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Would You Go Public or Private?

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Would You Go Public or Private?

This is a topic Sam and I thought about way back before we even entertained the thought of trying to start a family.

Whether to go public or private when choosing a hospital to deliver our baby.

As someone who has worked in the public health system, I hold it in quite high regard.

If you had asked me a couple of years ago, I probably would have said just go public.

BUT, when I first found out I was pregnant, I really hadn’t made my mind up about what I wanted to do.

So, I did what most people do… and turned to google for an answer.

My googling revealed that some people reported having had an awesome experience with the private system, being able to stay with their partner in a private room for the first 5 days along with their newborn, with all their meals etc sorted for them (plus the option to get a full night’s sleep if they so desired).

Unfortunately, others said that it was unbelievably expensive for them to check in as a private patient, they got hit with extra surprise costs and didn’t even get a private room, swearing they would go public to save on costs next time around!

There were some horror stories about public hospitals too, where ladies spoke about spending days in labour and being refused pain relief (like an epidural) due to miscommunications between staff… scary stuff!

Then on the flip side, other new mums and dads said they found the public system a breeze, no hassles, got a private room and the Doctor of their choice, access to classes and support without paying a cent!

Nothing really helped me make up my mind. There seemed to be positives and negatives on both sides.

Since I had to go see my GP for blood tests and all those other fun discussions and referrals you get when you find out you’re pregnant, I decided to ask her opinion on the public / private debate while I was there.

She really said it was up to me, but recommended I go private at least for the first and then see how I felt for any remaining children after that.

I thought that sounded like pretty good advice.

Looking back now, I’m glad we did go private.

Although it has been a bit costly…

(I know people talk about how expensive it is to have kids… but you know what else is expensive!? NOT having kids, apparently!)

I’m glad we’ve had access to an OB who is also a fertility specialist, as it has meant we have only dealt with 1 Doctor (other than my GP) through both pregnancies, miscarriages, and the whole process of finding out what caused them.

I like that we have been able to build that relationship and I know I can trust my OB to do everything he can to help us. Plus, I know he will always call or text immediately when it comes to passing on information about test results, or anything else that we would consider urgent from our point of view.

I suspect we probably wouldn’t have access to that level of service if we opted to go public (although, when you go private, you usually have to book your OB the second you find out you’re pregnant, before you even get the referral, to make sure you get the one you want!).

But in saying that, I know our situation is a fairly unique one, and I agree that the private system isn’t for everyone.

I think the public and private health systems have both positive aspects and unfortunately a few negative ones.

So, we’re keen to know… whether you’ve; already got kids, are planning to have a baby, already pregnant, or you’re onto your second, third, fourth, fifth… or so child, would you opt to have your baby as a public or a private patient?

Have you gone both public and private? Which did you think was better?

Look forward to hearing your thoughts!
 


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7 Replies to “Would You Go Public or Private?”

  1. We are going public and have a good experience so far. Main reason we didn’t go private is the cost and the fact that not having the same doctor didn’t worry me. That said I have a great GP (my care is a gp shared care model) and we are lucky to live 5 mins from a smaller public hospital that has a good maternity ward. Many of the staff also work at the specialist maternity hospital in the city so are probably more than experienced and equipped to deal with issues that I will have/need. The only negative thing I have heard is that they can send mums home after 24 hrs (which is a bit daunting) but at this point that doesn’t bother me and one friend who went to the same hospital actually stayed an extra night due to complications feeding so I’m confident that whatever should happen will happen. You do get support buy midwives and nurses once home if you are discharged that early.

    1. The 24 hour thing does sound a bit scary Katrina! I would hope that if you felt the need to stay longer that they would listen. On the flip side I had heard a while back in private that you HAD to stay 5 days whether you wanted to or not. I thought that sounded a bit silly, but when I asked at the hospital they said you don’t have to stay the 5 days, more that it’s just there as an option if you want it.

      1. My understanding is that you have to be “elligible” to be discharged at that point and there are critieria that are associated to that. I suppose I will see in a month or so ?

  2. We aren’t going to try to have kids until next year, but I’m definitely worried about it as we live in a rural town and hospitals and care are not as accessible as they were when we lived in a city!

  3. When I first found out I was pregnant I did the same thing and googled reccomenedations for going public or private with people having good and bad experiences in both situations. We decided on private in the end because we had health cover and wanted that piece of mind being our first pregancy, plus having my husband being able to stay with me at the hospital was a big plus.
    Having just had our baby boy a few weeks ago I am glad we opted for private, even though it can be a lot more expensive vs public. During our appointments around 28 weeks, our OB found that our bub was smaller than average so had us in for more frequent appointments. By 34 weeks he had scheduled a growth scan which showed low placental function (likely causing bubs restricted growth). Our OB wasn’t in the office that day but once the sonographer had contacted him after the scan he was in to see me in within 15 minutes to discuss a game plan for the last part of the pregancy, which included daily CTG’s at the hospital, weekly ultrasounds and OB appointments, with the understanding that if any results changed slightly we would be delivering that day or the next. At 36 weeks the ultrasound showed things had deteriorated, our OB met us at the ultrasound clinic, walked us to the ward to have me admitted and prepped for surgery, and in less than 2 hours Oliver was born.
    With the complications we experienced during the pregancy it was nice to have the piece of mind with the same OB and know that we were being monitored very closely to ensure the best for our baby.
    The after care at the hospital was excellent, we had a private room so my husband could stay as well and since Oliver was so little we were able to stay longer and didn’t feel as though we were rushed home before we were ready.
    I’m sure the care provided in the public system is also good, but in our case I’m glad we went private and will be sticking with our OB when we decide to try for the next bub.

    1. Hey Kiera, glad to hear you were able to stick with the same OB throughout, especially given the complications you experienced. I guess it’s one of those things that you may not really know if there is going to be complications until later on in the pregnancy, so it’s nice to have that piece of mind. I hope you and bub are home and well now? xx

  4. Interesting… I never really thought about it much, though I think that’s because I always assumed the private sector would be WAY too expensive in the states. I can’t even imagine what that would cost here, but have also heard of some pretty scary scenarios in public hospitals. If private is something you can afford, I don’t see why not (I mean, all meals cared for and a private delivery room sounds pretty dreamy to me!).

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