The Limestone Coast community is reeling after news broke on Saturday the Mount Gambier Private Hospital had entered voluntary administration.
The hospital’s acting chair Catherine Lunnay issued a statement confirming questions from The SE Voice that administrators had been appointed. “The Mount Gambier Private Hospital is a 20-bed facility co-located with the Mount Gambier and Districts Health Service (MGDHS) and has a proven track record of providing customer focused, patient-centric healthcare characterised by excellence in quality, service and access,” Ms Lunnay said.
“Over the past five years, changes in the operating model of MGDHS, our largest creditor, have resulted in operational pressures which have had a direct impact on our economic performance and long-term feasibility that we can no longer sustain.
“We enter the five-week voluntary administration process, managed by Meertens Chartered Accountants, very hopeful the situation can be remedied and look forward to working with the LCLHN to identify a new, cooperative working model that is in the best interest of both parties but most importantly, the community of Mount Gambier, who have long been very supportive of our hospital.
“The Mount Gambier Private Hospital will continue to operate as normal during the voluntary administration period. It will have no effect on our current patient care and our dedicated staff.”
Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell told The SE Voice he would be assisting in “any way I can” to ensure the city retains a private hospital facility. Mr Bell added he has urged South Australian Health Minister Stephen Wade to work cooperatively with Mount Gambier Private Hospital’s administrators to explore long-term sustainable solutions to the issues facing the facility.
“The state’s second-largest city should be able to sustain a private hospital and this facility provides an important avenue to attract and retain specialist surgeons in our region,” Mr Bell said. “All aspects of the operation should be considered in order to develop a sustainable long-term partnership which ultimately benefits the members of our community. “We need to be attracting and offering more specialist services in our region and a private hospital is vital in achieving this outcome.”
Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin expressed her dismay at the announcement. “As Mayor of the City of Mount Gambier I am disappointed the Mount Gambier Private Hospital has been placed into voluntary administration and acknowledge the board has taken positive steps to consider the future of the service,” she said.
“Council is hopeful the appointed administrator can find a way forward for the Mount Gambier Private Hospital so the health facility can continue to play the important role that it does not only for the residents of Mount Gambier, but for the Limestone Coast.
“Council recognises that access to both private and public health services at the Mount Gambier Hospital is vitally important to the health of our community as the second largest city in South Australia. “Council will work with State Government, local health services and stakeholders to advocate for the best outcome for our community.”
The Limestone Coast Local Health Network issued a brief statement about the situation. “We have worked closely with Mount Gambier Private Hospital to help ensure the viability of its services offered to the local community,” a spokesperson said. “We look forward to working with them going forward.”