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Nurses seeking post-election clarity from Baird

The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association has called on the newly re-elected Baird Government to quarantine the state’s health system from what it described as a “pattern of privatisation” emerging within the sector.

In a statement issued on Monday, NSWNMA General Secretary Brett Holmes said the NSW Coalition government had begun privatising sub-acute and rehabilitation mental health services, and new palliative care services, and that disability and home care services were set to be privatised by 2018.

“There is an undeniable pattern of privatisation emerging in NSW,” Holmes said. “Public healthcare is a right, not a privilege, in this country and we must ensure our public hospital system is appropriately resourced and able to meet projected patient demands.

“As long as the Liberal National Coalition continues to pursue [public-private partnerships] in health over the delivery of a robust public health system, we will continue to exercise our democratic right and oppose it.”

Holmes called for the government to provide more information regarding the funding and management future of specific health facilities such as the Northern Beaches Hospital, for which the government has entered into a $600 million contract with corporate group Healthscope.

The association said it was also seeking clarification as to where the 2100 additional nursing and midwifery positions – which the Coalition promised during the election campaign – would be allocated.

“It’s one thing to promise an increase to frontline services, it’s another to ensure they address the ongoing workload issues that have plagued the public hospital system for several years,” assistant NSWNMA general secretary Judith Kiejda said. “Our members work on the frontline every day and they know the difference improved nurse-to-patient ratios, delivered by mandated nursing hours per patient, would make to safe patient care.”

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