Queensland’s Health Minister is considering taking up a Danish health model in which public patients are treated in private hospitals to meet deadlines.
Queensland Health will turn to private hospitals to meet surgery waiting targets.
The state is considering using a Danish model in which private hospitals perform procedures when the public hospital can’t meet time limits.
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg says under the proposal, patients needing the most serious surgery would be guaranteed the procedure within a set number of days.
“If patients have to wait longer than the critically recommended time for their surgery, they will be able to be treated in a private or not-for-profit hospital,” Mr Springborg told ABC radio.
“They will be in charge of their health care and the hospital provider, which should have been doing the treatment, would be responsible for the cost of that surgery.”
The plan, which would take a couple of years to adopt, could mean all category-one patients, including heart-attack victims requiring stents or coronary artery bypass surgery, receive their operations within the nationally recognised 30-day time limit.
Conditions that are less severe but cause significant pain would be seen within 90 days, while reconstructive surgery to tattoo and piercing removals, would be seen within 12 months.
A similar scheme, Surgery Connect, already operates in the state but is mostly used to reduce a backlog of patients.
Public Service Union secretary Alex Scott says the government wants to talk more about grand announcements rather than substance.
“We think it is more about spin than substance,” he told AAP.
“We think this program presents a significant risk for further deterioration in the capacity of Queensland Health if the government can opt out and make it someone else’s responsibility, particularly in rural and regional Queensland where there isn’t private sector facilities available to undertake these sort of procedures.”