Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

St John of God Health Care Berwick celebrates

Senator Kay Patterson, Minister for Family and Community Services, was on hand today to celebrate the merging of Berwick Hospital Inc with St John of God Health Care today in Berwick, Victoria.

Berwick Hospital has been in operation for 64 years and provides a range of services including Maternity, Medical, Surgical, Dialysis, Hyperbaric Medicine and Consulting Suites to approximately 8,000 patients a year.

Senator Patterson said: “St John of God Health Care have committed to significant resources to upgrade the existing facilities, ensuring the hospital continues as a leading health care provider for the community of Berwick. The redevelopment will include 30 extra beds, additional operating theatres and upgrades to the delivery suite and the day procedure area.

“Private hospitals now provide over half of all surgery, 6 out of 10 major joint replacements, half of all chemotherapy procedures and major procedures for malignant breast conditions, 6 out of 10 cardiac valve procedures, 7 out of 10 major eye lens procedures – the list goes on and on.

“I am proud of the role the Australian Government has played in the resurgence of private hospitals, but more importantly, I am proud and grateful for the way the private health industry has risen to the challenge of its increasingly important role in Australia’s world-class health system.”

The Federal Government spends around $32 billion on health every year. This includes the substantial amount spent on the 30% Rebate. Private Health Insurance has many benefits such as providing access to private in-hospital services. Private health insurance also provides cover for services that are not covered by Medicare such as physiotherapy, dental, optometry and podiatry services.

The Coalition is absolutely committed to retaining the 30% PHI rebate, which is important to the ongoing provision of private hospital services in Berwick. The Labor party time and time again has failed to commit to the 30% rebate.