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Private choices, public costs: A follow-up study

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Academic background
Health Sciences
Host campus
Preventive and Social Medicine (Dunedin)
Dr Erin Penno and Dr Trudy Sullivan


New Zealand’s dual public-private health system allows individuals to purchase health services from the private sector rather than relying solely upon publicly-funded services. In a study using 2014/15 inpatient discharge data we found a small proportion of private events had a subsequent public admission. However, these involved significant costs highlighting the need for greater understanding around the interface between the private and public health systems.

This project would involve using newly available data to explore and compare patterns of private and public sector re-admissions over time, including the frequency of subsequent public admissions, the demographic and clinical characteristics of the patients and the estimated direct costs of inpatient care incurred by the public health system. There is also the opportunity to conduct a parallel survey, exploring the reasons why people choose private care over public.

Student stipends are not available, however applicants are encouraged to explore the University of Otago's postgraduate scholarships.


Dr Erin Penno
Tel   +64 3 479 4116