Australia: New short-stay surgical facility

Aerial view of Melbourne, Australia

Insurers and hospitals are trying to fill the healthcare gaps where Australians can no longer go overseas for affordable healthcare. Major Australian private health insurer Medibank has formed a joint venture with 42 specialist doctors to develop a new short-stay surgical facility in Melbourne.

The joint venture will give patients more choice in how their care is delivered – with a short-stay model across many surgical modalities, including extending the no-gap treatment model for eligible Medibank customers.

The joint venture will work with real estate investment group Centuria Healthcare, which will acquire the land and develop a new facility on a site in Kew, Melbourne. The joint venture will take a long-term, 15-year lease of the new hospital. The plan is to open the new facility in 2023.

The facility will offer four operating theatres and a procedure room, 30 beds, radiology, an infusion (chemo) clinic and 90 basement car parking spaces. The facility proposes to provide services in orthopaedics, ENT, vascular, cosmetic surgery, urology, general surgery, gastroenterology, anaesthetics, oncology, and radiology.

Medibank’s investments reflect transformation into a broader healthcare company. It is partnering with hospitals and doctors across Australia to deliver more patient-centred healthcare, reducing out-of-pocket costs for customers.

Australia’s border will stay shut until at least 2022.The federal budget assumes the Australian international border will open in 2022, but the government accepts that its strategy to eliminate COVID-19 and ban free travel will not be jeopardised. There is no desire to open international borders soon. International borders will only open when it is safe to do so.

The original plan was to open before 2022 by the use of travel bubbles, but an increase in reported cases puts this in jeopardy.

Travel bubbles, also known as travel corridors and corona corridors, are an exclusive partnership between two or more countries that have demonstrated considerable success in containing and combating the COVID-19 pandemic within their respective borders. These countries then go on to re-establish connections between them by opening up borders and allowing people to travel freely within the zone without having the need to undergo on-arrival quarantine.

The Australia – New Zealand travel bubble has unfortunately burst. Due to escalating numbers of COVID cases across Australia, quarantine-free travel between the two countries has been halted again.