FOR more than 40 years the Liverpool Women's Health Centre has provided care to some of the most disadvantaged and marginalised women in the community.
Now there is uncertainty about its future under state government plans to put the service up for competitive tendering.
Centre manager Betty Green said although publicity had helped to secure government funding until June 2015, the issue of competitive tendering of work done by non-government organisations (NGOs) was a serious concern.
"Our centre is one of 23 across the state that works in areas of domestic violence, trauma, sexual assault and a range of other health and social issues," Ms Green said.
"We are experts in women's health and we are a specialist sector.
"Not just anyone can come in and do what we do."
She said most of the women who visited the centre did not use mainstream health services and often did not have their own GP.
"I am concerned about what will happen to them if services are cut, or if for-profit organisations — who will be allowed to tender for the operation of our centre — are brought in," she said.
"The O'Farrell government said there would be no cuts to frontline services. If disadvantaged women can't access these services, how is that not cutting frontline services?"
Ms Green, who has worked in the sector for 27 years, said for-profit organisations would be given an unfair advantage at tendering time.
"Those big for-profit companies have grant writers and HR departments — it's not a level playing field," she said
"Under competitive tendering it all comes down to who can write the best tender . . . little consideration is given to the need for local specialised women's health services."
Health Minister Jillian Skinner said competitive tendering would not be introduced for another two years.
"NGOs, including the Liverpool Women's Health Centre, will be offered funding under contract, which will require them to deliver services for the benefit of the people of NSW," she said.
Based on the last annual report, the centre provided care for almost 11,000 women. There were more than 2500 clinical appointments and around 655 appointments for mental assessments.
Details: Liverpool Women's Health Centre, 26 Bathurst Street, Liverpool. Call: 9601 3555.