13 June 2023

Formal transition of Calvary Public Hospital Bruce to ACT Government begins

| Claire Fenwicke
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Calvary Public Hospital Bruce

Calvary Health Care is still considering its legal options regarding the compulsory acquisition of its public hospital in Bruce. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

Calvary Health Care has elected a transition lead, paving the way for communication between them and the Territory for the compulsory acquisition of Calvary Public Hospital Bruce (CPHB).

An ACT spokesperson confirmed this had taken place in the wake of a draft transition plan being made available during Calvary Health Care’s failed attempt to have the acquisition ruled invalid.

Marked valid as of 5 June, the draft transition plan outlined several “critical success factors”, including that 85 per cent of the workforce be transitioned by the acquisition date.

This equates to 1530 of CPHB’s 1800 staff.

The ACT Government spokesperson said this success target had been updated to state they were aiming for “at least 85 per cent” of the workforce transitioned.

“The Transition Team is expecting higher but believe if only 85 per cent transition, the transition plan would still have been successful against this indicator.

“The Transition Team has heard informally from team members at Calvary Public Hospital and our industrial partners that a very high percentage of team members have indicated their intent to transition.”

Some CPHB staff members could be rendered ineligible from receiving a new offer from Canberra Health Services (CHS) if they had previously been terminated from CHS on “misconduct grounds”.

“We expect these numbers to be very low,” the spokesperson said.

While the Health Infrastructure Enabling Act 2023 requires both the Territory and Calvary Health Care to cooperate in developing a plan together, the Northside Hospital Transition Team deputy director general Cathie O’Neill previously indicated they had a draft document ready to present to Calvary Health Care.

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An affidavit filed as part of the Territory’s fight against the legal proceeding had outlined why a transition period was necessary ahead of the acquisition date of 3 July.

It wasn’t expected the Territory was going to establish a physical presence at CPHB over the Sovereign’s Birthday long weekend, as the law requires the Calvary Senior Executive to be given 48 hours’ notice before any “authorised persons” enter the land.

The court-tendered draft transition plan – current as of 5 June – listed CPHB’s interim name as the “North Canberra Hospital”, noting a full consultation process would occur to name the new $1 billion northside hospital in due course.

“The focus of this Plan is for the Transition phase between 2 June and 10 July,” the document stated.

“A draft Post Acquisition Plan has been developed for the post-acquisition period, which will extend up to the end of the 23/24 financial year.”

However, it’s still unclear how much of the draft plan will need to be changed, given several identified “critical dates” have already passed.

This includes for the Territory to be informed which ICT assets and equipment Calvary plans to retain, which systems will be transitioned or novated (such as phone numbers), the status of the hospital’s compliance and licensing, which contracts will be novated to CHS for the acquisition date, identifying which contracts are priorities for novation and what level of access the Territory will be given for onsite support and information.

Meanwhile, the proposed deadlines of several other critical steps – including intranet access, agreements on how outstanding receivables and payables will be treated, which finance systems and processes can be retained, and what changes will require staff training – were slated to be completed by the end of the week.

“It is considered that the most critical financial information and systems are those that enable the payment of staff and suppliers; it is, therefore, important to capture this category of information as early as possible in the transition period,” the draft plan stated.

“Also, during the transition period, if some existing Calvary finance systems will not be available to CHS post-acquisition … it would be useful to be able to train Calvary staff as needed during the transition period if an equivalent CHS system needs to be set up and used post-acquisition date.”

Given Calvary Health Care has indicated it is still considering its legal options, as the ACT Supreme Court judgment reasonings haven’t been released yet, it’s unclear how much further these projected dates could blow out.

Calvary National Chief Executive Martin Bowles said the corporation had decided to mount a legal challenge in the best interests of staff, the broader Calvary business and the Canberra community.

“The past five weeks have been harrowing for our Calvary Public Hospital Bruce staff and partners, our organisation as a whole, the wider community and even those working at Canberra Health Services,” he said.

