5. 1   Trends in relation to the number of public and private hospital separations remain unchanged since the introduction of the Surcharge.

    5. 2   The rate of growth in privately treated patients’ episodes was higher than for public activity. This is the reverse of what would be expected were the Surcharge to have resulted in increased demand on the public hospital system.

    5. 3   There was no indication in the mix of activity within public hospitals suggesting a shift in the types of cases treated following changes to the Surcharge.

    5. 4   In that there is no discernible impact of changes to the Surcharge on public hospital activity, it can be concluded that the Surcharge has not impacted on public hospital operating costs. Indeed, the finding of increasing private patient utilisation of public hospitals would suggest an increasing proportion of public hospital operating costs are being met through private patient payments.

    5. 5   ESWL Reduction Plan funds have formed the principal factor driving increases in elective surgery admissions and reduction in waiting times.

    5. 6   Though there has been a recent upturn in waiting times, this is more likely to be a resumption of historical trends as the immediate impact of the national blitz funded through the ESWL Reduction Plan diminishes, rather than as a result of changes to the Surcharge.

    5. 7   As no discernible impacts on public hospital activity were found, analysis of private hospital insurance data was not undertaken for this report.