Public problems: Private solutions? Short-term contracting of inpatient hospital care

Public patients are routinely being treated in Australian private hospitals. Some jurisdictions have large-scale, planned programs where private or not-for-profit hospitals are contracted by the public sector to treat public inpatients (for example, Queensland’s Surgery Connect program). Often, however, ‘contracting’ is done on an ad hoc or short-term basis where private hospitals are asked, at relatively short notice, to treat public patients in order to relieve pressure on public hospitals.