In this adeptly composed masterpiece, David Carter and Carla Saunders conduct an extensive research that is aimed at assessing the feasibility of reducing the time taken by health practitioners in delivering health care services. To achieve this, the authors suggest that the New South Wales (NSW) government should adopt a public-private partnership. Essentially, the study explores and review a wide range of grey literature and undertakes extensive exploratory analyses of the secondary data that was acquired from National Health Data repositories that contained information about in-patient access of health care facilities and the utilization of health services across public and private hospitals in NSW. Conferring to this article, the principal goal of Australian health system is to achieve an appropriate, affordable, high-quality, and positive healthcare experiences that fully account for individuals care and needs (Saunders & Carter, 2017). To attain these goals, the NSW Ministry of Health launched an initiative aimed at delivering "the right care, in the right place, and at the right time"; aspects that are enhanced through a collaboration of public with private healthcare providers (Saunders & Carter, 2017).
Timely provision of health services entails the provision of adequate supply and accessibility of the required services thus providing patient-centered care. Notably, the authors' accentuates that delayed access of health care is the main cause of longer stays in hospitals, the leading cause of poor general health among populations, and finally depict the delays as the main cause of reduced patient satisfaction. Remarkably, the author signposts that delays in the provision of quality healthcare may lead to unnecessary suffering by increasing the overhead costs of patients who may decide to self-manage their symptoms while waiting for the provision of formal health care.
It is evident that public hospitals are constantly faced with the pressure of delivering healthcare in a timely manner. These difficulties can be attributed to the fact that demands for services offered by NSW public health institutions exceed the supply; an aspect that hinders these health facilities from meeting the set performance targets. Moreover, health monitoring standards have been improved through the invention of methods that can signal quality of services and timeliness in delivery of health care. Essentially, it is vital to note that most public hospitals in NSW are underdeveloped and therefore they lack the required amenities to offer a timely delivery of the required health services (Saunders & Carter, 2017). To enhance timely delivery of healthcare, the relevant stakeholders should have a sound understanding of the healthcare environment and be able to recognize the opportunities and strategies that best fit the existing public health policies and the societal expectations.
In this article, the authors accentuate that if the current trends in public hospitals were to continue, the public health sector would record an additional 50 000 in-patient rehabilitation in one year (Saunders & Carter, 2017). Additionally, due to the increased demand for health services, there would be a compounded pressure in the provision of health services such as elective surgery. Such aspects will lead to increased re-admission rates, since hospitals will be under pressure to discharge patients to free up beds, further compromising hospital surge capacity. Notably, this article deduced that if at least 15% of public rehabilitation beds were contracted to private hospitals that have a reputation for treating certain conditions, more beds would be freed in public hospitals (Saunders & Carter, 2017). As a result, this strategy would allow NSW public elective surgery patients to be treated within the recommended time frame, ensure that the set targets are achieved, and finally, significantly reduce the need to invest enormously in public health infrastructure.
Regardless of the advantages mentioned above of public-private hospital partnerships, it is essential to note that the study was faced with various limitations. To start with, the key secondary data sources, that is, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Bureau of Statistics concede that their data is inadequate in some aspects. As a result, the data cannot be assumed to be 100% accurate. Secondly, the study assumes that there is 100% occupancy rate in private hospitals (Saunders & Carter, 2017). However, this may not be the case thus affecting the available bed day calculations. Finally, the sparse literature on Australian health care makes it overly difficult to comprehend the contemporary initiatives that influence public-private partnerships.
Saunders, C., & Carter, D. J. (2017). Right care, right place, and right time: improving the timeliness of health care in New South Wales through a publicprivate hospital partnership. Australian Health Review, 41(5), 511. Doi: 10.1071/ah16075
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