Public versus private delivery

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CHOOSING a private hospital over public is, on average, four times more expensive but you're likely to be rewarded with a longer stay, better food and a room to yourself.

... the average out-of-pocket cost for delivering in a public hospital is $747, compared with $3087 in the private system.

A few women who delivered as public patients in public hospitals ... did not pay a cent and many paid less than $300.

The average stay in a private hospital is 1.6 nights longer for vaginal births and 1.1 nights longer for caesareans.

... public hospital mothers are much more likely to complain that they were discharged from hospital too early - 28 per cent for public, compared with 12 per cent for private.

... concerns over understaffing are almost as common in private hospitals as in the public sector.

... private hospitals scored an average satisfaction rating of 91 per cent ... compared with 87 per cent for public hospitals.

... private hospital patients were much less likely to have to share a room with another mum, and more likely to be able to have their partner stay.

While many women choose to go to a private hospital to have the baby delivered by an obstetrician rather than a midwife, one in 11 found their obstetrician did not end up delivering the baby ...

Food was a stand-out difference, with 42 per cent of private hospital mothers rating the food as excellent, compared with 12 per cent of public hospital mothers.

I'm disappointed that this article emphasises the "frills" of private hospital care, rather than the clinical care issues and intervention rates. It does not surprise me that understaffing is perceived to be the same in pubic and private hospitals, as private hospitals are run like businesses, with staffing being the main business expense.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448