Concerned nurses host ‘Patients Before Profits’ public forum

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) will host a community forum on Sydney’s Northern Beaches this Wednesday night to discuss the adverse impacts of encroaching privatisation on public health services.

A panel of guest speakers will discuss aspects of the NSW Government’s plan to replace two current public hospitals on the Northern Beaches with a privately built and managed new level 5 hospital under a 20-year contract with a for-profit operator.

General Secretary of the NSWNMA, Brett Holmes, will address the forum and highlight concerns raised by nurses and midwives who work on the Northern Beaches, including members’ fears that the privatised public hospital model will be rolled out across the state.

“Our members welcome a new hospital for the Northern Beaches, but not a privatised one,” Mr Holmes said.

“NSW has a robust and well-funded public health system and we need to ensure it continues to provide the medical services required to meet demands.

“It is an ideologically-driven agenda to change this system for a handful of corporations to profit from health – there’s no evidence to support claims it will result in better health outcomes for patients or the budget bottom line.”

Professor John Quiggin from the University of Queensland will detail his research into privatisation projects, including many of the myths associated with ‘cost-effective’ and ‘efficient’ public-private partnership models.

Macquarie University’s Dr Ben Spies-Butcher will examine the dangers of increasingly exposing the healthcare sector to market forces and the potential impacts of changes to Australia’s universal health insurance system, Medicare.

Assistant Federal Secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, Annie Butler, will discuss the national campaign lobbying federal Members of Parliament to oppose the destruction of Medicare and the government’s apparent shift towards an Americanised health system.

Lynda Binskin, secretary of the Port Macquarie Base Hospital branch of the NSWNMA, will offer a first-hand account of the failed public-private partnership at Port Macquarie Base Hospital. The impacts she experienced as a local nurse and community member during the transition and also when the State Government was forced to buy the facility back from the private operator.

The forum is open to all members of the community and is part of the NSWNMA’s ongoing public campaign to raise awareness of the shift towards an Americanised health system.

Download this media release: Concerned nurses host ‘Patients Before Profits’ public forum

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