Considering dropping your private health insurance? Will the public hospital system handle it and if not, why should that worry you? Here’s the inside from a surgeon, Dr Gary Fettke.

“I work in both the public and private health sectors. I realise that a lot of people struggle to maintain their private health insurance and this weeks increase in premiums is making a lot of people reconsider their level of coverage.

Expecting the public hospital system to cover you adequately in times of need really depends on your need. Emergencies and cancers get priority but elective surgery is a distant concept on my public hospital operating days. Most weeks I have to cancel most if not all of my elective surgery because of overriding emergency cases, and most of those patients have diabetes and obesity related complications. The situation is just not tenable. Just ask my patients that are on the waiting list, just waiting and waiting.

There are great people working in the system and working hard but ‘we’ are getting swamped with the complications of modern living. I call it ‘Lifestyle related disease’. Type 2 Diabetes and obesity are right up there and those 2 conditions alone are going to bring the system to its knees, if they haven’t already. Throwing more money at the system by government is only a band aid.

For those in the public system, it will look after people and particularly in urgent situations. It does a great job, but the profile of patients and the timing of intervention is changing. That’s the fact.

What’s the answer? Changing lifestyle is the only option. The results for the individual will be now but the results for the system are going to be 20 years away. It’s going to be a stormy ride.”

It’s true, we, as individuals are primarily responsible for our health. Take charge of your health, eat whole foods and cut out the processed crap. Move your body more and make sure you’re getting good quality sleep. Always maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can lead to other illnesses from chronic to acute, some very severe and deadly, such as Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Heart Attack, Stroke and even Cancer. Prevention is the key!