PPP Frankston Hospital Members Update

PENINSULA HEALTH HWU MEMBERS UPDATE ON THE PRIVATISATION OF NON-CLINICAL JOBS AT FRANKSTON HOSPITAL 

Dear Peninsula Health HWU member, 

As you know, the Victorian Government has recently put out a tender for a Private Public Partnership for its plans to rebuild and extend parts of Frankston Hospital. The Private Public Partnership requires that all non-clinical roles be contracted out to a private provider. 

The $563 million Frankston Hospital project was first announced via a press release on 10 September, 2018 , by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. (Click below document to read press release).  Nowhere in this press release is there any mention of a Private Public Partnership. Frankston Hospital has always been a community-based hospital. The private sector has no business in its operations. It is a disgrace that a 'Labor' government is now pursuing a hospital privatisation agenda not seen since the days of Liberal Premier, Jeff Kennett.  

Under this disgraceful plan, all non-clinical roles are set to go – including Cleaners, Patient Services Assistants, Administration Workers (including Receptionists, Ward Clerks, Human Resources), Security Officers, Food Services Assistants, Cooks and Kitchen Workers, and Storepersons, just to name a few.  

There are several reasons why the HWU objects to this Private Public Partnership and the contracting out of non-clinical roles. Firstly, there is the public health criterion. Non-clinical services, are performed at a higher quality in the public sector. It is dangerous to outsource these roles, like cleaners for instance, in the middle of a pandemic. Our experience is that private contractors will always be more interested in cutting costs to maximise profits than the general health and well-being of the community.  

Secondly, the pay and working conditions provided by private contractors to health workers performing non-clinical roles is inferior. It is more difficult to negotiate pay outcomes in enterprise agreements that are on par with the public sector. It is also our experience that once a contractor secures a contract, there is a gradual erosion of the amount of staff rostered on. Jobs and hours are cut and chronic understaffing takes hold. Again, the core goal for a private contractor is to maximise company profits at the expense of their own workforce and community health and wellbeing. 

The HWU is vehemently opposed to non-clinical roles at Frankston Hospital being contacted out to private providers (and any other Victorian public hospital for that matter) via this Public Private Partnership process.  That’s why, the HWU has now launched formal legal action against Peninsula Health to stop this process. (Click letter below to read legal correspondance). 

The HWU first became aware of the government’s intentions on Monday, 21 September in a 30 minute meeting with then Health Minister, Jenny Mikakos. We voiced our strong objection to the Victorian government’s plan. Following this meeting, the HWU called on Premier Daniel Andrews to sack Ms Mikakos. (Click document below to read letter to Premier Andrews). Within 2 days of this letter, Ms Mikakos resigned. 

We have given Peninsula Health ample opportunity to respond to our demands. Their response so far has been unsatisfactory. On Monday, 12 October, the Health Workers Union entered Frankston Hospital under Right of Entry workplace legislation to obtain all relevant documentation provided to Peninsula Health by the Victorian Government in relation to the PPP proposal. Peninsula Health refused to hand over any documents. 

The HWU is now formally proceeding with legal action on behalf of our Peninsula Health members to attempt to stop this proposal. (Click document below to read legal letter). 

We can’t be relying on legal action alone to win this fight. This week, HWU Secretary, Diana Asmar, informed the new Victorian Health Minister, Martin Foley, of the union’s intention to launch a community campaign against the government’s hospital privatization agenda. In the coming weeks, the HWU will be calling on all its Peninsula Health members and Delegates to work with the union to apply maximum pressure on the Victorian government. We must all work together to win this battle against privatization of non-clinical jobs. A line on the sand must be drawn at Frankston Hospital.  

We’ll be keeping all Peninsula Health HWU members informed about our campaign activities events over the coming weeks. We must stay united. Together, we can stop the Victorian Government’s plan to privatise non-clinical jobs at Frankston Hospital.  

If you have any questions, please call the HWU on (03) 9341 3300.  

Premier Andrews Press Release Frankston Hospital Rebuild 2018

Letter to Premier Re PPP and Mikakos

Legal Letter Sent to Peninsula Health