Private hospital questioned
LACK of direction and planning is at the root of problems surrounding Lismore Private Hospital, according to a former nurse who spoke out yesterday.
Speaking anonymously, the nurse blamed lack of communication between the hospital’s owners – Owen Ferguson Health – and staff. The situation deteriorated after they realised they were not being paid superannuation entitlements.
Owen Ferguson Health made headlines in the Sydney media this week over the sudden closure of its Canada Bay facility in Sydney, which co-owner Daniel Owen blamed on the failure of an air conditioning system, and a legal stoush with his landlords.
However, property owners of Lismore Private Hospital, the Australian Public Trustees, yesterday confirmed there was no issue with Owen Ferguson Health.
“We are committed to keeping the hospital open and supporting private hospital services in the Lismore community,” said spokesman Ian Hanke.
The anonymous nurse who spoke to The Northern Star said it was well known that medical suppliers had accounts outstanding with Lismore Private Hospital, another issue that is plaguing the ambitious private health company.
“Staff put in so much effort into commissioning the hospital,” said the nurse. “We never expected things to run smoothly, but six months into it we found our super wasn’t being paid at all.”
Individual pay slips stated that the super had been paid, but quarterly results from actual superannuation schemes revealed otherwise. The truth was revealed only after one staff member probed further, and realised substantial money owed to her super through a salary sacrifice scheme wasnever paid.
Accounts owed to suppliers are another issue which is problematic throughout the private health group.
“The unpaid bills to suppliers is shocking,” said the anonymous nurse. “This is money owed to local people for medical equipment used to establish the facility.
“This is because there was no preplanning. They didn’t have the systems set up to fulfil the opening of a new hospital.”
However co-owner Daniel Owen said yesterday superannuation entitlements owed to staff were being sorted with the Australian Tax Office.
“There are issues across the group with super and we’re working to resolve them,” he said.
There were no plans to close the Lismore facility.
“Lismore is providing a valuable service,” he said.