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Private hospitals deemed 'safer'

6 September 2011 - 6:23pm

The Productivity Commission's analysis of the public and private hospital systems has drawn some comforting conclusions for those covered by health insurance.

Commissioned by the federal government, the study looks into a number of areas, including costs, range of services and overall safety.

In analysis provided by the Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA), when it comes to safety, the data showed that private hospital have an edge over public options.

According to the APHA's report: "Where the available data allowed analyses and comparisons between sectors, private hospitals consistently outperformed public hospitals."

Analysis focused on a total of 47 indicators of healthcare-associated infections.

In four of these, infection rates were "found to be significantly lower in private hospitals than public hospitals".

These included infections stemming from hip prosthesis procedures, abdominal hysterectomies and those acquired in non-sterile intensive care unit environments.

Public hospitals failed to record lower rates than private facilities in any of the indicators.

An analysis of mortality rates also showed differences between the two sectors.

APHA states: "The results show that private hospitals risk adjusted mortality rates are less than half of those in public hospitals."