“However, Calvary will comply with the legislation in relation to transition and we look forward to receiving a detailed and more realistic plan from the ACT Government.”

The ACT Government remains confident it will hit the 3 July acquisition date.

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Another aspect of the transition period, which has a more uncertain deadline, is around what compensation Calvary Health Care could possibly receive as a result of the compulsory acquisition.

The draft plan outlined a physical inspection of assets and stock held by Calvary was required to determine what exactly would be transferred to CHS.

“Equally, Calvary will want to understand the value of these assets and stock as part of the just terms negotiations,” it stated.

“It is anticipated that this stocktake will occur before 19 June 2023.”

There has also been speculation from some groups opposed to the acquisition that the hospital’s cross insignias and other religious markings would be taken down come the acquisition date.

The ACT Government spokesperson said it had no “current plan” to do this.

“However, the ACT Government understands that these will be Calvary property and therefore will need to be discussed with Calvary.”

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You should all be wondering: when will the same government come after your house and other assets. Communist governments don’t allow private property ownership. They are following the script of the World Economic Forum advocating for a world where “you will own nothing”

Oh how original. It’s almost like no-one else has posted using reductio ad absurdum before. Oh wait….
The government has always had the ability to resume houses and no-one in the ACT owns the land underneath their homes (its always been leasehold). The fact they haven’t they haven’t bothered to in almost 100 years (apart from the Mr Fluffy houses) suggests most homes are reasonably safe from conspiracies. Repeating ridiculous scare-mongering claims does nothing other than demonstrate how flimsy your argument is.

Actually, hes spot on. Sorry…..

Like I have said before, communism is athiestic in nature, so the opportunity to shove a faith based public facing organization into the weeds would have had them salivating.

My uncle, who fled communism , gas many horrific stories about the cruelty of Godless communism……

Brett Foster5:41 am 16 Jun 23

To quote Kim Beasley in federal parliament “the United Nations has given the federal government a mandate of ownership for housing, property, farms and business to government control once the republic has been proclaimed”.

Bob the impala12:00 pm 16 Jun 23

Brett Foster, your “quote” is a complete fabrication.

If you believe otherwise, please provide a reference to Hansard where we may read it.

@Brett Foster
I’ll help you out with your reply to Bob the impala.

Your comment is total BS, Brett.

Perhaps you should actually do some research before you start sprouting the garbage purporting to be “fact” you see on Facebook.


It is a shame about Calvary. Canberra needs more private hospitals, as the public system is shocking – same with the public education system. People don’t want to use it and avoid it. Woke communists trying to indoctrinate everyone. Woeful service, people who cannot speak English or communicate properly and they don’t care at all just wanting their PR.
You’re better off seeing your local vet for a better standard of medical care than ACT Health.

The “take over” is only of the public hospital that Calvary runs not their private hospitals. As such no effect.

The rollover of this taxpayer funded private and Catholic hospital to public hands can’t come soon enough for me! How lucky we are in the ACT that we have a government that will not be captive to right wing forces and the bullying we have seen on a daily basis from the church and certain media outlets.
I wonder how those of Christian faith opposed to this deal would feel about public funding being funnelled into a private hospital of an alternative faith such as Muslim, Jewish or Hindu!
We in the ACT are lucky enough to have a government that walks the talk and will not be bowed to by the distortions and grubbiness of the Liberals, the media, the Australian Christian Lobby and the Vatican church!

A unilateral takeover of private property through no consultation and special legislation, along with the bypassing of normal parliamentary processes is something to celebrate according to Jack.

Yes, the government is definitely the one that has been subject to “bullying”, hasn’t it, bahahahahahaha.

Love your sarcasm 👍😂

There is nothing that gives me more pleasure than reading the blustering angst from Tories like Chewy14 and noid!
Out of government and out of sorts!
Keep pleasuring me dudes!

