Private hospital coronavirus agreement to expand bed numbers to tackle pandemic

“The Federal Government has struck a deal with the country’s 657 private hospitals, giving the Commonwealth access to another 34,000 hospital beds to tackle the coronavirus crisis.”

Key points:

  • A third of Australia’s intensive care capacity is in the private sector
  • Staff and equipment will be made available to treat people with coronavirus
  • Private hospitals faced an uncertain future, with restrictions on elective surgeries

The deal also opens up access to private hospital staffing and equipment, such as ventilators.

One third of Australia’s intensive care capacity is in the private sector.

In exchange, the Commonwealth will guarantee the survival of private hospitals during the period while elective surgery, which is their main form of income, is cancelled.

“It will bring over 105,000 full and part-time hospital staff, including 57,000 of our amazing nurses and midwives,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

“It guarantees them their future … but most importantly it brings their resources to the fight against coronavirus, COVID-19, in Australia.”

Mr Hunt also confirmed the rate of infection in recent days was 9 per cent, down from between 25 to 30 per cent a week ago.

That drop came after the National Cabinet forced the closure of pubs, clubs, sporting and entertainment facilities and imposed restrictions on most gatherings.

“This progress is early, it’s significant, but now, with these additional rules around gatherings and movement, we are going the next step to help reduce again the level of infection, and to support our containment,” he said.

“All of that is then backed by our attempts and our plans and the reality of improving capacity.


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