Albury Wodonga cancer services privatised

The government is pushing ahead with its privatisation agenda in Albury, despite today’s comments from Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman, Rod Sims that it is damaging our economy and leading to a lack of regulation.

Ramsay Healthcare signed an agreement with Albury Wodonga Health to run the new publicly-funded Cancer Centre in Albury Wodonga that was officiated this week.

Albury Wodonga Local Health District (AWLHD) still owns the building but will subcontract services back from Ramsay Healthcare.

General Secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA), Brett Holmes, said privatisation was not the answer as it ended up costing taxpayers more in the long-run.

“The model isn’t favourable for taxpayers at all. Rod Sims, a supporter of privatisation for over 30 years, has now said himself that it’s a serious issue facing Australia, one that is damaging our cost structure considerably and providing no regulation of how prices are set. It will be no surprise to see Ramsay Healthcare run most of its costs for this new cancer centre through our publicly-funded Medicare system and pocket the profits,” Mr Holmes said.

“Albury Wodonga residents have been lobbying for a cancer service in this area for months and even donating money towards it, under the impression it would be run as a public service. It’s very disappointing that a facility built with public money is selling off its services and at the same time boosting the outrageous profits of private operators.

“We’ve seen so much evidence lately of the inflated prices private facilities are charging for procedures, which simply isn’t an affordable option for many Australians. Even those on the highest tier of private healthcare are being hit with high out-of-pocket costs.

“Ramsay’s half yearly earnings for the year ended 2015 of $302.7 million were up 9.4% percent, yet the government is still paying a private insurance rebate, instead of putting that money back into a fair public system.

“The Cancer Centre in Albury Wodonga is just one example of how this short-sighted government is continuing to abandon its responsibilities to provide equitable healthcare.”

The new centre owned by Ramsay Healthcare will operate at the Albury Wodonga Health Service’s Albury campus. Existing oncology beds will transfer across to the new centre that will open to the public in September, with capacity for 30 inpatient beds. Initially, 20 beds will open with eight of those being publicly funded oncology beds.

Download this media release: Albury Wodonga cancer services privatised

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