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ACT Government looking to buy out Calvary Hospital

By johnboy 21 April 2009 24

It’s been a little mad that for a number of years one of Canberra’s two public hospitals has been privately owned.

The ABC informs us that our Government is now planning to sort this out by buying the hospital from the Little Company of Mary.

The LCM would then build a new private hospital, which would also be excellent news, and Calvary could be used for matters relating to IVF and abortion.

One almost wonders why it took so long?

UPDATED: The Liberals’ Jeremy Hanson is surprised by this news and want to know a lot more about the deal:

    “This proposal potentially presents a significant cost to the ACT taxpayer and it remains to be seen where this additional funding will come from. Before the Opposition would support any plan to buy Calvary, the Health Minister must answer the following questions:

    What is the full cost of buying Calvary Hospital? What impact will this have on Ms Gallagher’s plan for seven years of budget deficits? What other health services will be compromised to fund this takeover? What of the urgent priorities that already exist within our health system? What are the longer term cost implications of running and upgrading Calvary? Will the same level of service currently offered at Calvary be sustained if the hospital is publically run?


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24 Responses to
ACT Government looking to buy out Calvary Hospital
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Ian 7:04 pm 23 Apr 09

oops sorry – dropped the f bomb.

Ian 7:03 pm 23 Apr 09

I’ve had only good experiences at Calvary – both private and public. Hopefully if the govt purchases it they don’t fuck it up (however, I suspect that is a forlorn hope).

gun street girl 5:26 pm 23 Apr 09

RayP said :

Thanks for that OCMC.

It’s interesting that Calvary have better operating facilities but are sending surgery cases to TCH.

TCH is planning to re-haul its operating theatres (at great expense) in its upgrade. Calvary has always had the lion’s share of elective surgery cases (helped along by aggressive recruitment of surgeons), but TCH has always been the main centre for trauma and complex cases. It has a bigger ED, a bigger and more powerful ICU, and a much greater and broader medical support. It would be difficult to expand to complex and trauma services at Calvary, given that it’s already well established at TCH.

RayP 12:22 pm 23 Apr 09

Thanks for that OCMC.

It’s interesting that Calvary have better operating facilities but are sending surgery cases to TCH.

It’s also interesting that one can learn about things bit by bit from discussions on Riotact.

OCMC 4:23 am 23 Apr 09

This is a brilliant outcome, now Calvery can lift their weight with trauma surgery. Take orthopaedics for instance previously Calvary would only do elective ortho surgery eg total hip replacements not broken hips from falls etc, this would put extra burden on TCH. Even though I believe Calvary have better operating facilities. This should reduce waiting list times. Worth every cent.

And the collective term for nurses is a team.

emd 10:08 pm 22 Apr 09

There is some research to show that a tubal ligation during a caesarean has a higher failure rate. But I still think it sucks that the only place women can get a tubal ligation in the ACT is TCH. I understand Calvary Private restricting services based on the organisation’s values, but Calvary Public should surely be able to provide all the same non-tertiary services as TCH if it’s being funded by ACT Govt.

On the topic of how much it costs to build a new hospital, $100M may not be enough to build a new public hospital offering the same service as current Calvary Public. The $90M for the women’s & children’s is a subset of services, and is being built around an existing building – more like a wing of an existing hospital than a completely new hospital.

gun street girl 6:25 pm 22 Apr 09

housebound said :

Failing a business case to actually emerge, it seems to me that $100 million is the price-tage on ideology because all we get for the money is to remove the Catholics. In that case, since ideology is priceless, the nuns should be asking for a lot more.

I think they are looking to weed out the administration, rather than the religion/idealogy per se. Calvary needs expansion, and I suspect ACT Health are unwilling to sink any more money into the hospital whilst it is under its current management. It would also put an end to the difficulties we currently encounter in trying to liaise and provide between facilities.

MsCheeky 2:08 pm 22 Apr 09

On a kinda related note, the father of a male friend of mine has been on the tenth floor of the Woden hospital for over two weeks now. My friend insisted I come into the male public toilet on that floor to show me the, er, debris, in the urinal. He said it has been there for over two weeks now. Now, I wouldn’t want to be the one cleaning it, but to leave it there? Same friend reported that someone had spilled some soft drink in a corridor, and as people walked through it, the floor became more and more filthy, and that remained for about a week before the floor was mopped.

And this is a health facility?

RayP 10:33 am 22 Apr 09

Er, Johnboy, I am not so sure.

It is true that public hospitals and private hospitals do different things to some extent. The public hospitals do both the really complex specialist surgery and the emergency treatment.

