MPs warn NSW Government to never let private operator run a public hospital

WATCH this space …

DESPITE a cancer patient having the wrong side of his bowel removed … the result of a privately contracted laboratory mishandling the patient’s pathology results …

… Figure NSW INC won’t do a thing until …

SOME more serious issues arise … possibly a death … will that be the single thing that may pull them up?


-even then ideology will prevail … the only incident that will change their mind will be

-a personal event that threatens their own health and well being … only then will things change?

MPs warn NSW Government to never let private operator run a public hospital

By state political reporter Ashleigh Raper


A building exterior

PHOTO: The exterior of Sydney’s Northern Beaches Hospital. (ABC News)

RELATED STORY: Damning government report outlines dysfunction at Northern Beaches Hospital

RELATED STORY: ‘Buy this facility back’: NSW Government urged to dump hospital’s private contractor

RELATED STORY: Northern Beaches Hospital gives patient ‘all-clear’ with 7.2cm mass in her chest

Upper House MPs have warned the NSW Government to never again get a private operator to run a public hospital, based on the experience at the Northern Beaches Hospital.

Key points:

  • The State Government spent $600 million on building the hospital
  • Inquiry recommends a private operator never be allowed to run a public hospital
  • Report calls for a “critical need for transparency”

A group of MPs — including two from Government ranks — have spent the past eight months investigating the problems at the Frenchs Forest hospital which opened in October, 2018.

The State Government spent $600 million on building the hospital and while it owns the site, the Government entered into a 20-year contract with Healthscope to privately manage the hospital.

It’s that model that the parliamentary inquiry has criticised and found that it “has the potential to negatively affect people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds”.

It found primarily that Healthscope has a “responsibility to maximise returns to its shareholders”.

The inquiry has recommended that the model of a Public-Private Partnership isn’t entered into again by the Government.

“The report highlights the critical need for transparency, as well as the rejection of a false dichotomy in which NSW Health is responsible solely for oversight of the PPP contract and Healthscope for the hospital’s day to day operation,” the committee chair Greg Donnolly said.

Hospital signs

PHOTO: Northern Beaches Hospital has been plagued by problems. (ABC News: Nicole Chettle)

“The high standards and values of the public hospital system must prevail in this private sector arrangement and the public patient must never have to accept second best.

“Further work needs to be done to concretise this non-negotiable position at the Northern Beaches Hospital.”

Another recommendation of the report was to consider reinstating the emergency department at Mona Vale Hospital.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he does not agree with the findings of the inquiry and that the Northern Beaches Hospital was doing an “extraordinarily good job”.

“There’s no intention to build any other Public-Private Partnership,” Mr Hazzard said.

“I’m utterly satisfied that that hospital is doing a first-class job.”

Last year a damning report outlined “inadequate” planning and preparation for the hospital’s opening.

The report highlighted a series of fundamental flaws such as staff shortages and a lack of senior supervisors.

Issues at the hospital received widespread media attention in the weeks after its opening, but the NSW Government dismissed them as “teething problems”.

A cancer patient had the wrong side of his bowel removed at the hospital.

NSW Opposition Leader Jodi McKay today urged the Government to rule out further privatisations.

“The inquiry has found there has been a two-tiered health system in the Northern Beaches,” Ms McKay said.

“I urge the Premier today to listen to the recommendations of this inquiry, rule out the further privatisations of hospitals in New South Wales and do it.