The state has asked for expressions of interest from non-government hospital operators to redevelop Maitland, Wyong, Goulburn and Shellharbour hospitals and to help deliver services at Bowral Hospital. Skinner said.
The operators will build the hospitals and then run them on behalf of the government, Skinner said.
"These communities have been waiting for decades. These innovative partnerships will deliver upgraded hospitals with more services and choices for care, which will be provided at the highest standards," she said.
"The NSW government will continue to cover the cost of public patients who will receive free hospital treatment, just as they do now. If we are to manage a growing and ageing population with increasingly complex health needs, we must have a sustainable health system. Partnering with non-government hospital operators will allow us to maintain quality healthcare while delivering the best value for NSW taxpayers," Skinner said.
Current permanent staff will be offered work in the new hospitals "provided an equivalent position exists", she said.
Infrastructure expert Simela Karasavidis of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said: "The healthcare industry has been eagerly awaiting NSW Health’s five operator-led hospital public private partnerships. While fine-tuning the models has delayed the procurement process, industry participants are now keen to see if the models do attract the not-for-profit hospital operators or any new for-profit hospital operators. The industry is also keen to see how traditional equity providers and funders will fit into the new arrangements."