Patient safety could suffer if Shellharbour Hospital part-privatised: union

NSW Nurses and Midwives Association Shellharbour Hospital branch delegates Cameron Creighton and Aimee Johnson are concerned nurse-to-patient ratios will never be guaranteed at the hospital under a flagged public-private partnership. Picture: Robert Peet

NSW Nurses and Midwives Association Shellharbour Hospital branch delegates Cameron Creighton and Aimee Johnson are concerned nurse-to-patient ratios will never be guaranteed at the hospital under a flagged public-private partnership. Picture: Robert Peet

Nurse-to-patient ratios could deteriorate if Shellharbour Hospital is redeveloped under a public-private partnership according to a local union delegate.

NSW Nurses and Midwives Association Shellharbour branch delegate Cameron Creighton said the state’s nurses voted this week to wage an industrial campaign against the part-privatisation of five public hospitals.

Last Thursday NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner invited Expressions of Interest from non-government hospital operators to deliver redevelopments of Shellharbour, Bowral, Goulburn, Wyong and Maitland hospitals.

‘’One of the NSWNMA’s main concerns is the affect the changes might have on nurse-to-patient ratios,’’ Mr Creighton said.

‘’The union has long fought for a one-to-four ratio as we believe this is the ratio required to ensure patient safety, and enable nurses to have a manageable workload.

‘’There are concerns that under a private operator ratios will never be guaranteed.’’

Mrs Skinner said public patients would receive free hospital treatment under any partnerships. Staff who migrated would have a two-year employment guarantee.

Mr Creighton said: ‘’We’re concerned that after two years, they’ll start cutting back on staff in order to boost their profits.’’

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