Northern Beaches Hospital Inquiry- ASMOF calls for an end to Public Private Partnerships




ASMOF has made a submission to the Upper House Inquiry into Northern Beaches Hospital calling for significant reform at the Hospital to improve working conditions of our members and to ensure the best outcomes for patients. Our members are working hard to make it work but there are ongoing challenges.

We have also called for the NSW Government to abandon the Private Public Partnership model in future hospital planning, as there continues to be clear issues with the model which we have seen play out at Northern Beaches.

You can read our full submission HERE. We thank our members who provided their time and comments provided to us for this submission.

Read our Media Release HERE.


ASMOF has been closely involved in the progression of Northern Beaches Hospital (NBH), and we have been outspoken advocates for our members who have transitioned to, or have been subsequently employed at the Hospital. Through discussions with our members and negotiations with Healthscope, it has become abundantly clear to us that Healthscope was inadequately prepared to establish and run NBH. They demonstrated that they have little expertise in delivering public hospital health services, and concerningly, have actively resisted identifying NBH as a public hospital or integrating NBH into the public health system.

The inadequacy of preparation to plan and set up the hospital, and failure to genuinely consult doctors, has had lasting impacts on service delivery, patient care and staffing not just at NBH, but across the broader Northern Sydney Local Health District.

Whilst we do not suggest that the hospital be declared a failure, it is fair to acknowledge that any improvements of the hospital to date can be attributed to sustained pressure from ASMOF and Unions and other advocates, and the enormous efforts from staff employed at NBH.

Our members are dedicated professionals who have gone above and beyond for the hospital, at times without payment, because they are committed to seeing the hospital thrive, and deliver high quality care to patients and the community.

ASMOF continue to oppose the model of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) on the grounds that they have a long track record of failure.We maintain that the fundamental rationale for PPPs, that a private operator will deliver better value for money than the Government, is patently false and misleading.

Our submission suggests that the fundamental flaws in the PPP model have played out in the establishment and running of Northern Beaches Hospital to date. Hallmarks of the PPP model including short-sighted cost cutting and secrecy have thrived, unchecked by NSW Health.

Furthermore, ASMOF suggests that the recently revised ownership of Healthscope to Brookfield, a private equity business, is likely to further change priorities of the organisation from providing excellence in healthcare using a private hospital model to maximising profit.

For this reason the NSW Government must have greater oversight of the Northern Beaches Hospital and there must be greater transparency, including of outcomes for staff and patients.

We continue to be committed to making Northern Beaches Hospital a safe, enjoyable and professionally stimulating environment for all our members providing appropriate and safe patient care. However lessons must be learned from this exercise.

We have made 11 Recommendations which we believe are needed to address ongoing issues faced by the NBH.

Our recommendations:

  1. Ongoing, formal consultative processes should be set up between ASMOF and other health Unions, Healthscope and NSLHD.
  2. Provide complete information about NBH’s KPIs, and the performance of NBH to date.
  3. Urgently review staffing across the hospital in consultation with medical staff and ASMOF, and take action to increase recruitment of permanent staff, including junior doctors.
  4. Take urgent action to ensure that the eMR system is functional and compatible with NSW public hospitals systems.
  5. NSLHD and Healthscope take action to further integrate the hospital into the District.
  6. Healthscope and NSLHD work collaboratively to map existing service provision, identify gaps and undertake district-wide planning to ensure that patient and community needs are able to be met.
  7. Urgent action from Healthscope and ACL to address issues with the delivery of pathology services.
  8. Improve engagement with JMOs to address concerns including responsibilities for private patients.
  9. Commitment from Healthscope to honour and retain the existing conditions and entitlements enjoyed by senior doctors in NSW Health.
  10. The NSW Government abandons the PPP model in future hospital planning.
  11. Greater oversight of NBH from NSW Health to ensure standardisation with NSW public hospitals, including consideration as to whether Healthscope should operate as an Affiliated Health Organisation under the Health Services Act.

Where to from here?

Announced in June, the Committee into the Operation and Management of NBH is set up to report on a range of matters outlined in the Terms of Reference.

Submissions have now closed and hearings will be underway from mid August until November, after which a Report will be prepared for Government.

ASMOF played a key role in the establishment of this Inquiry due to our continued advocacy on behalf of our members & patient safety.

We have welcomed this Inquiry to get to the bottom of the issues and find solutions and we will continue to represent our views to the Committee.