Greens support calls for Lower Hunter Hospital to stay in public hands

Greens Health spokesperson, Dawn Walker has joined community calls for the new Lower Hunter Hospital to remain in public hands following a public forum on Monday night that confirmed construction of the long-awaited health facility would begin next year.

“This Government’s addiction to privatisation is crippling our public health system and the residents of rapidly-growing Maitland will be the next community to feel the effects of the Liberal’s short-sighted investment decisions if we allow the new Lower Hunter Hospital to be run privately ” said Greens MP, Dawn Walker.

“The Government and Hunter New England Local Health District’s decision to court the private sector to operate the new hospital Lower Hunter Hospital is misguided, expensive and likely to lead to worse patient outcomes. That is what has happened here and in other states that tried the public-private partnership (PPP) model.”

“Privately-run hospitals expect a return on investment and their profit motive invariably puts pressure on cutting costs, such as through shortening stays of very ill or long term patients. They also don’t train doctors & nurses like our public hospitals do because it’s not profitable.

“Publicly run hospitals can deliver medical services more efficiently, cheaply and will continue to do complex and costly medical procedures, even when they don’t return a profit. I’m also concerned about the impact of nurse to patient ratios, which can be as low as one nurse to four or five patients under a private model, which results in a drop in patient care .

“We need our major hospitals like Maitland to stay publicly run so they are accountable for patient outcomes. Private hospitals are only accountable to their shareholders.”

“I strongly believe that the Maitland community can win the campaign to ensure that their new hospital stays in public hands and I look forward to visiting Maitland in the near future to support their campaign” said Dawn Walker.

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