Speculation suggests a takeover of Lismore Private Hospital is imminent.
Speculation suggests a takeover of Lismore Private Hospital is imminent. david nielsen

Hospital's future in the balance

THE FUTURE of Lismore Private Hospital still hangs in the balance despite rumours of a combined takeover by the North Coast Area Health Service and St Vincent’s Private Hospital.

A spokesman for the owner of the building and the property, Australian Public Trustees, would not confirm the rumour yesterday though indicated an announcement on the future of the facility was imminent – possibly as early as next Thursday.

Australian Public Trustees has been seeking new operators for Lismore Private Hospital, and another hospital in Mackay, Queensland, since Owen Ferguson Health was placed in receivership in February.

Administrators were called in to the 66-bed rehabilitation facility immediately following the announcement.

While both the owners and operators have said the hospital was a profitable concern, receivers said they were forced to close the doors citing undercapitalisation and poor management as the key reasons.

The closure caused chaos for patients and staff.

An initial report from the administrators indicated the directors, Kerry Ferguson and Daniel Owen, had traded while insolvent and it recommended the Australian Securities and Investment Commission consider prosecution for poor record keeping.

While St Vincent’s Private Hospital and the North Coast Area Health Service might seem unlikely hospital bedfellows, there is really no other local party with the capacity or expertise to take over the facility.

With job cuts continuing at Lismore Base Hospital, NSW Nurses Association general secretary Brett Holmes welcomed any prospect of Lismore Private Hospital reopening.

“We’ve always been hopeful a newoperator could be found, and I’m sure the nurses who previously worked there would be very keen to see more employment opportunities and a new credible operator.”

The health service’s chief executive, Chris Crawford, was unavailable for comment yesterday and St Vincent’s staff could not confirm the merger.



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