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ACT planning to buy Calvary

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					                                            Canberra Times                                           Brief: CALVARY
                                            Tuesday 21/4/2009
                                            Page: 1
                                            Section: General News
                                            Region: Canberra Circulation: 34,629
                                            Type: Capital City Daily
                                            Size: 333.94 sq.cms.
                                            Published: MTWTFS-




ACT planning to buy Calvary
EXCLUSIVE

By Tom Skotnicki

Canberra hospitals are in for a shake- on the Bruce site.                      Calvary has been starved of public
tip if the ACT Government's proposal     The sale of the hospital could also funds to upgrade its clinical services
to buy Calvary public hospital goes lead to a radical change in hospital since the introduction of self-
ahead.                                 policy in ethical areas such as government 20 years ago.
  The proposed deal could see the         terminations, provision of in-vitro Mr Brennan said in an environ-
Government spending several hun-          fertilisation programs and care pro- ment where governments were
dred million dollars to purchase and      vided to prolong life.                   preparing to spend large amounts on
reinvest in the hospital.                   Neither party wished to comment new health infrastructure the
  If the sale proceeds the owner of       about the impact on clinical policy of operators of Calvary believed it
Calvary, the Little Company of Mary,      a change of ovniership, but it is would be in the best interests of the
intends building a new private hos-       known Canberra Hospital performs ACT to sell the hospital operations if
pital on the site while the purchase of   some late-term terminations.             this meant more investment.
the existing hospital would pave the        Mr Brennan said, "Wherever we            It is understood that because
way for large-scale investment by the     run any hospital it will be in line with Calvary is owned by a private oper-
Government.                               our mission and values and with the ator any expenditure would count as
 After secret talks over the past six     greatest respect for human life."        a grant for budget purposes and
months, the Government is propos-       Ms Gallagher said the ACT Govern-       would go straight on to the ACT
ing to buy the three-level main wing, ment believed there should be a           bottom line, whereas expenditure on
including 174 public beds and most consistency of policy between public         the government-owned Canberra
of the hospital's 97 private beds.    hospitals in the ACT.               Hospital is classed as a capital
  Senior Catholic sources suggest the   "We work well with the Little expenditure and not treated as a cash
acquisition cost of the hospital would Company of Mary but there are expense.
be about $100 million. But Minister benefits from a single operator and a  Sir Peter said he could not under-
for Health Katy Gallagher said any seamless operation," she said. "We           stand how public money could be
price paid would be based on an want to own and operate both public             spent to purchase the hospital which
independent valuation of the assets. hospitals on the grounds of efficiency     was established by public funds. The
  Little Company of Mary chairman and building a coordinated and                Canberra diocese should have a role
Sydney barrister Tom Brennan also integrated public health system."             in any decision because it was
said price had not yet been discussed    She also confirmed that purchase       behind the establishment of the
and the parties were still at the of the Calvary hospital would allow           hospital. "The Catholic Church has
preliminary stages of what would be the Government to invest in the             been providing public hospital
a complex negotiation.                 hospital without adding to the           services for 100 years and I cannot
  But former ambassador to Ireland budget deficit.                              comprehend why it can't continue."
and the Holy See Sir Peter Lawler told   The next meeting with the Little
The Canberra Times that a figure of Company of Mary about the proposal
between $90 million and would be on Thursday.
$100 million was what he had heard       Mr Brennan said there were obvi-
from his senior Catholic contacts.     ously mixed feelings and no real
  Mr Brennan said the Little Com- enthusiasm in regard to the proposed
pany of Mary intended to build a new sale but he understood the reasoning
private hospital on the Bruce site and for a single provider in the ACT.
would continue to operate the John      The Little Company of Mary ptit                     1

James Hospital in Deakin.             the best possible interpretation on
  It has not been determined how the negotiations but it is understood
the sale of the hospital would affect a significant factor in any decision to   SECRET TALKS: Some estimates put the
Little Company of Mary's lease - sell is its concern about lack of public       price of Calvary as high as $100 million.
which has another 90 years to run - investment in the hospital.




                                            Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) licensed copy                            Ref: 50214010

				
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