You too mate, it’s entertaining 👍

Nah…we just are smart enough to see what appears a hostile takeover, and no doubt they salivated about the opportunity of shoving a faith based organization away from the front lines where an alternate voice against abortion might be heard.

Funny, that…

There is nothing that gives me more pleasure than the blustering angst from partisans who call me left wing one day and then conservative the next.

It’s almost like the mesh like welding to their favourite political party refuses even the slightest semblance of a coherent and insightful thought.

TLDR: Jack D is incapable of anything beyond ALP/Greens Good, Liberal Bad.

I lived in Canberra at the time the Federal Liberal government “gifted” the Calvary land to the Vatican Church to operate its private hospital. This deal includes taxpayers funding the building, its operations and the hospital’s expansion perpetually! The Vatican is the ultimate decision maker for the hospital’s operations. ACT residents were never consulted or asked how they felt about the decision. To use your words stevew77, I bet the Catholic church and the Vatican just salivated about the opportunity!
The ACT inherited Calvary and its ongoing funding with self-government in 1989. The hospital is run-down offering limited services. Canberra Hospital and the ACT’s health network takes on most of the load. ACT taxpayers paid $18 million just a few years ago for the building of its multi-level carpark as there was no parking at the hospital for staff and visitors. How good are we taxpayers!

Christopher Bounds4:23 pm 14 Jun 23

Let’s be clear, the government has been negotiating for 15 years without success. The need for another Level 6 hospital is very pressing and the LCOM would be unlikely to lead the transition to that level. Elsewhere in Australia, the various Catholic providers have made significant financial contributions to their public hospitals — usually in the form of land and fundraising(St Vincent’s in Sydney, John of God in Perth are outstanding examples). No government would interfere because they are outstanding teaching hospitals, and manage the ethical dilemmas sometimes posed by Church teaching quietly and effectively. Calvary is small, limited in scope, occupies public land and relies entirely on public funds. There are no options for alternative care. This matter should have been resolved in 2009 and wasn’t because of lack of good faith negotiations by the LCOM and interference by the Archbishop and the Vatican. Taxpayers on the north side and through southern NSW have a right to excellent and comprehensive care. The first was certainly provided by Calvary; the second wasn’t.

So you think the government negotiated in good faith be engaging in zero consultation with Calvary nor affected staff about their decision, working secretly in the background to quickly bring in legislation to cancel their contracts and take the land/assets by force and then suspending normal parliamentary processes which are designed to provide appropriate scrutiny to government?

“This matter should have been resolved in 2009 and wasn’t because of lack of good faith negotiations by the LCOM and interference by the Archbishop and the Vatican.”

As shown by the government’s actions now, how exactly did the Archbishop and Vatican prevent the resolution of the issue for 14 years, when the government always had the power to make a unilateral decision?

The government could have simply announced their intention to take over in a few years and put in place proper consultation, governance, transition and legislative practices to smooth the issue.

The whole issue has been a clear failing of open and transparent government. Something that has simply become standard practice with our current ALP/Greens monopoly.

Yeah the way this government negotiates, is “our way or we’ll take it anyway” . Wouldn’t do business with this mob. Would like to know what the sticking points were, for all we know the governments requests may have been unreasonable🤔

Bob the impala11:57 am 15 Jun 23

noid, self-evidently both parties considered the other’s terms or progresion unreasonable or negotiations would not have broken down, recalling that this has been on and off for fifteen years. Speculating tendentiously is pretty pointless.

Bob the impala11:58 am 15 Jun 23

progression sp.

Bob we can only speculate about the sticking points as many respondents have who have responded to the governments actions. If I new what the sticking points were I still would not agree to their actions but I maybe more sympathic.

