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Thanks to the great work of the HSU NSW and all their members who have fought the privatisation from the very beginning. The government has learned this lesson the hard way, but it clearly goes to show that hospitals and healthcare need to remain in public hands to ensure the best service for workers and patients alike.

An eight ­year experiment that saw multinational ISS Health Services provide cleaning and catering services at Royal North Shore Hospital has been quietly axed by NSW Health, with hospital staff told the work will return to public hands next month.

Northern Sydney Local Health District acting chief executive Dr Andrew Montague wrote to all staff to advise them that from April 28: “the soft services such as cleaning and domestic services, patient catering and linen which are currently provided by ISS at Royal North Shore Hospital will transition to HealthShare NSW”.

The decision comes despite a NSW Government intervention in 2012 that followed revelations that a critical shortage of staff was seriously impacting on the welfare of patients at the hospital.

Health Services Union NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said that the decision to end the contract — which began in 2008 as part of a $1.1 billion redevelopment of Royal North Shore Hospital — was clear evidence the ideologically­driven privatisation agenda in the NSW health system had failed.

"NSW Health's decision to return cleaning, catering and support services at Royal North Shore Hospital to public hands is a clear admission that the privatisation of essential health services simply doesn't work,” Mr Hayes said.

"By refusing to renew the contract, and instead have public staff return from next month, NSW Health have conceded that their privatisation experiment has failed spectacularly.

"This decision confirms that there is simply no benefit to patients, or the public purse, from the privatisation or contracting­out of our public health services."

Mr Hayes said the decision followed on from other spectacular failures in recent years, most notably the buy­back of the privately­operated Port Macquarie Base Hospital.

“As our members have been saying all along, there is simply no place for profit­driven multinational corporations in our public hospitals,” he said.

"Our health system has suffered due to the ideologically­driven push to outsource and privatise services.

“Our union will continue to fight against privatisation and the contracting out of hospital services, ensuring our health system is run only in the interest of patients, not shareholders.”

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