Union wants privatisation of hospitals put on the agenda for political debate.

Tuesday 19 Feb 2013

HSUWA has called for the privatisation of health services in Western Australia to be put on the agenda for the televised debate between the Premier Colin Barnett and Labor leader Mark McGowan.

The Union, which represents specialist health professionals, said the public deserved to know whether Mr Barnett planned to privatise more health services if he won the election.

"The State Government is privatising services at Fiona Stanley Hospital and the Midland Health Campus and is unlikely to stop there," said the Union's Secretary Dan Hill.

"Mr McGowan has already committed to not privatising any more hospitals and we are calling on the State Government to do the same to ensure profits aren't put ahead of patient care."

However, Mr Hill said both parties needed to go much further and called for an independent review of privatised health services.

Mr Hill said the controversy surrounding the private operation of Peel Health Campus was justification for the review.

"Peel Health Campus is costing taxpayers in excess of $90million a year and Joondalup Health Campus over $246million," he said.

"The State Government is also paying in excess of $10million a year in the metro area and $12million in country areas for privatised health services such as X-ray, Pharmacy, Ultrasound, Physiotherapy and Cancer treatment that could otherwise be provided in house."

Mr Hill said there was currently no guarantee that the public of Western Australia was receiving the highest quality care from these privatised services.

"We need a review of all existing privatised health services and contracts, and where it is found that they are not delivering to the same level as government provided services, they should be brought back in house," he said.

Mr Hill said the Union was opposed to the privatisation agenda because the experience in WA and around the world showed that as private companies cut corners to deliver profits there were fewer, lower paid and overworked healthworkers, resulting in reduced service levels. 

HSUWA represents more than 15,000 people employed in WA hospitals and health services including administrators, clerks, technicians, physiotherapists, pharmacists, medical imaging technologists, psychologists, social workers, medical scientists, occupational therapists, dieticians, maintenance officers, podiatrists, mental health workers, and speech pathologists.

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