Private hospital keels over

Receivers were called in to the Lismore Private Hospital last Wednesday, just days after owners had reassured staff that everything was fine and the facility would remain open.

Around 15 patients had to be moved to other facilities in the region, including Lismore Base hospital, St Vincent’s private hospital and Grafton Hospital. About 70 staff, including administration and cleaning staff were believed to be on the payroll and are now facing an uncertain future.

One registered nurse who had worked at the hospital for six months (and didn’t wish to be named) said the situation had been appallingly managed.

“The owners, Kerry Ferguson and Daniel Owen are the biggest pack of liars that ever walked this Earth,” she said. “On Friday they told us that everything was fine and they would have some good news for us soon, and that Lismore was their baby and it would definitely not be closing.

“They kept lying to us, that’s what hurt the most... I’ve got some casual work at the Base so at least I’ve got something to fall back on, but others could have planned if they’d been told. We’ve got single parents who can’t pay their mortgages... But they kept reassuring people that something was going to happen.”

The nurse said a new Human Resources person and a new Ward Clerk both started work on Monday and were out of work by Thursday.

“Lismore is big enough to support another private hospital and rehab centre, it was just really poorly managed. They weren’t interested in any advice, they never approached the GP in community properly, it’s just such a shame... It was a great place to work. It was lovely working in a new place with a great bunch of nurses.”

The facility is now in the hands of receivers Ferrier Hodgson and it is believed that several health and aged care organisations having been looking at it. It is understood that staff did not receive their last fortnight’s pay, superannuation or leave entitlements.


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