June 9 - 15, 2019: Issue 408


NSW Upper House to hold Inquiry into Northern Beaches Hospital

The Northern Beaches Hospital will be scrutinised by a NSW parliamentary committee, with the power to subpoena past and present staff. On Thursday, June 6th, Labor Shadow Health Minister Walter Secord tabled a Motion which read;

1.That Portfolio Committee No. 2 – Health inquire into and report on the operation and management of the Northern Beaches Hospital, and in particular:

(a)the contract and other arrangements establishing the hospital;

(b)changes to the contract and other arrangements since the opening of the hospital;

(c)ongoing arrangements for the operation and maintenance of the hospital;

(d)standards of service provision and care at the hospital;

(e)staffing arrangements and staffing changes at the hospital;

(f)the impact of the hospital on surrounding communities and health facilities, particularly Mona Vale Hospital, Manly Hospital and Royal North Shore Hospital;

(g)the merits of public private partnership arrangements for the provision of health care; and

(h)any other related matter.

2.That the committee report by the first sitting day in 2020.

Labor Shadow Health Minister Walter Secord said he pushed for the parliamentary inquiry because the Auditor-General cannot examine the performance or operations of the $600 million hospital as it is a public-private partnership. On May 8th he tabled the Public Finance and Audit Amendment (Northern Beaches Hospital) Bill 2019 - Long Title: An Act to amend the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 to authorise the Auditor-General to conduct performance audits of the Northern Beaches Hospital - which is also due for its second Debate.

The 488-bed hospital opened in late-October last year but from day one has been marred by reports of shortages of essential drugs and medical equipment, understaffing and industrial disputes. Anaesthetists threatened to cancel elective surgery over concerns for patient and staff safety within hours of the hospital's opening.

The day after the official ribbon-cutting, the hospital's chief executive Deborah Latta resigned. The departure of the hospital's medical director followed soon after.

Labor's health spokesman Walt Secord said the upper house committee would "help lift the cloak of secrecy surrounding the private-public partnership (PPP)”.

“The community spends hundreds of millions of dollars on the hospital and the community is entitled to know about the failures of the scandal-plagued Northern Beaches Hospital and why it is not performing," he said in a statement.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard has said the establishment of the inquiry was unfair "to the staff who are working hard for patients" and a "distraction which will impact on staff morale".

“There have been challenges, as there always are, in getting a brand new hospital up and running. Whilst there are very positive outcomes for patients every day, these challenges will continue to some degree - as happens with all new hospitals," he said.

“This is a cynical exercise by a Labor Party that never delivered any new health facilities for northern beaches residents and now, is focusing on being wreckers, not builders." Mr. Hazzard said

Mr Secord said community activists on the northern beaches had been "tireless" in their efforts to highlight problems at the hospital.

“This is a victory in the fight for openness and transparency within the Berejiklian government," he said.

“The NSW parliamentary committee inquiry into the Northern Beaches Hospital will have the power to subpoena witnesses and documents.”

The Berejiklian government provided $600 million to build the hospital and is expected to provide a further $2.14 billion to the private operators over the life of the contract which is until 2038.

Private operator Healthscope initially ran the hospital but earlier this year the company agreed to a $4.4 billion takeover by Canadian investment firm Brookfield.

The inquiry will hear evidence from community groups, past and present hospital staff, medical bodies, unions, taxation experts and the corporations involved in the PPP.

It will look into the operation and maintenance of the hospital, standards of care, staffing arrangements and staff turnover. It will also investigate, as stated above, the "merits of public-private partnership arrangements for the provision of health care".

The inquiry, chaired by Labor's Greg Donnelly, states in its parameters that it will also investigate the impact of the hospital on nearby Mona Vale, Manly, and Royal North Shore hospitals.

The Save Mona Vale Hospital Committee congratulates Walt Secord, The Shadow Minister for Health, for successfully moving a motion for a wide-ranging enquiry into the privatised Northern Beaches Hospital. 

“The Northern Beaches Hospital is neither accountable nor transparent, “ said Parry Thomas, Save Mona Vale Hospital Chair.  “The NSW Government has replaced two public hospitals with a hospital that has a two tier system that favours private patients and has been beset with problems since it opened.” 

Healthscope, whose shareholders have voted for the acquisition by Brookfield, runs the hospital. “Brookfield is a tax dodging outfit based in the Cayman Islands,” said Mr Thomas.  The NSW Government has invested $600m into the new hospital. 

“The time and distance for upper Northern Beaches residents to travel to the Northern Beaches Hospital is too great and the Wakehurst Parkway is often closed due to flooding, fallen trees or bushfires,” said Mr Thomas. 

“It is 28 km for Palm Beach residents to travel to the Northern Beaches Hospital – that’s the same distance as Bondi to French’s Forest. Our population is increasing, but the Northern Beaches Hospital has a greater catchment than Manly and Mona Vale Hospitals combined.“

The Save Mona Vale Hospital Committee hopes enquiry will not only scrutinise the Northern Beaches Hospital, but lead to Mona Vale Hospital re-opening as a Level 3 acute care hospital with services such as Emergency, surgery and maternity, that supports the new Northern Beaches Hospital. 


