Busting myths about private health
Universal access to quality health care is available to all Australians. Dr Stephen White debunks some myths and offers advice on navigating our local health networks.
At Core Specialist rooms located in the John Flynn Private Hospital, Specialist Surgeon Dr White ( lower gut) and Dr Candice Silverman (upper GI) combine practices to offer a holistic approach to complex abdominal / digestive problems.
His career has spanned more than 30 years in professional practice; it’s very clear that Dr Stephen White knows what he’s talking about.
He has dedicated an outstanding level of healthcare to countless patients in the specialised areas of colorectal and anorectal care, general surgery, and laparoscopic surgery.
He’s a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgery and member of the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand. He’s also an independent consultant surgeon pioneering research and treatment techniques to raise the worldwide standard in colorectal care.
Importantly, Dr White is the driving force behind the Core Specialist Group based at the John Flynn Private Hospital. He has access to some of the world’s most state-of-the-art equipment and provides sophisticated levels of care across the Queensland and NSW healthcare systems.
“I do think it’s an important time for some community awareness,” he tells ORM in his rooms at John Flynn.
“I work in both the public and private systems, as a large group of surgeons do. On a day’s consulting, half the people on my list are public, half are private; it makes no difference to me. They are all patients who deserve the very best standard of care.”
Without doubt, social media has both positives and negatives. And one of the crucial negatives is the fearmongering that runs wild around healthcare.
“I want to reassure every Australian that the health system isn’t falling apart,” he says.
“You hear a lot of stories about crowdfunding, and there’s a lot in the press about access to healthcare. Fearmongering is not helpful. I want to dispel some of those myths.
“It’s important that people know every Australian has an equal right to healthcare. From Burleigh to Byron Bay, I can offer a public service.
“The Queensland and NSW healthcare systems are very different and they don’t overlap. If you’re looking at that geographical catchment area wondering why does this not apply to you — your answer is that Medicare says they treat all Australians.
“You cannot be rejected because of your postcode. It’s an important principle. Patients can get surgery for free and the priorities are based on needs.
“I’m in a really sacred position. I don’t discriminate at all. Surgery is priority-based, but please know that if you don’t have the funds, you’ll be looked after.”
It was recently reported that 85 per cent of surgical procedures are done without a gap.
“Yes, all the talk about gaps is talking about a very small percentage,” Dr White continues.
“Remember, there is no truth to the myth that you receive a better standard of surgery the higher the gap.
“Ultimately, surgeons can charge what they like. If you go to see a surgeon who says I charge x dollar amount, don’t think that’s your only choice. It’s not; as a patient requiring surgical attention, there is total choice.”
The government does have small thresholds and safety nets in place that limit your exposure to hospital visits over a 12-month timeframe, but these are cancelled out each calendar year.
Dr White works alongside Dr Candice Silverman, who is a Specialist Upper GI and Bariatric Surgeon. Both are Queensland’s leading specialist surgeons based at John Flynn Private Hospital.
“Dr Silverman is upper GI; I am lower GI, so we meet in the middle,” Dr White says.
“If you have any kind of digestive problem, come and see us. You can get healthcare for free through our rooms at John Flynn Private Hospital.”
If you have any further questions, please call Dr White’s reception or the Core Specialist Group at the John Flynn Private Hospital on 07 5598 0955.