I am conflicted on this, but ultimately the law is my doctrine and, this is weaponised law. By making legislation, instead of negotiation and ultimatation or decision and having it work out in correct manner, the govt. has overstepped. It cannot be about simply “making” a law to allow the acquisition… it must be based in rule of law and the “impartial observer” believing in appropriate law and application.
This undermines and erodes the rule of law in ACT where if a “pollie slips on the loo” then legislating against loo’s comes about. Ie:, personal interest or otherwise individual vested gain.
Nb: my 3 kids were born at Calvary and I had nothing but best 2 say… I never wanted 2 go 2 TCH as rep has been all over the spectrum over the last 25yrs.
And speaking personally… went to TCH with a head injury, and told 3hrs 2 go further than my deets. So did uber to Calvary, was given practical advice immediately and able to go back to my lodging… TCH… no – I’d take a regional hospital over them.

Bob the impala8:54 am 14 Jun 23

Far from appearing conflicted, RaTTyRaTT, you admit straightforward bias regarding Calvary while suggesting legal confusion when you write “negotiation and ultimation [sic] or decision”, especially in the circumstances of the Calvary ownership. What is the benefit of negotiation when one party runs dead? What decision can be made when the Church can reject any ultimatum with substantial impunity, the contract suffering a dearth of termination grounds? How about cutting the Gordian knot with the decision that was made, which decision was within the powers of government, the law?

Regardless of who was running the hospital the ACT government entered into the contract knowing the terms and conditions and would have had a detailed scope of works for the services to be provided. They would of also had standards that had to be met as well as regular meetings and reports provided by the successful provider (if they were managing there contract right). A properly drafted and managed contract does not need the law changed so you can bypass your obligations that you were part of creating and now you don’t like. Shame on this government abusing it’s power and setting the precedent that a contract with them is not worth the paper it’s written on.

You mean the federal liberal government who signed a 120 year agreement in 1971?

Bob the impala9:07 am 15 Jun 23

noid, “the contract” was for operation of the existing hospital. The north side needs a new, bigger hospital which the government considers will be best placed on the existing site. There is no necessary continuation of any existing operating contract but a need either to negotiate terms of new construction and operation or, failing that, to take over the site to do it itself. With 6/6 hindsight, they might have done this back around 2010.

Either way, the topic is the site and new hospital, not an operating contract. No contractual obligations were bypassed but an existing management contract was terminated as an ordinary consequence of a takeover. Commercially, one sees this all the time.

The topic is the way the site was taken over and how this government has had to change the law to get out of it contractual obligations. Novating contracts after a change of ownership is normal. It is not normal to change the law to get out of a contract and you don’t see it all the time or it would undermine the whole purpose of having a contract. If the existing management contract had run full term and was just not going to be renewed that is a different story. Also there has been no mention on what the actual sticking point was.,it may have been an unreasonable request.

You’re funny 😊👍

Areaman is it actually 120 yrs? If so and without seeing the document on how it is supposed to operate, it may very well be a bad contract, but that all depends on which side of the contract you are on. Also I would be surprised if there weren’t performance levels that needed to be met that if not could result in ending the contract without changing the law.

Bob the impala11:53 am 15 Jun 23

noid, my general comment to you about this on a related thread stands, yet I shall try to clarify a little more, briefly.

it is incontrovertible that the government has the right to resume land and other property on just terms, as happens all over the country. It is doing so, notwithstanding any arguments about exact terms. Any related contracts are then dealt with according to law.

In this instance, the manager is a non-profit which now has nothing to manage hence the consequential termination of its contract. You tell me what legal, contractual entitlements (i.e income compensation) might arise from that for a non-profit. Answers other than “none” may be marked down heavily.

Your personal distaste for the takeover is no more than that.

Bob the impala12:06 pm 15 Jun 23

noid writes, “performance levels that needed to be met”, thus continuing not to notice the point. This is not about contract performance but a new hospital, which is why most of noid’s comments on it are otiose.

Perhaps noid had in mind the Auditor-General’s critique about lack of transparency or clarity in terms of services exchanged between the private and public hospitals, leaving open the possibility of financial malpractice through subsidy of the private hospital with public funds. No-one that I recall has made such an accusation, just raised the audit issue. The government has avoided that distraction and stuck to its main task of organising a new hospital with co-ordinated management of public health services.

