They came, they saw, they listened but the one of the biggest questions surrounding the future of a new hospital for Maitland remains unanswered.
Members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) fronted the regional cabinet meeting in Maitland yesterday calling for the state government to expose its plans for the possible privatisation of the hospital planned for Metford.
However, a clear response was not forthcoming.
“No decision has been made regarding procurement and all procurement models will be considered during further phases of planning,” NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said.
“The next phase of planning for the new Maitland Hospital is underway and this will determine the clinical services required to support this community well into the future.”
But the nurses remain dissatisfied.
“We want the minister to come clean about whether or not the new hospital at Metford will be privately run and operated,” NSWNMA Maitland branch president Chriss Hele said.
“Our concerns are if this hospital goes private then it will mean profit before patients.
“A private hospital servicing the public is not about treating patients to the best of its ability, it’s about making a dollar.”
Ms Hele said the people of Maitland and the Lower Hunter are right to be concerned about plans for the hospital.
“Maitland is not a high financial area and we want it so everybody has equal access to the health facilities,” she said.
“The government will not confirm or deny this and we want an answer.”