No confirmation from State that Maitland Hospital site will be used for residential living

The State Government has not been able to confirm or deny reports the existing Maitland Hospital site will be turned into apartments.

Rumours surrounding the future development of High Street facility, once the new hospital is built in the city’s east, point to the possibility of a residential living development.

Fairfax Media put the question to NSW Minister for Health Jillian Skinner earlier this week. She said no decision has been made regarding the future of the current Maitland Hospital site.

About 150 Health Services Union members held a protest meeting earlier this week concerned for the safety of their jobs after the State announced the new $400 million Maitland Hospital  will likely be a public-private partnership.

Under a new partnership program to fast-track hospital upgrades, the government has invited expressions of interest from non-government hospital operators to build and deliver facilities at Maitland, Wyong, Goulburn and Shellharbour.

Health Services Union State Secretary Gerard Hayes, said the government made the announcement about the new hospital without warning. “We, like most people, have no detail of how people will be affected. There is a lot of disturbing information going around,” he said.

Mrs Skinner told Fairfax Media she was also unable to confirm staff numbers for the new hospital.

She said given the significant expansion in capacity planned for the new site, there will be an increase in staffing requirements.

“The procurement process will ensure any non-government operator maximises opportunities for existing staff to migrate to the new hospital,” Mrs Skinner said.

“Permanent employment will be offered, with the additional security of a two-year employment guarantee.

“There are significant differences between the NSW Government’s proposed model and the model used at Port Macquarie over 20 years ago.

“Lessons have been learnt, in particular around contract flexibility and transparency,” the minister said.

“Cancer services planned for the new Maitland Hospital will operate as a networked service within Hunter New England Local Health District.

“The new Maitland Hospital will include a chemotherapy service, which will form a key component of their network, something that is not available at the existing Maitland Hospital,” Mrs Skinner said.

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