The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) welcomes the return of Mildura Base Hospital back into the public system.
ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said: ‘This is a bold Andrews Government decision that has put the interests of regional Victorians first.
‘This move will re-invigorate the hospital and its ability to recruit and retain nurses and midwives to the far north west corner of the state.
‘The hospital’s nurses and midwives are excited about the news and we already know one midwife, who resigned a while back, has been inspired to update her CV in preparation of a return to the facility’s birthing services.
‘The move also opens up opportunities to introduce innovative health programs so there is less need for residents to travel to Melbourne for health care,’ she said.
The union was heartened earlier this year when Mildura’s independent MP Ali Cupper made her powerful maiden speech in Victorian Parliament signalling health care was at the top of her list of priorities.
‘Ms Cupper articulated a deep empathy with those who rely on universal free health care and described a harrowing experience in the US with a father whose gravely ill daughters fell outside his health insurance.
‘She expressed her angst at the local health dollars for the Mildura community saved instead for shareholders and she noted no other MP was asking for a public-private hospital in their electorate,’ Ms Fitzpatrick said.
‘Premier Daniel Andrews and Health Minister Jenny Mikakos listened to her powerful arguments, listened to the residents and acted in the best interests of one of Victoria’s most isolated communities.
‘What a legacy to achieve in the first few months of her first term as a local MP,’ she said.
‘Congratulations to the Mildura community for their relentless campaigning, their neighbouring communities and generations to come will benefit from their hard work,’ Ms Fitzpatrick said.
The Kennett Coalition government privatised several Victorian public hospitals in the 1990s. The experiment failed and Mildura Base Hospital is the last publicly-owned, privately-operated hospital to return to the public sector. Premier Steve Bracks reclaimed the first, Latrobe Regional Hospital, 19 years ago. Mildura is currently operated by Ramsay Health.