Public or Private Surgery

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One of the major decisions that you will need to consider when

contemplating ankle surgery is whether to go through the public hospital system or go private hospital and have to pay for your surgery. In an endeavour to help with your decision making, the following is my father’s experience when trying to make this decision himself.
It should be stated that this is our personal experience trying to navigate through the hospital system in Melbourne Victoria. We were fortunate to have a large amount of options when it came to hospitals and Surgeons but having a large amount of information doesn’t always prove helpful when so many opinions vary.

Public Hospital

After much consultation with my father’s GP he was referred to a Specialist at one of the large public hospitals in Melbourne. The process of getting this consultation was extremely painful As we had a long waiting time before we could get in to see the Specialist. When we were finally able to see the Doctor his main diagnosis was that the best course of option was pain management, this consisted of maximum daily doses of osteo paracetamol and restricted movement. As far as a surgical option if we wanted to go ahead with surgery there would be a long waiting period before we could get in to see a Surgeon.
The public hospital has the definite advantage of being a no cost system, the downside is being a non life threatening condition you will end up on a very long waiting list.

Private Hospital

Private Hospital means first and foremost private health insurance, before making any appointments double check with your private health cover insurer that your surgery will be covered under your policy and that all waiting periods have expired.
With my father not happy with the public hospital experience he started looking for Orthopaedic Surgeons specialising in ankle surgery, a surgeon was found and after a phone callan appointment was made. The initial consultation lasted 20 min and cost $280 during which my father was told that he could benefit from surgery, with this being his best option for long term pain management.
Private hospital has definite advantages as well. You get a specialist who does your required surgery on a weekly basis,. You get a private room with a better patient to nurse ratio and all this hopefully gets your better care and less complications. The down side is you have an out of pocket expense. This expense will depend on your health cover insurer but as a rough guide my father’s ankle fusion surgery bill was around $12000 to $15000 dollars, after his insurance cover his out of pocket expense was about $3000.


As you can see from my father’s experience for him the private hospital option was the better choice over the public hospital. He has been able to talk with a specialist who has a wealth of experience and knowledge in the exact procedure that he needed. He had a very short wait until he was able to get into hospital for the surgery, about 6 weeks from first consultation and although there have been upfront costs he has been pretty happy with the rebates from his health insurer.
I hope what you have read above helps you in coming to a decision for your own surgery.
If you would like to read more about public hospital, private hospitals in Australia you can do so here.

Last edited by Brendon on

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