‘Incredible shrinking hospital’ is an insult

Posted on 20 May 2019

OUTRAGED: Labor MP Jenny Aitchison says she has requested more than a dozen meetings with Jillian Skinner, Minister for Health.
Nanjing Night Net

Every member of the Maitland community should attendSunday’s Save Maitland Hospital rally.

While the rally is being stagedas a protest against the state government’s decision to fund thenew Hunter hospital at Metford through a public-private partnership, it’s about a great deal more than that.

There are legitimatefears that the PPP could create a two-tier system of care.

This in itself is cause to protest but we have plenty of other things to be angry about.

The Lower Hunter Hospital timeline is little more, at this point, than a site in need of heavy remediation, a rubbery estimation of bed numbers andan unclear charter of services, all tied together under a PPP funding model.

In 2011 the newly elected Baird government promised the people of the Lower Hunter a publicly funded teaching hospital to rival the size and servicesof the John Hunter.

Five years on, a great deal has changed. We are now looking down the barrel of a much-smaller hospital, with some estimating bed numbers will plummet from the 450 that were initially bandied about to 220.

It’s also been confirmed that the existing Maitland Hospital will close, although we have no clear idea whether it will be sold or kept to house allied health services.

Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison has been vocal on this matter and rightly dubbed the Metford facility as“the incredible shrinking hospital”.

Ms Aitchison has called upon the NSW Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, to consult with her on the matter but she has been denied time and again.

In the Mercury’s opinion, when the NSW governmentdisrespects our elected member of parliament, it shows disdain forthe people of Maitland.

The Mercury calls on all members of the Lower Hunter community to attend the rally on Sunday.

We must demand to know how many public beds will be available.

We must insist on transparency around projected population growth in our local government area, and whether bed numbers will ensure accessible health care for all.

We must fight for specialist services and not content ourselves with a second-rate rural referral hospital, where peoplewill be shipped out of our area for treatment.

Health care is literally a matter of life and death. It’s worth fighting for.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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