Here at the Doctors’ Union we are celebrating the recent announcement from the NSW Minister for Health, the Hon. Brad Hazzard, Maitland Hospital will be fully publicly funded. As a result, alongside the NSWNMA and HSU, we have successfully forced the Government to capitulate on all five regional Hospitals it had previously announced would be privatised.

As members will be aware, on September 15 2016, the then Minister for Health Jillian Skinner announced five major regional Hospitals would be privatised – Wyong, Bowral, Goulbourn, Shellharbour and Maitland.

The NSW Government wanted non-government hospital operators to design, construct, operate and maintain these hospitals. Reflecting on the litany of public-private partnership failures in Hospitals in Australia, we were extremely concerned about the potential detrimental impact this would have on the entitlements of our Staff Specialists, the training of our Junior Doctors and the risk to the provision of safe patient care.

Consequently, we promised to tirelessly campaign alongside the NSWNMA and the HSU. What followed was an incredibly powerful and organised campaign, focused on protecting the provision of safe patient care to the community members within those regions.

More than a year after the initial announcement, the Government scrapped all five tender processes and announced they will keep the hospitals in public hands. The Hon. Brad Hazzard, commenting on the effective community campaign noted, "I'm in no way ideological nor are my colleagues. But it was put to me strongly that the community wouldn't embrace a [non-public] hospital,".

Executive Director of the Doctors’ Union, Andrew Holland, said the decision to reverse the privatisation process is major victory for the Health Unions. “In its nearly seven years of outsourcing and privatising public services, this is the first real defeat for the NSW Government. A major win for unions and the community. And hopefully not the last.”

He also acknowledged the tireless work of our members, noting, “There is little doubt our Doctors were instrumental in achieving this victory. They used their incredibly powerful voices to make it clear to the Minister that they will not accept any model that offers sub-standard care for their patients.”

“Using their clinical expertise they stood up to the government to protect the future of salaried medical officers, they stood up for the training of our junior doctors, and ultimately, they stood up for their patients”, he said.

We are incredibly proud of the actions of our Doctors.

In particular, ASMOF would like to thank the following Doctors for their direct engagement in this campaign.

Dr Geoff Murray
Dr Maureen Lonergan
Dr Greg Barclay
Dr Francois Joseph
Dr Elias Nassar
Dr Simon Myabathula
Dr Maura McCambridge
Dr Andrew Walker
Dr Aidan Foy

We also thank all Doctors from Shellharbour, Maitland, Wyong, Bowral and Goulburn Hospitals, and across NSW for their commitment to the public health system.

ASMOF will continue to fight the NSW Government to increase public hospital funding and resist any effort to privatise our great public health system. We look forward to your continued support in defending it.

If you would like to get find out more, feel free to email damienl@asmof.org.au, or call the ASMOF Office on 9212 6900.