Northern Beaches nurses and community united against privatisation

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The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) will discuss the privatisation of the new Northern Beaches hospital during a community meeting at Dee Why RSL this evening.

Members of the NSWNMA have raised serious concerns about the NSW government’s plan to build and operate the new level 5 hospital at Frenchs Forest under a public-private partnership (PPP).

Together with the Northern Beaches Community Union Alliance, the NSWNMA will discuss the impact of privatising utilities, TAFE and other services, as well as hospital accessibility concerns, what it means for nurses and midwives and the wider Northern Beaches community.

General Secretary of the NSWNMA, Brett Holmes, will be one of several guest speakers at tonight’s local forum, and said it was important the community continued to lobby the government for all the details surrounding the project.

“The State government is resurrecting a failed policy of commissioning the private sector to run our public hospitals – despite the fact there has been an alarming rate of failed PPPs of hospital services across Australia,” Mr Holmes said.

“Already we’ve witnessed Port Macquarie Base Hospital shift to a private operator, only to return to state government hands at taxpayers’ expense.

“Around the country there have been similar instances at Victoria’s La Trobe Regional Hospital, Modbury Hospital in South Australia and St Vincent’s Hospital at Robina in Queensland.

“Late last year, the Queensland Government even reversed its decision to fully privatise the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital, after it concluded the private sector couldn’t match the public service on cost in relation to clinical services.

“The NSW government is already putting mental health and palliative care services out to tender and privatising public disability services by 2018.”

Mr Holmes said the encroaching privatisation of our public healthcare system was a major worry for nurses, midwives and the patients they cared for.

“We believe in a universal healthcare system that offers equitable access to everyone and we will continue to campaign on behalf of our members until the government starts to listen,” said Mr Holmes.

“It’s bad enough that the government purports to put patients first, all the while it is relinquishing its duty of care through secret deals with the private sector and for-profit groups.”

NB: The Northern Beaches Community Union Alliance local forum will be held from 7 o’clock TONIGHT, Thursday 26 June, in the Luana Room at Dee Why RSL, 932 Pittwater Road, Dee Why (parking is available off Clarence Avenue). All are welcome to attend.

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