Rally against PPP plan

Posted on 20 September 2019

Protest: Health workers spread the word about a rally on Sunday against plans for a public-private partnership for the new Maitland hospital.Health workers’ unions wantthe Hunter community tovocally opposea plan that would see the private sector build and run the new Maitland hospital.

Nurses and Midwives Association Hunter organiser Michael Kirby said the state government’s plan would mean inferior care for public patients.

He said a private operator would not have to enforce NSW Health nurse-to-patient ratios like those implemented at public hospitals.

Instead, the private operatorwould be able to base staffing decisions based on financial factors.

Policy at the existing Maitland Hospital is one nurse to five patients.

“Public hospitals are here for the public good –they should be publicly owned, publicly run and publicly accountable,” Mr Kirbysaid.

“Within that, it should be your Medicare card, not your credit card, that determines the care you get.

“If we are going to keep this hospital public, we need to come together.

“This is not just a union issue, it’s a community issue.”

The Nurses and Midwives Association and the Health Services Union have organised a public rally against the privatisation plan, to be held at Maitland Park at noonon Sunday.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner has repeatedly said that the new hospital would provide health care for public patients.

She has drawn comparisons with private sector involvement at other hospitals, such as Newcastle’s Calvary Mater Hospital, to demonstrate how Maitland’s new facility could run.

“I can give people an assurance that whatever happens, if there is an expression of interest from an operator interested in helping us to build and run the hospital at Maitland, public patient care will be free of charge, just as it is in every other hospital treating public patients,” she said in NSW Parliament last week.

But Mr Kirby said the Mater was classed as an affiliated health organisation.

This means, although the Mater is privately operated, it is run as a public hospital, there is government oversight and the facility is bound by NSW Health policies.

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