Public Hospital Reality or Regulations Melbourne (Current Hospital Wants Us to Go to Hospital Closer to Home)

Public hospital plays a vital role in each individual life these days but how true is this? Made me think when you see the first hand experience on yourself.

Long story short My partner is expecting in early April, but due to pregnancy complications she’s been hospitalised from last 6 weeks. Hospital is making fuss that we need to move to the closer hospital near to your residence which doesn’t make any sense at this stage, as they are managing already. Why need to take that sort of decision at this stage, where everyday or should I say every hour matters!

My reason for this forum is to find out what are the possible ways of us to retain at the same hospital without getting transferred as an inpatient to other hospital.

Secondly what are your first hand experiences where you’ve gone above and beyond for your loved one!


  • Short of there being a compelling medical reason for the change not to take place then I think you have no choice.

  • You might want to clarify it with the ward manager. Not sure how things are in Victoria but it is normal in NSW to have patients moved to the nearest tertiary hospital closer to the patient's home if they are not acutely unwell and can be managed at a smaller facility . They probably need the bed. The other option would be to get transferred to a private hospital if you do have a private health cover

  • There are certain rules about how they get funded based on the residential address of the patient.
    i.e) they can't get paid much if they (unnecessarily) take patients from out of the boundary set for them.
    All public hospitals are extremely low budgeted, I've seen things like replacing staff milk to cheaper brand.
    Combined, it's in hospital management's best interest to transfer you so no, I don't think there's anything you can do.

    edit: If you REALLY like to stay and have private cover, you can use that in the public hospital.
    Doctors will love you as they get paid more.

    • Using a public hospital means Medicare will cover 100% of the MBS fee.
      By law private health insurance cannot cover over the MBS fee.

      I.E. Doctors will not get paid more.

      • Doctor and other fees for private patients
        As a private patient in a public or private hospital, you might have to pay for doctors and other health providers such as:

        assistant surgeons
        other specialists
        medical imaging, pathology or other diagnostic test services
        Medicare pays 75% of the MBS fee for any service on the MBS that you receive as a private patient in a public or private hospital.

        If you have private hospital insurance cover for the medical service, your insurer must pay at least the remaining 25% of the MBS fee.

        Doctors and other health providers often charge more than the MBS fee for medical services you receive as a private patient in a hospital. This is called the gap. You may have to pay the gap out of your own pocket unless the doctor has a gap arrangement with your insurer and charges you under that arrangement. Many doctors and insurers use gap arrangements to remove or reduce your gap payment.

        there you go.

        dr;tl: only for specialists.

        • You didn't read it did you?
          What you copy and pasted says
          In hospital Medicare pays 100% of MBS.


          If you are a private patient then Medicare pays 75% and your health insurance pays 25% of MBS

          In both cases the doctor gets paid the same 100% of MBS.

          Doctors can charge higher than the MBS for private patients, but, by law, your health insurance cannot cover over MBS fee. You will pay for that out of pocket.

          • @deme: "unless the doctor has a gap arrangement with your insurer and charges you under that arrangement"

            If you are interested in PHI, you've seen ads like gap free doctor etc. That means insurer pays more than MBS by agreeing with docs that they don't charge more than that to the patients hence no OOP. Tho have seen some docs charge on top of it by invoicing them separately. (Usually marked as some nonsense item code stating its not an MBS item) anyway im done here.DNFTT

            • @pilmarion: The gap is the 25% there is no gap if you are a public patient.
              Private health insurance only covers where a MBS item applies, ie. that's why they don't cover cosmetic surgery (unless medically necessary, which there is MBS item for)

              Instead of getting mad why not provide sources for your baseless claims?

              Especially the one where the doctor magically charges "non-mbs items".

              • @deme:

                Instead of getting mad why not provide sources for your baseless claims?

                these are the sources. It's been written in the news several times.

                Why do public hospitals ask you to use your private health insurance?
                Public hospitals encourage patients to use their private health insurance as it gives the hospital money from private health insurers, on top of the subsidy they get from the government through Medicare.
                However, private health insurers argue that the practice is contributing to the rising premiums for private health cover.