Bob your first comment is spot on, the government can do what it wants and in this case had to change the law accordingly to suit it’s purpose. If it was all legit why was that necessary? And again, why is there no information about the sticking point in the negotiations?
And in regards to compensation, even though it is non-for profit they may have made purchases of goods and services based on the contract moving forward that they would now be out of pocket, so yes Bob there could be a case.
And your last comment belittles by the way 👍

Bob this comment is valueless as you mentioned yourself it was only raised as a potential risk in an audit.
The government has created this issue it’s self.
And just for the record I am not a fan of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. But I am against a government that rides roughshot

And Bob please don’t muddy the waters by raising an audit finding noted as a “potential” risk. Unless it has occurred it’s of know relevance. And in a proper functioning contract both parties would come together to find a solution to mitigate the risk.

Bob the impala4:37 pm 15 Jun 23

noid, by omission you agree that no income compensation is due; that is, there are no contractual rights persisting once property (of which you mention trivial examples) has been acquired on just terms. That acquisition has nothing to do with the contract except in consequence. The government simply created legislation to implement its purpose which had previously been, and was now being, effectively thwarted by the existing operator to the detriment of ACT citizens, in the government’s view. What else should governments do but create, modify or repeal law to meet our purposes, or haven’t you noticed?

Did you read about termination of the Russian Embassy site lease today? Legislation passed through Parliament in just over an hour, to overcome a court decision, yet people worry about the ACT government’s haste! Ever noticed property acquisitions to create infrastructure for planes, trains and automobiles? What’s new, other than who happens to express outrage at the time?

noid, you said somewhat darkly, “…it may have been an unreasonable request.” Then again, it might not. Yet again, this was not an issue with hospital management over the existing contract and there was no particular right for that management to take on the new hospital, with stated co-ordination reasons for them not to do so.

It is quite reasonable for me to write that you appear none too familiar with major contracts, without personally belittling you. Everyone has their own fields of knowledge. Whether you are a fan of [the hierarchy of] any church is of no concern to me.

Bob just because there is “no profit does not mean there is no income and therefore no claim for compensation and it is only your opinion on the value of the claim. Yes I saw the Russian Embassy but it is a long bow to draw to say they are the same. And acquiring properties for highways has a process to follow and compensation paid. Your “some what darkly” comment is a joke

Also I think you should look in the mirror in regards to your contract knowledge. Because your argument is weak you have a need to try and belittle anyone who can call you out on your flawed view. I have tried to stick to a civil decourse but you don’t seem to be able to help yourself. As far as I can see by your attitude there is no further need to continue this conversation. If people read these comments they can form their own view.

Bob the impala8:18 pm 15 Jun 23

noid, I do not look in the mirror to know what I know.

I am always conscious that people form their own views on what they read, whether based on analysis or their prior biasses or whether they were miffed by something I wrote last week. Why might you imagine it could be otherwise, that you should mention it? Whether or not I might be content with their judgement, I am content with their right to make it.

As for your immediately prior post about profit or income compensation in a non-profit, or pertinence of a government exercising its like powers in what they perceive to be the country’s or Territory’s interests, what on earth do you think you are on about?

Yours in discourse

Thank you to those offering input to this thread – it’s been interesting to read.
From my perspective, the discussion here boils down to opposing views of “the government, in the interests of the community it serves, has the right” and “how dare they do it”. Jack D in another thread applauded the ACT government for being sufficiently committed to their job to be willing to take on the Church and aligned parties, as there is considered benefit to the wider community. I share that view as I don’t believe that the current government is driven by nefarious interests or incompetence.
So whether they have the right to do it is well addressed by Bob (yes, they have), and why they dared is fundamentally due to a desire to deliver a cohesive and consistent health service offering to the territory (and beyond). We have the right to judge their success over the following years.

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