Private hospital financially fit
LISMORE’S new private hospital is here for the long haul, its director Kerry Ferguson said yesterday, squashing rumours the hospital was in financial trouble.
Rumours about the financial viability of the 66-bed medical and rehabilitation hospital, owned by Owen Ferguson Health, were sparked when the property trust that owned the hospital buildings put two of the sites up for sale.
“Essentially we just lease the buildings,” she said. “The trust and the medical side are two separate parties. We are tenants, we are not in financial stress.
“The hospital is tracking to budget so we are happy how things are going.
“We have invested pretty heavily in Lismore so we are not about to leave unlesssomeone comes along with a great big cheque.”
The Lismore Private Hospital opened last year, with the building costing about $12 million and the medical side another $5 million.
One rehabilitation doctor has already moved to Lismore to take up a position at the hospital, and other medical appointments are planned for later this year, Ms Ferguson said.
She said like most small businesses the hospital had been hit by the global financial crisis.
“It’s been a problem and, just like everybody, we are finding it difficult to deal with the banks,” she said.
“As (former prime minister) Paul Keating said, there are four banks in this country and god help you if you fall out with one of them.”
Chief executive John Hadjis conceded that the hospital had been slow in paying some of its suppliers, but said this was because private health funds had been tardy in paying medical bills.
He also said technical difficulties associated with offering employees a choice of superannuation funds meant some payments were not made on time.