Earlier, we told you Health Minister George Abbott pooh-poohed claims the premier's European mystery health tour travelling companion Les Vertesi was an advocate for parallel private healthcare. This, despite admitting he was "not an expert" on the emergency room specialist's work. In that same scrum, Minister Abbot also said he hadn't read Dr. Vertesi's self-published book Broken Promises. And that's a pity. Because if he had, Minister Abbot would know Dr. Vertesi supports introducing market forces in the public healthcare system. But "until such time as a mature internal market exists, a healthy private industry that parallels the public one and can contract with it to provide services would force both sides to work in the same competitive environment."
As a result, Dr. Vertesi writes parallel private healthcare is "much more than a way to decant the waiting lists. It is quite simply the only 'reality check' available to tell public hospitals whether the quality of service they provide and the price at which they provide it meet acceptable standards, both to the public and the workers within the industry." Earlier in the day, Minister Abbott also said he had not read Dr. Vertesi's testimony before the standing senate committee on social affairs, science and technology, in which he supported the notion of just such a system.