The country’s largest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), has welcomed the Australian Government’s Private Hospital Viability and Capacity Guarantee (‘Guarantee’) which will ensure the viability of private hospitals and save the jobs of nurses, midwives and other health workers, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Guarantee will see private and public hospitals work together on a coordinated Australian emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Federal Government agreeing to fund 50/50 of generated activity with the states and territories and underwrite the gap between revenue received and private hospitals’ fixed costs.
In commending the Government, ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler, said the Guarantee would underwrite the operations of 657 private hospitals across Australia to ensure that all available resources are dedicated to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The Guarantee’s conditions will further ensure the retention of the nursing, midwifery and other health workforces for the duration of the pandemic in Australia.
“This is a significant step in ensuring a united and coordinated response in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Butler said.
“To combat COVID-19 and protect the health and well-being of all Australians we need to use all resources available. This includes utilising the significant skills of nurses, midwives, doctors and others, guaranteeing job security for them and physical resources, such as ICU beds, ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) for the best care and treatment of COVID-19 patients.
“Significantly, the Government’s arrangements require the private sector to act as not-for-profit organisations for the duration of the Guarantee. As part of the agreement, any private hospital profits will be used to offset fixed operational costs and operators will be required to ‘open their books;’ for audit purposes. These arrangements will be reviewed regularly throughout the pandemic response.
“Most importantly, the step taken by the Government today will increase our chances of combatting COVID-19 in Australia,” Ms Butler said.