Future Hospital Treatment and Access In Pittwater Unacceptable, Says Local Surgery Professor by Miranda Korzy

Q&A With Greg Bruce: Health Services Union Ambulance Councillor And Serving Paramedic by Protect Pittwater Association

Palm Beach As Far From New Northern Beaches Hospital As Bondi by Protect Pittwater Association

Community Push To Save Mona Vale HospitalBig Picnic to be held on Sunday 16 September from 11.30 am to 2.30 at Robert Dunn Reserve, rally to follow in October - from Protect Pittwater Organisation and Save Mona Vale Hospital Committee

Sea Eagles Footy Legend Max Brown Joins Fight To Save Mona Vale Hospital - Big Picnic to be held on Sunday 16 September 11.30 am to 2.30 at Robert Dunn Reserve, rally to follow in October - from Protect Pittwater Organisation and Save Mona Vale Hospital Committee + Community News Issue 375

New Auxiliary Kiosk At Mona Vale Hospital - from Office of Rob Stokes, MP for Pittwater

Hospital Campaigners Call For Government Transparency - Save Mona Vale Hospital campaigners are calling on the NSW Government to come clean about what services will be available after the hospital’s emergency department closes next month: Community Picnic beside MVH today (Sunday Sept. 16 - 11:30 to 3pm) Rally and March on Oct. 14

Upgrade, Not Demolition Needed At Mona Vale Hospital: Phelps by Save Mona Vale Hospital Committee

Former Pittwater Mayor Urges Community to Join Hospital Protest: Rally in Mona Vale Village Park October 14th followed by March

Shane Withington: Get Your Boots On For Mona Vale Hospital Rally & March Today! - 11am to 2pm, Sunday October 14- Muster at MV Village Park then March to MVH

Camden-Campbelltown Hospitals & Carrington Convalescent Hospital: A Mona Vale-Frenchs' Forest Hospitals Comparison With Pittwater History Links - Documents reveal MVH 'will have a rehabilitation, aged care and palliative care focus' - 'The Urgent Care Centre service will be: 24/7 in the first 12 months with a plan to conduct an utilisation review to determine usage/ demand' - 'Patients who access the service will: Not require admission to a hospital'

Independent Win In Wentworth Sends A Warning Over Mona Vale Hospital As Campaign Continues by Miranda Korzy

Mona Vale Hospital Emergency Services from Rob Stokes, MP for Pittwater

Medical Services on the Northern Beaches from A/Professor Richard West AM MB.BS(Syd) FRACS FRCS(ENG), VMO Surgeon Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, President Palm Beach & Whale Beach Association

Community News Issue 380: Should MVH Site be given over to for-profit Health Providers?, Greens MP Calls On State Parliament To Save Mona Vale Hospital Services

Silent Protest at Mona Vale Hospital “Closing Day: 8.30 a.m. Oct. 31, at the hospital

Patients Forced To Travel Out Of Area After Mona Vale Hospital Downgraded 

Treatment To Go Ahead For Avalon Gentleman Refused Angiogram At NBH

Mona Vale Hospital Supporters To Hold Wake At Parliament House on November 16

Major New Hospital Condemned For Lack Of Public Birth Centre by Professor of Midwifery

Save Mona Vale Hospital Group Call For Return Of Services To MVH In Wake Of Numerous Northern Beaches Hospital Emergency Department 'Fail' Reports

Campaigners Say Networked Solution The Way Forward For Beaches Hospitals 

Health Chief Admits Northern Beaches Hospital Has Struggled Since Opening by Miranda Korzy - The Greens State Election Candidate for Pittwater 

Hospital Nightmare Continues on the Northern Beaches: Toddler sent home ends up on drip at RNSH

Hospital Protest and S*H*A*M* Mobile Hospital Coming To Pittwater In February 

Residents To Protest Hospital Service Closures At Mona Vale Meeting: Tuesday, February 5, from 7 to 9pm at Pittwater RSL Club + Brookfield Business Partners L.P announces agreement to acquire up to 100% of Healthscope Limited + NSW Shadow Minister for Health demands takeover of Healthscope (which runs the Northern Beaches Hospital) be referred to the Foreign Investment Review Board

Greens to Launch Pittwater Campaign Supporting Mona Vale Hospital - Saturday Feb. 9th - all welcome

Community Adamant: We Need Level 3 Services At Mona Vale Hospital -  Save MVH Meeting held Feb 5th

Greens Launch Pittwater Campaign With Focus On Mona Vale Hospital - Candidate is Avalon resident Miranda Korzy

Save Mona Vale Hospital Supporters Dawn Vigil As Tender For New Works Close: Next Protest Meeting At Mona Vale Village Green - March 16th

NSW Election An Opportunity To Regain Local Government & M.V. Hospital Voice Protect Pittwater Members State 

Save Mona Vale Hospital Committee Calls For Voters To Send Message At State Poll 

Local Groups Vow To Continue Return Mona Vale Hospital and Return Pittwater Council Campaigns: Post State Election