Nurses union takes up fight to keep hospital in public hands

Monday 18th March, 2013

The Queensland Nurses Union has launched an attack on State Government moves to place the running of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital in private hands.

A glossy brochure has been produced, urging concerned residents to make their voices heard. The union will also hold a public meeting at Nambour on March 23.

Last month Health Minister Lawrence Springborg confirmed the State Government was pursuing the outsourcing  of public health delivery to the private sector at the yet-to-be-built Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

The move was greeted with howls of protest from the health sector, with experts claiming that placing public health delivery in private hands would have a negative effect on those most in need of the services.

In a Sunshine Coast Daily online poll at the time, 77% of respondents said they believed the running of the hospital should be left in government hands.

In its brochure, the nurses union says the government move is "a devastating blow for everyone in the Sunshine Coast hospital and health service".

"The motivating factor behind privately-run public hospitals is profit. Private health service providers have shown they will curtail health services and turn away patients with complex health issues when times are tight," the brochure says.

"Privately-run public hospitals have a track record of delivering worse outcomes and accountability than state-run public hospitals.

"The claim by Health Minister Lawrence Springborg that services under a privatised hospital will be the same as under a public system is fanciful at best.

"High-care patients are not a profitable enterprise, and there is good reason to believe they will not be welcome in a privatised SCUH.

"Elderly patients with multiple health problems are unlikely to receive the same level of care, and may be sent to an overloaded public facility in Brisbane."

The brochure and an online campaign urge concerned residents to write letters to the Sunshine Coast Daily and leave online comments, as well as contacting talk-back radio and signing an online petition at

The Nambour public meeting will be held on March 23 at the CWA hall, Short St, from 10am to 11am.

Mr Springborg's office was approached for a response but no reply has been received.

Do you support the nurses' fight to keep Sunshine Coast University Hospital in public hands?