Nurses and midwives from Maitland and the surrounding areas will gather for a community forum in East Maitland this evening to discuss government plans to privatise vital public services.
Members of the Maitland Hospital branch of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) have joined with other community union groups to highlight the adverse impacts and voice their opposition to the sell-off of essential services.
General Secretary of the NSWNMA, Brett Holmes, will address the East Maitland forum tonight and said many services were under threat as a result of state and federal government plans.
“We’ve been calling on the state government to be upfront with the local community and detail its plans around how it will build and operate the new Maitland Hospital at Metford,” Mr Holmes said.
“Despite repeated representations to the NSW Health Minister and local MPs, the state government continues to hide behind bureaucratic road blocks because it can’t be honest with the people of Maitland and the broader Hunter region.
“Our members are worried about the impact a potential public-private partnership would have on accessibility for local residents seeking medical assistance at the new hospital – will they be forced to question their wealth over their health?
“At a federal level, the Abbott Government is pushing ahead with the dismantling of Medicare and its attempts to force a $7 GP co-payment through the Parliament, despite the majority of Australians rejecting the proposal outright.
“We know that privatising vital services, such as public hospitals, palliative care, home care and disability services, will have a devastating effect in the Hunter and our members will continue to oppose the Americanisation of these services,” he said.
The Maitland Community Union Alliance will also discuss the privatisation of NSW TAFE, electricity, water and emergency services, as well as the truncation of the railway line into Newcastle.
**Residents are invited to attend the community forum from 6:00pm tonight at East Maitland Bowling Club, corner of New England Highway and Banks Street, East Maitland. Media are also welcome to attend.
Download this media release: Local community opposes privatisation of new Maitland Hospital