Rehab facility to become Lismore's third hospital
LISMORE soon will be home to a third hospital, a 66-bed rehab facility being built by husband and wife medico-entrepreneurs, Daniel Owen and Kerry Ferguson.
Lismore was to be their first hospital project, offering physio and occupational therapy normally found in metropolitan areas.
It was due for completion two years ago. However, due to planning delays, the $12 million project will be the fourth hospital built by Owen Ferguson Health.
Other projects include a specialist plastic surgery facility in Melbourne, a sports surgery unit in Sydney, and an orthopaedic and geriatric facility in Mackay.
English-born Mr Owen has a background in nursing, with 15 years on the floor, and Ms Ferguson is a business management consultant, educated at the University of Armidale. Since the couple first visited the Northern Rivers they have bought property at Georgica, and divided their time between here and everywhere else.
“We have since grown beyond a family business,” Mr Owen said, adding that the business includes a banker, a doctor and a lawyer on the board of directors.
However, Mr Owen was keen to promote the fact that Lismore's newest hospital would add to the 'critical mass' of medical establishments already in Lismore - the Base Hospital, St Vincent's and the medical faculty at SCU.
“The key thing is to recruit staff. When a city like Lismore has three hospitals there is less difficulty doing that,” he said. “You need that medical critical mass to be more attractive to doctors and specialists. The medical fraternity relies on its colleagues. They rely on a deeper pool of expertise.”
By creating this third hospital the Lismore medical establishment will end up with the 'sum being greater than its parts', he said.
Mr Owen said his company understood the importance of its nurses on the floor and that fact reflected in its ability to hire staff.
“We are clinically focused,” he said. “We put our weight behind our nurses. They need to be happy in their work.”