Time for answers on Lower Hunter hospital funding model: Aitchison

The public-private partnership is “a failed model” for hospitals in NSW and the Lower Hunter needs to ensure its new facility is kept in public hands, Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison says.

Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison at the current Maitland Hospital site. Picture: Perry Duffin

Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison at the current Maitland Hospital site. Picture: Perry Duffin

The question of a public-private partnership (PPP) is one of the key issues expected to be addressed at a public forum regarding the future of Maitland Hospital at 6.30pm on Monday, at East Maitland Bowling Club.

A range of stakeholders from across the spectrum will speak and answer questions from the public at the forum, which will be hosted by The Maitland Mercury

“It's vital that people come to let the government know we want the new hospital in public hands, we want it to be big enough for our growing community and the rest of the Lower Hunter, and we want it now,” Ms Aitchison said.

The PPP is a major concern to our community.

Jenny Aitchison.

“The PPP is a major concern to our community. It is a failed model, the Auditor General said we paid for the Port Macquarie hospital twice and then gave it away.

“I have had local GPs who have come out against it, as well as nurses, other hospital staff and patients who can't believe the government would privatise the hospital. 

An aerial view of the proposed Lower Hunter hospital site at Metford.

An aerial view of the proposed Lower Hunter hospital site at Metford.

“Public hospitals have mandated patient nurse ratios, and speaking to specialists, it's the public hospitals where innovative life saving techniques are practiced as they have the capacity. If a private operator owns the hospital what does that do to the government's accountability for our hospital care?”

Ms Aitchison will join Hunter New England Local Health District chief executive Michael DiRienzo and Dr Ben Spies-Butcher, Senior Lecturer Economy and Society at Macquarie University, as a speaker at Monday’s forum.

Representatives from health workers unions will then join them for a Q and A style panel discussion.

  • The Mercury will live stream the Q and A session on Facebook from 7.10pm on Monday.