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Difference Between Private Hospitals and Public Hospitals

Healthcare remains one of the most important aspects of human life. By prevention, the promotion of healthcare reduces both human and financial costs that could be incurred by employers, individuals, medical facilities, families, communities and insurance companies, not to mention the state. A failure to promote healthcare can largely cripple an economy. To cater to this, health facilities are used to diagnose, manage and treat ailments. There are two categories of health care facilities by ownership, namely private and public hospitals. Although both provide healthcare services, they differ in various ways.


What are Private Hospitals?

These are hospitals managed and funded by an individual or a group of people. The owner(s) is in charge of day to day running of the hospital, ensuring compliance is met, managing finances, human resources not to mention hospital equipment. Though expensive, private hospitals have in the past gained popularity due to the good quality of services offered in terms of less waiting periods and personalized care. Due to the high cost of services offered, these hospitals attract affluent patients.

Private hospitals have some perks such as;

  • Are equipped with modern healthcare equipment
  • Have shorter waiting periods
  • Offer personalized patient care

Despite these, private hospitals have cons including;

  • They are expensive
  • They can only treat a limited number of patients at a time
  • Do not accept all insurance policies


What are Public Hospitals?

These are hospitals fully managed and funded by the state. Services offered to the patients tend to be of lower quality due to budget limitations. For instance, personalized care may not be as efficient as compared to private hospitals due to the low doctor to patient ratio. These hospitals hence attract less affluent persons or people with restrictive insurance policies. Due to the affordability of the services, public hospitals attract a large number of patients hence long waiting periods.

Advantages of public hospitals include;

  • They are affordable
  • They can accommodate many patients at a time

They, however, have disadvantages;

  • Long waiting periods
  • Lack of personalized health care


Similarities between Private Hospitals and Public Hospitals

  • Both provide health care services


Differences between Private Hospitals and Public Hospitals


Private hospitals are hospitals managed and funded by an individual or a group of people. On the other hand, public hospitals are hospitals fully managed and funded by the state.

Quality of service

Private hospitals provide quality healthcare services. On the other hand, public hospitals do not provide quality health care services due to budget constraints.

Waiting time

While private hospitals have short or no waiting periods, public hospitals have long waiting periods due to a large number of patients being served.

Doctor to patient ratio

The doctor to patient ratio in private hospitals is high. On the contrary, public hospitals have a low doctor to patient ratio.


While private hospitals are not easily affordable, public hospitals are affordable to most patients.

Target patients

Due to the high costs of services offered, private hospitals attract affluent patients. On the other hand, due to its affordability, public hospitals attract less affluent patients.

Private Hospitals vs. Public Hospitals: Comparison Table


Summary of Private Hospitals vs. Public Hospitals

Private hospitals are hospitals managed and funded by an individual or a group of people. Though expensive, their popularity has increased over time due to the high quality of services offered, lack of waiting times as well as personalized care. On the other hand, public hospitals are hospitals fully managed and funded by the state. They are preferred due to their affordability as well as the ability to treat many patients at a given time. Both private and public hospitals are however important in the provision of health services care.


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References :

[0]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nawa_Public_Hospital-ER_entrance.JPG

[1]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hobart_Private_Hospital.jpg

[2]Activity in Acute Public Hospitals in Ireland 2002 Annual Report. ESRI Publishers. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=OfZDJV209ZIC&pg=PA65&dq=Difference+Between+Private+Hospitals+and+Public+Hospitals&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjEyNvG9o_lAhVGJhoKHTIZBeYQ6AEIXTAJ#v=onepage&q=Difference%20Between%20Private%20Hospitals%20and%20Public%20Hospitals&f=false

[3]Butler J. Hospital Cost Analysis- Volume 3 of Developments in Health Economics and Public Policy. Springer Science & Business Media Publishers, 1995. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=g7rOK3gFqOUC&pg=PA255&dq=Difference+Between+Private+Hospitals+and+Public+Hospitals&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjEyNvG9o_lAhVGJhoKHTIZBeYQ6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=Difference%20Between%20Private%20Hospitals%20and%20Public%20Hospitals&f=false

[4]Wallen Jacqueline. Use of Short-term General Hospitals by Patients with Psychiatric Diagnoses. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1985. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=i5PtuJ6SVcMC&pg=PA11&dq=Difference+Between+Private+Hospitals+and+Public+Hospitals&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjEyNvG9o_lAhVGJhoKHTIZBeYQ6AEILjAB#v=onepage&q=Difference%20Between%20Private%20Hospitals%20and%20Public%20Hospitals&f=false

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