Tag Archives: health

Greens oppose privatisation of five public hospitals in NSW

MEDIA RELEASE – 15 September 2016

NSW Greens health spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham slammed the Baird Governments announcement that they would hold an expression of interest process to outsource public health services at five NSW public hospitals to private operators, saying it was a step towards the Americanisation of health services and would result in fewer services for greater cost and far less accountability.

“The Greens will strongly oppose the partial privatisation of the public hospital system  This is the Liberal Party’s privatisation ideology being implemented  despite the detrimental impact privatisation has on the public health system and the strong public support for health services remaining in public hands,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The recent scandal at St Vincent’s demonstrates that having private operators running public hospitals reduces transparency and accountability. We have a private hospital covering up a scandal, lying to the minister and the public, and beyond scrutiny of the parliament.  Now Minister Skinner wants to expand this lack of accountability to five new hospitals in NSW.

“The American experience with health care exposes the fallacy that private provision of health services is somehow more efficient or better quality. And there are even home health agencies for sale in the US. Premier Baird and Minister Skinner are blinkered if they think following America is the way to go with NSW’s public hospital system.

“This is a minister under pressure putting private profits and ideology before the public interest and people.

“The private sector is always going to be less transparent and less accountable and more motivated in turning a profit. Inevitably private operators will seek to provide services that are the most profitable, which is not necessarily in the broader public interest.”

Labor weaken stance on public health

MEDIA RELEASE – 22 October 2015

The Greens NSW health spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today slammed Labor’s Shadow Health Minister, Walt Secord for supporting the removal of a section of the Private Health Facilities Act 2007 that provided protection for the public health system from predatory behaviour by private health providers.

When the bed cap on private hospitals was lifted in 2007, the then Labor government inserted  Section 7(4)(c)(i) that empowered the Health Minister to refuse any application by private health providers that undermined the provision of viable, comprehensive and coordinated health services.  This power has not been used to date.

“The Greens are concerned that Labor has weakened its commitment to public health services by voting to remove this protection and leaving some public health services vulnerable to private encroachment,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Walt Secord should explain exactly why Labor supported the removal of this clause and weakened the powers of the minister to stop predatory encroachment by the private health industry that may make public health services unviable and lead to their closure?

“It’s hypocritical of Walt Secord to set himself up as the champion of public health services, but quietly side with the Liberals and the private health industry to remove a key protection and adopt a market based approach that risks our public health system, especially in regional NSW.

“This Bill removes any chance for planned provision of health services, allowing the private sector to cherry-pick patients out of the public sector in higher socio-economic status areas while the public sector is left to do the heavy lifting in disadvantaged communities.

“This is a free kick to the private health industry who will be able to move in on the public sector and set up shop wherever they choose.

“Given the clause had not yet been used, it makes no sense to remove it unless you want to weaken the ability of future governments to protect public health services from private encroachment.”

E-Cigarettes banned for kids and marketing restricted like tobacco

MEDIA RELEASE –24 June 2015

The Greens NSW health spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said he was very pleased that the government had accepted amendments to strengthen the regulation of electronic cigarettes that will treat it like tobacco, but said the parliament needed to go further to ensure vaping in public places was covered by the Smoke Free Environment Act.

“It’s a great that not only will the sale of e-cigarettes to children will be banned, but the display, marketing and advertising of e-cigarettes will be heavily restricted, like tobacco,”  said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Most e-cigarettes contain highly addictive nicotine, so it is responsible to restrict their marketing to stop children or others becoming hooked on nicotine.

“Tobacco smokers who want to switch to e-cigarettes will still be allowed to do this, but aggressive marketing campaigns aimed at making e-cigarettes attractive and re-normalising smoking will now be banned.

“Unfortunately the parliament did not agree to amendments to regulate vaping under the Smoke Free Environment Act, which means it is still legal to smoke an e-cigarette on public transport, or in a cafe, in a school, or even in the parliamentary chamber.  This must be rectified in the near future.”

Contact: Max Phillips –0419 444 916

Greens urge minister to reopen Murwillumbah birthing service

MEDIA RELEASE – 19 June 2015

The Greens NSW health spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham has written to Health Minister Jillian Skinner urging her to intervene to reopen the Murwillumbah Hospital birthing services as soon as possible, saying Tweed Valley Mums and babies deserve this important service.  He will also raise the issue when Parliament resumes next week.

“Yesterday I wrote to Minister Skinner expressing my concern about the closure of the Murwillumbah Hospital birthing service and urging her to step in to ensure it re-opens as soon as possible,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“I will also be raising the issue in parliament to ensure it is well and truly on the government’s political radar.

“The requirement for mothers in labour to drive an extra half hour or more through cane fields to Tweed Hospital for birthing services has put a significant stress on the community and is a significant reduction in a very important health service.

“I acknowledge that there may be some difficulties in recruiting suitable medical staff for the service, but there seems to be some bureaucratic barriers to reopen the service that the Minister should put her attention to dismantling to get the service back up and running post haste.

“The Greens are also concerned that the review of the maternity and birthing unit may lead to a permanent downgrade of this important service.  I am urging Minister Skinner to meet with the ‘Friends of Tweed Valley Birthing Service’ as soon as possible and work to resolve the issue in a way that is satisfactory for the mothers and future babies of the Tweed Valley.

“As health spokesperson I’m proud to stand with the Tweed Valley community and local Greens representatives, Dawn Walker and Adam Guise in the campaign to retain this vital health service.

“We should be able to provide local birthing services in significant regional centres such as Murwillumbah, for what is such an important event for mothers, fathers and babies.”

 Read the letter to Minister Skinner here

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