The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has once again called on the NSW Government to detail exactly how the proposed new Maitland Hospital will be operated.
During a fleeting picture opportunity at the proposed site in Metford today, Premier Mike Baird told local media he was open to a public-private partnership, however he said he was unable to provide any significant information until planning work was completed.
Local residents, together with NSWNMA members, have previously sought clarification from Maitland MP Robyn Parker, NSW Ministry of the Health and the Health Minister in relation to the government’s plans for the new hospital, to no avail.
NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, said a new state-of-the-art hospital was welcome for the growing Lower Hunter population but reiterated the lack of detail on how the hospital would run had been disappointing.
“Many of our members have signalled their frustrations at the lack of specific information about the new $20 million hospital planned for Metford,” Mr Holmes said.
“We understand there is a planning process underway but to show up at the proposed site for the cameras and not provide any detail about the project is a slap in the face for residents.
“Premier Baird needs to be upfront with the people of Maitland and the surrounds and let them know if he’s planning on signing the new Maitland Hospital over to a private operator to run – it’s a simple question.
“At the limited community consultations run by the Local Health District, it is a key question of residents – ‘Is this going to be a public or private hospital and will this impact on our access?’
“Unfortunately for locals, Premier Baird has chosen to roll out the same mantra he uses to describe the new Northern Beaches Hospital at Frenchs Forest, which is also earmarked to be run by a for-profit operator.
“The people of the Lower Hunter deserve to know if their public hospital will be run for the benefit of private shareholders,” said Mr Holmes.