NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner has condemned a television advertising campaign that alleges the government will turn the state’s health care into a private system like that in the US.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association launched the ad this week ahead of next month’s state election.
It shows viewers the cost of treatment for broken legs, broken arms, burst appendix and other illnesses in the US and implies that the cost of treatment in Australian could rise to these levels under the Coalition government.
Mrs Skinner said the ad was part of a continued scare campaign.
“I have the greatest respect for our nurses and midwives and the dedicated way they care for their patients,” she said.
“I am, however, appalled by their association’s television advertisement.
“This union campaign is absolutely baseless and any talk of Americanisation is complete nonsense.”
The ad comes amid continued speculation and concern about the possible funding model that will be used for the new Lower Hunter hospital at Metford.
The government has repeatedly said that the hospital would be a public one that was open to public patients, but has not ruled out a public-private partnership model to fund it.
Opposition health spokesman Walt Secord said the ad gave voters an insight into what was ahead for health care under the government.
“As the party that created Medicare, Labor believes in a strong public health system where hospitals are run for patients, not for profits,” he said.
“The Liberals and Nationals have an ideological obsession with privatisation and selling off public assets.
“Sadly, once public assets like electricity or hospitals are privatised, they are
gone forever and out of the community’s control.”
NSW Nurses and Midwives Association general secretary Brett Holmes said public-private partnerships between the government and corporate organisations such as Healthscope were an emerging pattern that prompted the creation of the ad.
“These decisions are not in the best interests of NSW patients, the real winners are the for-profit sector shareholders,” he said.