THERE were emotional scenes at the Lismore Private Hospital on Friday as receivers were forced to close the beleaguered facility.
Ferrier Hodgson partner Morgan Kelly, who has been appointed receiver and manager of the facility, said the closure was regrettable, but unavoidable.
“Our number one priority has been the safety and health of the patients, and it is clear that it is in the best interests of the patients to move them out of this facility,” he said.
“We have been able to find suitable alternative facilities for all patients who had been staying here. We are acutely aware of how difficult this is for patients, families and staff and have worked to find the least disruptive solution.”
Mr Kelly said that the hospital’s closure had come about through a combination of undercapitalisation and poor management.
NSW Nurses’ Association organisers drove up from Sydney to assist nurses who, like other staff, hadn’t been paid for up to three weeks. One organiser even gave a member money for petrol to get home.
NSWNA North Coast organiser Jo Anne McKeough said the association had waived fees for nurses for two months and put in place other means of assistance.
“It was horrendous in there on Friday. Staff were crying, patients were crying. It is disgraceful that the owners haven’t been near the staff,” she said.
“They have repeatedly lied to the staff and deliberately misled them.
“Since last year we have identified a range of breaches at Lismore Private Hospital, including no Director of Nursing.”
Gil Wilson, who happens to be a NSWNA delegate at Lismore Base Hospital, had just admitted his father to the facility for palliative care last Wednesday, after being so impressed by the staff when his grandmother was in the facility.
“My heart goes out to them. The nurses and all the staff there are a testament to their professions. It’s fantastic the work they do over there. They are so dedicated to keep looking after their patients without pay for three weeks.”
NSWNA general secretary Brett Holmes said yesterday the association would continue do all it could to assist its members in Lismore.
“These are fantastic people to do such amazing work with little support,” he said.
“They had no medical back-up after hours and were basically lied to by the owners.
“It was very distressing for nurses committed to providing quality care.”