GOULBURN and District Unions held an emergency meeting on Monday night at the Goulburn Soldiers Club to plan a strategy to fight the privatisation of local hospitals.
The meeting was held in response to NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner’s recent announcement that five hospitals across the state – including Goulburn, Bowral, Shellharbour, Maitland and Wyong – would be run by a private-public partnerships, after an Expression of Interest process was completed.
The unions also discussed the recent announcement of the impending closure of the Bourke Street Health Service at the meeting.
Goulburn District Unions president Anna Wurth said about 45 people attended.
“The amount of people there was unexpected, due to the meeting being called at short notice, but threaten people's jobs and their health service and they rally quickly,” Ms Wurth said.
“Health workers are worried about their jobs as Ms Skinner has only guaranteed them two years’ job security.
“The community will be the losers if our hospital is privatised and it goes towards an American-style health service, where health services are not affordable to so many of its citizens.”
Health Services Union organiser for southern NSW Josh Howarth, NSW Nurses and Midwives Association’s Nola Scilinato and NSW Unions representative Mary Yaager attended the meeting.
There were also representatives from unions covering teachers and transport workers.
Mr Howarth said the government was not being completely honest with health staff.
“They say that staff will be guaranteed a job in NSW Health for two years, but they fail to say that Goulburn Base is no longer going to be a NSW Health facility – it will be privately run – so those who opt to stay in NSW Health will have to move away to maintain work, because where will the jobs for NSW Health employees in Goulburn be?” Mr Howarth said.
A rally has been organised for the end of October that will involve a meeting at the Goulburn Base Hospital and a march to Belmore Park. Protesting nurses and other health staff will be calling on all concerned citizens to join them in the march.