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.
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.
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.”