But beyond that, there can be a lot of overlap between what public and private hospitals do. Various sorts of reasonably complex surgery does seem to get done in private hospitals. And Calvary already seems to be a second tier hospital. Complex surgery cases are transferred from Calvary to Canberra Hospital.

So there might be a lot of overlap in functions between a private hospital in Bruce and a public Calvary Hospital.

But, for another question, how do these proposals fit with the ACT Hospitals Strategy and its estimates of projected demand for public and private beds and its planned strategies for meeting that demand?

I am assuming there would be some such strategy around somewhere to provide a framework for buying big things like hospitals.

Mr Evil 10:21 am 22 Apr 09

bd84 said :

Well Katy does need a new project to run into the ground. Canberra Hospital – goal achieved successfully. The ACT Budget – task nearing completion. Calvary Hospital – extra challenge, need to purchase first, then run into ground.

You’re only attacking her because she’s a woman, and a mother!

Sexist pig. 🙂

housebound 10:12 am 22 Apr 09

oops – $100 to BUY the facility.

housebound 10:11 am 22 Apr 09

I find this whole proposal rather odd, to say the least. From the CT, it seems the ACT Government spends about $100 million a year on operating costs of the public part of Calvary. They then want to spend an extra one-off payment of $100 million to but the facility, so they can then continue to spend $100 million per year on operating costs.

For this, we get no new beds, no improvement in facilities. And the Government gets to pay $100 million for a second-hand facility, when they could build a new one for that price ($90 million on a women and children’s hospital wasn’t it?).

But the $100 million operating costs will go into a different place in the budget – so somehow it won’t count anymore, and somehow the $100 million doesn’t count against the bottom line at all. If ever there was a case for a benefit cost analysis, this would have to be it.

Failing a business case to actually emerge, it seems to me that $100 million is the price-tage on ideology because all we get for the money is to remove the Catholics. In that case, since ideology is priceless, the nuns should be asking for a lot more.

mutley 10:00 am 22 Apr 09

PS: what is the collective noun for nurses?

A naughty of nurses?

Igglepiggle 7:45 am 22 Apr 09

BerraBoy68 said :

Igglepiggle said :

And matters pertaining to contraception. It seems madness that you can’t get your tubes tied while your belly is already open for your caesarean section…

Never thought of that but the idea of such a proceedure seems to make sense (other than having zip inserted in your belly). Is there a medical reason for this?

Personally, I think having IVF etc. open to those that need it is a great thing. Enough of this church claptrap of denying such services on ‘religious’ grounds.

Nope, no medical reason, and commonly done at the other public hospital in town when requested. Its just that the pope doesn’t like it.

sepi said :

It is normal practice to get tubes tied as part of a caesarian, if the woman has finished her family.

It is poor practice to have two major operations when everywhere else in Australia you’d only have one. (Two in ACT = caesar in private catholic hospital, then tubes tied in public)

Absolutely. However, its not the private hospital decision I take issue with- the nuns can do what they like with their private dollars, its when they make religious based decisions with public dollars I’m concerned (you can’t get it done at Calvary Public either). And yes, a second operation has all the added of risks of a second procedure, plus adds to the waiting list …

bd84 10:04 pm 21 Apr 09

Well Katy does need a new project to run into the ground. Canberra Hospital – goal achieved successfully. The ACT Budget – task nearing completion. Calvary Hospital – extra challenge, need to purchase first, then run into ground.

BerraBoy68 9:00 pm 21 Apr 09

sexynotsmart said :

PS: what is the collective noun for nurses?

A plaster?

sepi 8:58 pm 21 Apr 09

It is normal practice to get tubes tied as part of a caesarian, if the woman has finished her family.

It is poor practice to have two major operations when everywhere else in Australia you’d only have one. (Two in ACT = caesar in private catholic hospital, then tubes tied in public)

sexynotsmart 8:53 pm 21 Apr 09

I hadn’t scored with a nurse until I came to Canberra. In the early noughties, Filthy McFadden’s was the regular hangout for a funlovin’ group. Happy memories.

But I should return to the topic… You know it’s a weird day when you agree with Johnboy in successive RiotAct posts.

Private hospitals do play a different role. And I think we should applaud if the current Calvary operators construct a new facility. Australia could save the price of a stimulus package if day/shortstay procedures were managed solely by private health.

PS: what is the collective noun for nurses?

trickster 5:09 pm 21 Apr 09

Screw paying these nuns. Nationlise the hospital!

Send in the robotic Katy Gallaghers.

daddy 4:08 pm 21 Apr 09

Why not spend some of the much discussed training budget on sending some people from TCH to watch how Calvary is run for a while, then get them back to Woden and see if they can get the hospital they already have running properly before buying another. I make this comment based on too much experience of both.

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