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February 2, 2023

South Australian hospitals are facing a potential shortage of beds following widespread shortages of linen.

The privatised laundry which holds the SA Health contract is currently not keeping up with demand and knock-on effects are beginning to being felt in the State’s hospitals.

The United Workers Union (UWU) is calling on Health Minister Chris Picton to address the culture of outsourcing that is affecting service delivery across essential services.

UWU coordinator Kimberley Rowney said while the immediate shortage of linen needed to be remedied, the Government should also be investigating whether its reliance on private operators is sustainable in the long-term.

“The root of the problem has been an ongoing culture of outsourcing that means many
essential services inside hospitals are being run by private providers in the name of seeking lower and lower costs,” Ms Rowney said.

“But in offloading the linen cleaning service, the public ends up ultimately paying the price.

“It’s not just happening in laundries, there are heaps of private companies operating within our public hospitals and in the vast majority of cases those private operators are falling short on service delivery and definitely falling short on workers’ wages and conditions.”

UWU represents workers across the health system as well as workers in commercial laundries.

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