PRIVATE hospital patients in Orange could soon find their insurance bills going up as a result of a State Government plan to charge private institutions for blood products.
It could also see vital blood donations dry up, Dudley Private Hospital says.
With the Australia Private Hospitals’ Association, Dudley is launching a campaign against the proposal, which the government hopes will save $8 million per year.
Dudley Private Hospital CEO Steven Rajcany says it is highly likely the cost will find its way back to patients.
“Everybody gives their blood freely so the expectation is if you ever need to undergo a procedure it should be equitable for everyone to access blood,” he said.
“All Australians have already paid for blood through the tax system.”
Mr Rajcany said there were already reports of concerned donors.
“Across Australia 21,000 donations have to made every week ... in NSW we use about one third ... if you take out even a small proportion it could have an effect,” he said.
It is unknown exactly how much the scheme would cost Dudley Hospital and its parent company, the Ramsay Group, Mr Rajcany said.
“We’ve never modelled what it may cost because we’ve never had to factor it in before ... all Ramsay Group hospitals are currently doing that modelling.”
The Red Cross has acknowledged charging hospitals for blood could affect donations and could also see costs passed on to patients.
Frequent donor Lis Edwards said she would continue to donate but understood there was a cost involved in collecting and distributing blood products.
“Although blood is given freely there is obviously a cost involved which needs to be considered,” she said.
Health Minister John Della Bosca said the plan would bring the private system into line with public hospitals which were already subsidising blood products.
“The collection, processing and distribution of blood and blood products costs money - there’s no reason private hospitals should get it for free when the public system has to pay for it,” he said.
“NSW taxpayers have to fork out about $8 million a year to cover the administration costs for these services in private hospitals.”
He said the Human Tissue Act prevented the cost of blood products being passed on to patients.
Patients at Dudley Private Hospital can expect to see campaign posters going up in coming weeks as the hospital attempts to bring its message directly to patients.