However, had we not had the insurance, then the operation would have been carried out in the public system, and although there would have been some wait list, being young, employed, with family, it would have been prioritised -

When I had my op, the public waiting list was going to be over a year... Youngish (34), employed with a family... got on to SX, was in hospital inside 4 days. Was a fairly major procedure too, and affected my work. 

TL;DR I wouldn't trust anything to be "prioritised" in the public health system... just ask my mate (working, young family) with prostate cancer that ended up paying for it himself.