No saviour on horizon for hospital

THE future of the canned Lismore Private Hospital looks set to remain in limbo after health boss Chris Crawford revealed the North Coast Area Health Service was yet to decide if it even wanted the facility.

The hospital closed dramatically in late February after months of problems faced by its owner, Owen-Ferguson Health, in its hospitals across Australia.

Only days before ‘men in suits’ arrived to tell staff and patients they would have to go, part-owner Daniel Ferguson, and the site’s owner, the Public Trustee, were assuring the public the Lismore Private Hospital was sound and would continue to operate.

Since then, attention has turned to efforts to revive the hospital, with suggestions from the trustee that the North Coast Area Health Service and St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Lismore, could join forces to reopen it.

However, Mr Crawford yesterday said the Area Health Service and St Vincent’s had not yet directly discussed the plan. Mr Crawford said he knew of four or five local organisations interested in a role in a revived Lismore Private Hospital and an ‘informal meeting’ between all interested parties would be held within the next few weeks.

“It’s very early days yet,” he said.

Even the health service’s role in the hospital’s future was not assured, with Mr Crawford saying any decision to step in would have to be funded through the service’s existing budget and NCAHS administrators would have to be convinced that investment would improve local health services.

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