Maitland Community Forum

19-May-2017

 



On Monday 15 May, representatives from the health unions, including ASMOF Executive Director Andrew Holland, joined Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison, Hunter New England Local Health District CEO Michael Di Rienzo and senior economics lecturer from Macquarie University, Dr Ben Spies-Butcher to discuss their concerns about the privatisation of Maitland hospital.

Over 200 concerned community members attended to seek answers to their questions.

HNELHD CEO Michael Di Rienzo confirmed that construction of the health facility would begin next year. He noted that the funding model has yet to be determined, but remained supportive of privatisation.

In contrast, Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison pushed back against the proposed privatised hospital, stating, “We need this hospital, we need it to be public, we need it to be the proper size and we need it now.”

Dr Spies-Butcher’s research identified what occurs when public health services are privatised. Beyond doubt, the data highlights that privatised healthcare makes services more expensive, less efficient and less equitable.

ASMOF’s Executive Director, Andrew Holland, said the government’s decision to pursue a privatised hospital was based on ideology, not on evidence.

"There is no evidence that [a public-private partnership] is value for money", he said.
"Show us the evidence that what you're proposing will be to the benefit of the community."

He spoke about the concerns raised by our members, and ASMOF’s experience with privatisation of Northern Beaches Hospital, noting the likelihood of a reduction in work conditions, resources and entitlements, and the impact privatisation will have on the training of our junior doctors.

Training of our JMOs would be “completely undermined” under a privatised hospital at Maitland.

Often, private hospitals utilise contract-based models for doctors, and there is no contractual obligation for consultants to provide training or supervision to junior doctors.

“The major teaching hospitals are where the junior doctors are trained – where our senior members take junior doctors under their wing, supervise them and train them to become the future staff specialists in our public and private system,” he said.
“Our members have a real concern that under a new model... that the training of [junior] doctors will be completely undermined”, which puts “the future for our doctors and the doctors that do such a wonderful job”, at risk.

It was a fantastic night, and we are proud of the community, and all those who attended, for taking a stand and speaking up to protect the safe patient care in our world class public health system.

ASMOF and our Doctors will continue to take the fight to the NSW Government, and we look forward to your continued support in defending our great public health system.

If you would like to speak up and get involved in a similar way, feel free to email damienl@asmof.org.au, or call the ASMOF Office on 9212 6900.

The next community forum is in Shellharbour on 5 June 2017, and we will provide members with updates as it progresses.