A doctors’ union has accused the state government of putting “blind ideology” ahead of public safety by planning to privately run the new Maitland hospital.

Australian Salaried Medical Officers’ Federation executive director Andrew Holland slammed the privatisation plan in front of a public a rally of about 700 people at Maitland Park on Saturday.

“What they are doing is putting blind ideology – a blind commitment to the private sector – ahead of public safety and public care,” he said.

“We have a public health system that remains the envy of the world.

“For my members, the doctors, the teaching hospital is the cornerstone of clinical and medical education. That teaching of junior doctors, public safety and quality of care is being put at risk by this Liberal government.

“It’s all because of an ideological obsession with privatisation and attacking public services. It’s an attack we must all oppose.”

NSW Nurse and Midwives Association general secretary Brett Holmes said Maitland should be heartened by the government’s decision not to privatise Goulburn Hospital.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner confirmed on Thursday that the public-private partnership for Goulburn hospital would not go ahead because there was “not sufficient interest” from the private sector.

But at Sunday’s rally, Mr Holmes pointed out that the Goulburn facility was in Assistant Health Minister Pru Goward’s electorate.

He said it was the only hospital on the privatisation list in the electorate of a government minister.

Mr Holmes also zeroed in on the frequent comparisons between the new Maitland hospital and the Calvary Mater in Newcastle.

“Affiliated health organisations, like the Mater, are under direct funding obligations to deliver public health services on a like-for-like basis, as their public hospital colleagues,” he said.

“The minister and her local mouthpieces are comparing apples with oranges.”

Labor’s spokesperson for the Hunter Kate Washington said privatisation had occurred, on average, once every 24 days since 2011. Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison urged protesters to sign a community petition so the matter could be tabled and debated in parliament.

The story Hundreds rally against hospital privatisation | PHOTOS first appeared on The Maitland Mercury.

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