Hunter New England Health chief Michael Di Rienzo addresses quality concerns over new Maitland Hospital's not-for-profit plan

Rally: Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison, union representatives, hospital staff and community members at the action on Monday. Photo: Lachlan Leeming.

Rally: Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison, union representatives, hospital staff and community members at the action on Monday. Photo: Lachlan Leeming.

The Hunter’s health chief has addressed concerns that a not-for-profit operator would impact on the services provided at the new Maitland Hospital, saying that the facility “will be held to the same standards as all public hospitals” in the region.

Hunter New England Health chief executive Michael Di Rienzo said that the new Maitland Hospital would be “part and parcel of the (hospital) network within the greater Newcastle and Hunter Valley” and would be expected to provide a similar level of service. 

Mr Di Rienzo said that, following the state government’s decision to scrap a Public Private Partnership for the hospital, Hunter New England Health would push along under the new plan.  

“The government has now limited that opportunity (to run the hospital) to the not-for-profit sector and the next steps will be to continue with expressions of interest from not-for-profit operators,” he said. 

“At the end of the day what we’ll be doing is making sure we work with that particular operator and guaranteeing a level of service in line with other hospitals in the network.” 

Mr Di Rienzo said that would include “making sure that training and development for our clinical staff is in line with other hospitals in the network”. 

The health chief’s comments come the day after a protest at Maitland Hospital where hospital staff, union members and Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison took aim at the not-for-profit path.  

Chief among the concerns of rally-goers were the fate of staff, ranging from doctors to cleaners, if the new project was undertaken by a not-for-profit group.  

Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison said it was time that the state government’s “rivers of gold” made it to Maitland. 

“It doesn’t make sense we don’t get a public hospital. The government says the rivers of gold are flowing – why aren’t they coming up here?

“We are not a charity, we deserve the same level of support as every other community in the state.” 

What are your thoughts? The Mercury welcomes your feedback. Please email letters to maitland@fairfaxmedia.com.au 

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