Clare Holland House staff will be transitioned to Canberra Health Services (CHS) alongside those from Calvary Public Hospital Bruce within a week.
It was announced late on Monday (26 June) afternoon that an agreement had been reached for the palliative care service to be handed over to the ACT Government.
A transition information kiosk was set up at Clare Holland House on Tuesday (27 June) to start letting staff know how they could also transfer their employment to Canberra Health Services.
There are less than 150 team members at Clare Holland House, and Northside Hospital Transition Team lead Cathie O’Neill acknowledged their transition lead-in time was very short and that the announcement would come “as a shock to some”.
“The Transition Team will be on site from today (27 June) to work closely with each team member about what the transition means for them,” she said.
“Our key priority during the transition is supporting team members and continuing to deliver quality healthcare for patients.
“The highly valued service at Clare Holland House will continue through the transition and beyond, respecting the expertise of its workforce in delivering a nation-leading model of care.”
Ms O’Neill gave assurances the transition of the palliative care service to Canberra Health Services would not disrupt the care provided “in any way”.
CHS CEO Dave Peffer sent an email to all staff letting them know about the transition, stating it had been agreed that the future of Clare Holland House and access to public palliative care services was “best supported” by remaining directly connected with North Canberra Hospital “to ensure the best delivery of care for patients”.
“Since 10 May, Calvary and the Transition Team have worked closely together and have jointly agreed that it is in the best interests of patients and team members of Clare Holland House to ensure an integrated model is preserved,” he said.
A similar sentiment had been echoed by Calvary Health Care national CEO Martin Bowles; however, he also noted the decision had been made with a “heavy heart” and “reluctantly”.
Mr Peffer thanked all Calvary employees for the care and support they had provided to patients and families through Clare Holland House and encouraged all CHS staff to look out for everyone “across our health sector” as the change occurred.
“I am very conscious that this has been a difficult time for team members at Clare Holland House, patients and families. Supporting our workforce continues to be our focus, along with continuing to deliver quality health care for patients,” he said.
“We’ll be working hard over the coming days to listen to any concerns and support a safe transition.”
Mental Health Minister Emma Davidson clarified on Tuesday (27 June) that the transition wouldn’t impact on-site mental health services at the Calvary Public Hospital Bruce site.
They are the Gawanggal Mental Health Unit and Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) Cottage, both of which are run by Canberra Health Service and the rehabilitation service Arcadia House, operated by Directions Health Services.
Calvary’s private mental health facilities will continue to be operated by Calvary Health Care.
As of 10 am on Tuesday (27 June), 1610 employee transition forms had been submitted to the government’s transition team, equating to 89.4 per cent of the Calvary Public Hospital Bruce workforce, while 1015 letters of offer (56.4 per cent of the workforce) have been accepted.
Clare Holland House staff looking to transition can fill out a secure form on the Northside Hospital Transition website, email a dedicated inbox, or call the Transition Hotline on 5124 0400 (suppliers and contractors can also call the phone number).
An information kiosk will be open at Clare Holland House until 4 pm on Tuesday (27 June) and then from 7:30 am to 4 pm until Wednesday, 5 July.