                Why do public hospitals ask the question?
                Public hospitals are treating a growing number of patients every year, with increasingly complex needs and health conditions. In this environment, hospitals are expected to do more with less.
                People who use their private health insurance benefit the public hospital because some of the funding needed for care comes from private health insurers, rather than hospitals relying solely on the allocation provided by the government via Medicare.
                Hospitals say funding received from privately insured patients goes towards infrastructure, research, specialised equipment and other service improvements.

                I have personal experience as well regarding this.
                A couple of years my son had a broken arm and had to go to surgery.
                We were in public hospital and they asked if we had private insurance and if we want to use our private insurance.
                They have assurance that there will be no out of pocket expense and there's no difference to the treatment.
                When I agreed to use it, they thanked me because the money will help the hospital budget.

                • @Bargain80: The cons
                  You're less likely to be able to choose your medical specialist than you would in a private hospital.
                  You're not guaranteed your own room.
                  You could be left with out-of-pocket costs for your surgery, anaesthesia or other treatments.
                  You may be charged the excess on your health insurance which could be up to $750.
                  Your treatment and hospital stay may not be any different than if you were admitted as a public patient

                  • @deme: I'm not talking about that.
                    It's about initial @pilmarion comment that's it's the hospital best interest to transfer but you said that it doesn't matter because the doctors get the same payment.
                    Then you asked for the source.

                    Hence, those are the proves that the hospital receives more money from private patients (not necessarily the doctors).

  • +7 votes

    If you want choice you need to go private.
    If you want free you have to be flexible.

  • It's a Public Hospital, you get the care you need, not the care you want.
    If you want different, you need to cough up for a Private Bed… Even then there will be limitations unless you're really putting out the big dollars and are therefore more profitable than another patient!

  • Hospital is making fuss that we need to move to the closer hospital near to your residence which doesn’t make any sense at this stage, as they are managing already.

    Can the care be offered at this hospital closer to your residence? I assume you don't enjoy the extra travel time do you?

  • Probably best to clarify with who's in charge. Probably best to have a preemptive chat with other hospital first to see if they can take you on. If they indicate that they are also short on space, probably you can use that push back.

    I've got a mate who recently had a second child in a public hospital. They decided to discharge his wife and the baby 4hrs after birth, dead in the middle of the night, because they were running low on birthing suites on that particular night. So situations can be a bit rough in the public floor.

  • "Don't worry honey, I'll sort it. I'll post on Ozbargain" :)

    Good luck with the birth - hope it's all clear sailing from here on :)

    • Well when it comes to family I’ll like to try every options as family comes first, and here ozbargain is the extended family where few are still in the world who genuinely want to help… so that’s the reason I’ve posted and ask for suggestions, because you never know what you can come across with which could be helpful…

  • what are the possible ways of us to retain at the same hospital without getting transferred as an inpatient to other hospital.

    Rent / buy a house near the hospital you want and move there. You are welcome.

    • Yes thought about that option thanks…

      • Have you asked about the inpatient occupancy rate in the hospital?

        Public hospital has catchment area, much like public schools. They need to handle incidents happened within their catchment areas. If they have high inpatient occupancy rate at the moment, and the covid uncertainty, they might want to free up as many beds as possible to handle all the scenarios.

  • Ask to speak to the treating team and explain your preference to stay ( eg the distress of having to change hospitals, you are receiving such good care currently etc etc). They may allow it on compassionate grounds and I know of examples of where this has happened.
    You could always escalate to management/hospital director etc if you feel very strongly about it and there are no medical reasons why a transfer is needed.
    Good luck with it all!

  • This is standard for maternity hospitals throughout the country.
    Public patients are always referred to the maternity hospital closest to where they live. You don’t get to choose which hospital to be treated at.
    It’s got to do with demand in different regions and the resources allocated to meet that.

    Basically right now you are using a maternity bed and resources intended for someone else.
    If you don’t want to go to your local maternity hospital try and find out if the big metropolitan maternity unit in Melbourne will take you.

    I know in Sydney, Royal Hospital for Women will take women from all over the state regardless of their place of residence and it’s the only NSW maternity hospital that does that.
    Maybe one in Melbourne does the same.

    • Royal Melbourne is not easy to get on, and honestly I don’t know how there protocols works whether they accept everyone or not…