Recent stories in the media regarding the Barnett government's plans for Royal Perth Hospital are throwing up a few all-too-familiar red flags. With an election promise to retain and redevelop RPH but with no money to do it, it seems the Premier is turning to his familiar strategy of privatisation to plug the many holes in his rhetoric - and budget.
We've heard that RPH - with the help of potential private overseas investors - may become a "medical tourism" hospital for elective surgeries for international visitors, yet we struggle to service our local population for those same surgeries.
Plans to privatise the management of the hospital is also no real surprise, given this government's track record. With the disaster that is Fiona Stanley Hospital and Serco, and the removal of essential services at Midland Hospital because of religious restrictions on abortion and contraceptive services by health providers, St John of God, when will the Premier learn that privatisation is not the way?
Acting WA Health Director-General Bryant Stokes has admitted that more scrutiny is required when sourcing private contractors.
Private players are about profit. Public hospitals should be about providing services.
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