A petition calling for the new Maitland Hospital to be fully publicly run and publicly funded will be debated in NSW Parliament on Thursday afternoon.
A bus load of Hunter residents will travel to Macquarie Street on Thursday morning, where the 17,000-signature petition will be discussed in the lower house at about 4.30pm.
It comes after the state government announced in July that it would seek expressions of interest from the not-for-profit sector to build and run the new health facility at Metford.
The announcement was criticised by Labor and the unions, who said the hospital should a fully public facility.
At the time, Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the new hospital would provide public health care to public patients, even under the management of the not-for-profit sector.
Executive director of doctors’ union ASMOF Andrew Holland said on Thursday that privatisation would take resources away from patient care.
“We will continue to fight this privatisation, tooth and nail,” he said.
Nurse Jane Burton, who is a representative of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association’s Maitland branch, said resources at Maitland Hospital were already being drained.
“We can't be squeezed any further,” she said.