Episiotomy rates for women experiencing childbirth in New South Wales (NSW) hospitals are another indicator that private insurance may be a risk factor for obstetric intervention. A recent comparison of episiotomy rates in NSW public and private hospitals between 1993 and 1996 revealed that episiotomy rates were 12 to 15 percentage points higher in NSW private hospitals than in public hospitals studied. Rates also appear to be declining in NSW public hospitals, yet this trend is not evident in the NSW private hospitals studied. Although private hospital patients were almost twice as likely to experience forceps or vacuum delivery (often associated with episiotomy), this leaves a 6 to 8 percentage point difference unexplained. Given the potential health-related quality of life issues associated with perineal trauma during childbirth, further analysis of the clinical make-up of privately insured women may help determine the extent to which clinical explanations exist to support the differences in this childbirth intervention.