28 June 2023

Majority back Calvary takeover, just like light rail, says Barr

| Ian Bushnell
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Calvary Public Hospital Bruce

Calvary Public Hospital in Bruce will become the Northside Hospital. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr has compared the Calvary takeover to the decision to build a light rail network, claiming the government has majority support for the move but there will always be a sizable minority who will oppose it.

Plans are proceeding for Calvary Public Hospital to transition to Canberra Health Services by 3 July, with $50 million in the ACT Budget for that purpose and $64 million to complete the detailed design of the new Northside Hospital to be built on the Bruce site.

The budget papers say construction is expected to begin by mid-decade, with the hospital to be operational by mid-2030‑31.

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Mr Barr told Region that sometimes in politics decisions needed to be made in the face of a degree of opposition.

“I suspect that this one is not dissimilar to the light rail decision in that there will be a sizable minority who are unhappy,” he said.

“I’m under no illusions that there’s a section of the community who think it’s a terrible decision.

“But again, our very clear understanding of the mood of the broader community is that there’s a majority, probably similar in nature to the sort of majority that light rail enjoys, who support the decision.”

Mr Barr said it was not a new issue, harking back to the government’s 2010 attempt to buy Calvary that was only vetoed by the Vatican, but the difference now was that the need for the Northside Hospital had become acute.

He said the government had bought time for a decade, but ultimately the issue had to be confronted and, given the Catholic Church’s recent reaction, repeating an attempt to buy Calvary would have ended the same way.

While the government had attempted to negotiate a new service agreement with Calvary, it had no choice but to pursue a takeover when that failed.

“We knew we needed to make the investment in new hospital facilities that a 50-year-old hospital built for 70,000 people with 250 beds was not going to cut it for 250,000 people and growing, so there needed to be new investment,” Mr Barr said.

“We had to own the land and own the building, or else we couldn’t capitalise the expenditure.”

Mr Barr said the takeover was done for the right reasons and would make the ACT health system more efficient.

“This goes to the question of efficiency of the health system, which is always going to suffer on an economies-of-scale perspective, but we can somewhat reduce that,” he said.

“It’s a pretty shining example of a microeconomic reform in the health sector within the ACT to be able to deliver our health services in a more integrated way and get better value for money for the one-third of our budget that we invest in health.”

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Mr Barr stands by the way the takeover was announced, saying a consultation period would have been problematic.

“People who don’t like the actual decision will find a process reason: why you didn’t consult early enough? Or you should have done X, Y, or Z. But in the end, their main issue is they don’t like the decision,” he said.

“It was always going to be difficult for us to consult with staff of an organisation that would have been hostile to our intent and who didn’t work for us.”

Mr Barr said the issue of just terms compensation for Calvary Health Care was a matter for negotiation, but if an agreed amount could not be reached, it would end up in the Supreme Court.

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Barr conducting opinion polls in his own lounge room again.
“100% of the people that I have spoke with agree with me.”

No abortions offered here so it must go! ~ oh sorry what’s that, we don’t offer abortions at the Woden hospital either only private clinics preform these.
Labor lies and we continually vote for them, we are all idiots.

How many times does it have to be repeated – it is not about abortions. It is about addressing how the hospital is too small to meet the current and growing population. Patients are currently receiving fragmented care being transferred between hospitals and the waiting lists at both hospitals are far too long.

In relation to abortions, you are right in that they are not routinely performed at Woden (unless there are other health issues) so its unlikely elective ones without other health issues will be performed at Bruce. You are incorrect, however, that they are only performed at private clinics. There is a public clinic in Civic.

The land is valuable. It will be up for development bringing in $$$

Daniel O'CONNELL5:24 pm 29 Jun 23

Didn’t consult because people would have disagreed with the decision. Haven’t heard that one before – it belongs in TV’s Utopia.

Michelle Fisher3:55 pm 29 Jun 23

My understanding is that this has been on the agenda and debated for years. My only experience with Canberra Hospital has been great (thank you staff), my only knowledge of Calvary is that people I know then had to go to Canberra Hospital for what they needed as the hospital on the northside was limited in what it could provide! We need an integrated, multi-disciplinary health care service for all who use/rely on it. No I am not Catholic – faith should not matter for health, education etc that is funded by all tax-payers.

Nobody asked me… so who is this “majority”?????

Excellent point, Bloke48! For instance, do the majority of us living on the Northside want Calvary Hospital gone (some how I doubt it), though we also want increased services (but those are not mutually exclusive possibilities)? Barr seems to think that on the tram and on Calvary hospital a majority in the LA equates to a majority of Canberrans! How out of touch can he be!?!
Do the majority of Canberrans really think the whole tram business was an excellent idea from just an environmental perspective? I’d love to see and hear a full and proper argument on that one, cos tram services limited to very small pockets of Canberra, and widely slashed bus services in the rest of Canberra, is not a good recipe for increased use of public transport. The tram line grows so very incrementally that the Second Coming may eclipse its completion.

Barr is talking out of his other end.
Has Barr ever once had to take a sick child to hospital? Even once?
When was the last time Barr had to go to hospital with a sick elderly person?
Barr gave NO public notice
Barr gave NO public dignity for the public to have any say.
He is a pure dictator backed by his own lobby group who he obeys like a good communist puppet.

Canberrans WAKE UP. Do not vote Labor Greens in the ACT Election. They are not for families, workers. They are for themselves.

Read Animal Farm. ACT LaborGreens are the pigs that have taken over the house.

It’s funny, after discussing the details of the massive waste of time and money that is the light rail, I have yet to find a single taxpayer who supports it. If he honestly believes that it has majority support, I would seriously question who exactly he has been polling to come to this conclusion?

The reaction to introducing legislation to get out of a binding legal agreement that was inconvenient to them seems to elicit the same response from those that I have discussed the matter with.

The benefits of politicians that exist in an echo chamber I guess.

It’s heading the same way as California. Full of drugs, crime, people pay high taxes and get poor services and the government intervenes in all aspects of their life.
When the communists take over, the normal people look to leave.

The internment of Japanese was incredibly popular at the time too. So was the Aboriginals Ordinance 1918 act.

Haha, imagine comparing something to the decision to build light rail as if it’s a good thing.

HiddenDragon7:47 pm 28 Jun 23

“Chief Minister Andrew Barr has compared the Calvary takeover to the decision to build a light rail network, claiming the government has majority support for the move but there will always be a sizable minority who will oppose it.

Time will tell whether those sizable minorities are largely synonymous (as is, no doubt, assumed) or separate (and possibly cumulative) – just as it will tell whether what looks, in prospect to some, like a “shining example of a microeconomic reform” turns out that way in practice.

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