hospital availability.
  • Seeing different health professionals: At each visit a different health professional may be rostered to see you.
  • Surgery may be postponed and rescheduled if the public hospital needs to treat even more urgent cases.

Private Hospital System:


  • Shorter Wait Times: Private practices and hospitals generally have shorter wait times and accommodate your booking requirements.
  • Choice of Specialists: Patients have flexibility in choosing their preferred specialists and healthcare providers. Patients often have the option to choose a specific private hospital, considering its location, reputation, and facilities.
  • Private Rooms and Comfort: The post-operative recovery environment in private hospitals often involves private rooms, enhanced amenities and personalised care.
  • Care coordinated by your specialist: You will be cared for by your specialist who will coordinate other medical specialists needed for your care.


  • Costs: Treatment in private hospitals is more expensive for patients, even with private health insurance coverage. Out-of-pocket expenses may apply.
  • Limited Access for Some: Not everyone can afford private health insurance, limiting access to private healthcare for some individuals.

Considerations for Gynaecological Cancer Treatment:

  • Health Insurance plans: Your type of private health insurance can significantly impact access to private healthcare options. I recommend you review your insurance plan and discuss with your insurer to understand coverage and potential costs.
  • Timing and urgency of Treatment: The urgency of gynaecological cancer treatment may influence the choice between public and private healthcare, as shorter wait times may be critical in certain situations.
  • Financial Considerations: Evaluate the financial implications of treatment in both systems, considering potential out-of-pocket costs and insurance coverage.
  • Personal Preferences: Individual preferences, such as the desire for privacy and choice of specialists, should be considered in the decision-making process.
  • Convenience and certainty: For some of my patients it’s important that they can plan ahead and having certainty of when and where they get treatment is important to them. This allows them to return to their work, family or caring commitments in a timely fashion.

These considerations are general in nature, and individual experiences may vary. Ultimately, the decision between public and private healthcare depends on individual preferences, financial considerations, and health needs. Many Australians opt for private health insurance to access both public and private healthcare options.

If you wish to discuss your treatment through the private hospital system, Enquire about an appointment

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