Premier O’Farrell needs to learn from Premier Newman

Acting General Secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association Judith Kiejda today called on Premier Barry O’Farrell to take advice from his colleague, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, and reject proposals for Sydney’s newest hospital at French’s Forest to be privatised.

“The conservative Premier of Queensland and his Health Minister – himself a former leader – have spoken the inconvenient truth and acted on it. Publicly owned hospitals are better run and more efficient than so-called public-private partnerships (PPPs),” Ms Kiejda said.

“They were even further down the track of developing a major new hospital on the Sunshine Coast compared to where NSW is up to right now with the Northern Beaches. Private sector proponents were bidding to design, build and then run the hospital as a profit-making business.

“Premier Newman and Minister Springborg should be congratulated. They had the common sense to heed the advice from their own Commission of Audit – and the courage to act on that advice.

“It showed Queensland patients, hospital staff and taxpayers would all be much better off if the Government retained ownership in public hands.

“Minister Springborg said the private sector companies’ bids were unable, at this time, to match the capacity of the public sector,” Ms Kiejda said.

“They put the PPP-type proposals where they belong – in the bin.

“NSW nurses and midwives challenge Premier O’Farrell to do the same honest evaluation of the lousy deal taxpayers will get from either of the private proponents in the running to build and run the new Northern Beaches hospital.

“It was tried before in Port Macquarie and the Government ended up being forced to buy the hospital that was built back in order to keep it open. Nationally, more than half of these PPP arrangements fail.

“It’s a disaster waiting to happen to the people of the Northern Beaches who have waited decades for the new hospital they so badly need. And it will be equally disastrous for patients, doctors, nurses – and taxpayers,” Ms Kiejda said.

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