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Expectant mothers 'receive better care in private health system'

23 June 2011 - 4:26pm

Mothers and babies are likely to receive better outcomes in the private health care system, as expectant mums have better access to senior obstetricians earlier in their pregnancy than they would in the public sector, according to a leading expert.

Speaking to the Canberra Times, Dr Andrew Foote, president of the National Association of Specialist Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, commented on the different types of care available to expectant mothers in Australia.

While Dr Foote stressed the public system is safe, "the private system is safer".

However, he highlighted that out-of-pocket costs have seen some expectant mothers abandon the private hospital system since Medicare changes were implemented last year.

Dr Foote explained that people who have private health insurance should not be afraid to use it - and more should be done to make private care appealing for expectant parents.

The average out-of-pocket cost for a private birth is an estimated $2,000, he said, but if Medicare rebates were lifted to help cover this, oversubscription in the public system would be eased.

"That would be sustainable and it would take the pressure off the public system," he said.

It is thought the current out-of-pocket costs are a result of increases in medical indemnity insurance costs.