Minister intervenes on private hospital capacity

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Health minister Greg Hunt has intervened to ensure the viability of private hospitals after the shutdown of elective surgery.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said the state had reached an in-principle agreement with the private hospital sector on retaining staff and capacity in preparation for the COVID-19 related spike in demand.

However, negotiations with other states and territories have gone less well. Minister Hunt has intervened with a federal guarantee in return for the private hospitals retaining their full capacity during the pandemic. Private hospitals must also retain their full workforce in exchange for the guarantee.

The Australian Private Hospitals Association, Catholic Health Australia, and Day Hospitals Australia called for intervention following the ban on elective surgery.

In a joint statement, they said, "The sector is calling on the states and territories to honour the concerns acknowledged by Health Minister Greg Hunt in his proposed National Coronavirus Partnership on Wednesday.

"This Partnership, which will guarantee the viability of the private sector and in return, require a capacity guarantee, will enable the private hospital sector to maintain its full capacity and shift its service offerings towards the treatment of the coronavirus."