Dr Chris Ingall outside the Lismore Base Hospital, which he says owes many of its suppliers large amounts of money for unpaid accounts.
Dr Chris Ingall outside the Lismore Base Hospital, which he says owes many of its suppliers large amounts of money for unpaid accounts.

Health service owes 'large sums' of money: doctor

LISMORE paediatrician Dr Chris Ingall says the North Coast Area Health Service owes Lismore Base Hospital suppliers large sums of money.

“I know of people who are owed five and six figure amounts,” Dr Ingall said.

The comments come just weeks after the health service rejected claims by Lismore MP Thomas George and Tweed MP Geoff Provest that some hospitals owed suppliers tens of thousands of dollars, and that some businesses were being pushed to the wall by the health service's refusal to pay.

However, Dr Ingall backed the MPs, saying suppliers did not want to be named because they were afraid they would lose their supply contracts with hospitals.

“They are reluctant to go public,” he said.

Yesterday, Mr George said Dr Ingall's comments verified his concerns.

Mr George said he wanted the people who were owed money to be paid.

“What does a small business do when they are owed money by one of their major customers,” he said.

“They depend on the North Coast Area Health Service.”

Mr George said that since he had raised concerns about unpaid suppliers the service had started to pay up some of the money it owed.

“It's marvellous some people have been paid money, but prior to our concerns being registered their pleas were falling on deaf ears,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the North Coast Area Health Service said it was liaising with its suppliers to enable payment of accounts.

The spokeswoman said it was misleading to say suppliers of goods or services would face retribution for raising their concerns.

“Any supplier with a query about an account should contact us to discuss payment,” the spokeswoman said.



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