NSW private-sector hospital upgrades axed

Tom Rabe
NSW hospitals' private-sector plans axed

The NSW government has canned plans to upgrade three public hospitals with the help of the private sector following community opposition.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Friday revealed upgrades to Bowral District Hospital would be undertaken by the government alone.

The move comes a day after plans for a public-private partnership upgrade to Wyong Hospital was also scrapped.

NSW Health has also decided against a PPP in Goulburn in October.

In 2016 the state government announced it would invite non-government operators to deliver services at Bowral Hospital and to help upgrade four other regional hospitals including Maitland, Shellharbour, Wyong and Goulburn.

"After consultation with representatives of the local community and medical staff (in Bowral) we have decided on a government-led approach for this significant upgrade," Mr Hazzard said in a statement on Friday.

Mr Hazzard said partnership deals with Shellharbour and Maitland hospitals were still being considered.

"Each case is being looked at on its merits with regard to what is in the best interests of the local community and we're working our way through that," Mr Hazzard said.

The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association says the decision to keep the three hospitals in public hands is sensible.

Association general secretary Brett Holmes put the government's backflip down to public opposition.

"We congratulate NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard for listening to our concerns and not just pressing ahead with the public-private partnership model that was left behind by his predecessor," Mr Holmes said.

"Our members had been extremely concerned, not only about their own job security under a public-private partnership arrangement, but also over the lack of guaranteed safe patient care and accountability of taxpayers' money."

NSW opposition health spokesman Walt Secord called on the government to scrap plans for the last two partnered upgrades.

"Those communities want their local hospitals in community hands," he said in a statement.

"The community does not want privatised hospitals."

But Mr Hazzard described opposition claims that the PPPs were a privatisation of hospitals as "completely erroneous".

Mr Hazzard said he was confident the planned upgrades to the hospitals would deliver better services, even without additional private dollars.

"I'm quite confident as health minister that we can improve out of sight the services at Wyong and Bowral, so it will still be exciting, it will just be a matter of how excited you get," Mr Hazzard told AAP.