Patients who belong to private health funds are getting preference for elective surgery in public hospitals ahead of public patients, according to new data.
The average wait time for health fund members for elective surgery in a public hospital is 22 days compared with 44 days for public patients, according to data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
This is a breach of Medicare rules, News Corp Australia reports.
The AIHW says in public hospitals "the time within which 50 per cent of public patients were admitted for their awaited procedure was longer for all of the 25 most common intended procedures compared with private health insurance funded patients".
For some procedures, the wait is even longer. For instance, private health fund patients had hip and knee replacement operations in public hospitals within 29 days while publc patients had to wait an average of 88 days.