Today I signed a new suite of agreements with Little Company of Mary Health Care which will provide both the ACT Government and Calvary Hospital with certainty over the future of health services on the Bruce campus. This is a momentous occasion after extensive discussions around the best ways of delivering an integrated and networked hospital system for the ACT community.
It has been a long road and it has been difficult to unravel the series of complex, historical agreements, some of which had been in place for nearly forty years and preceded self-government. These outdated agreements were no longer appropriate for a modern hospital system. Negotiating these new agreements has been complex but we can now look to the future with certainty and move forward with the confidence that we will continue to deliver the best possible health services to the community.
So what do these agreements really mean?
In short, they confirm that Calvary will be funded to operate a Public Hospital as a network service provider with clearly defined roles. The agreements give us as a Government the flexibility we need to develop a systems approach with Canberra Hospital, and the capacity to resume private hospital beds as we redevelop our ACT Health System. At the same time, they give Calvary certainty that it will continue to deliver acute hospital services at Bruce.
The agreements - which include Calvary Network Agreement, Bruce Health Care Precinct Deed, Deed of Variation of Private Hospital Agreement and a new dispute resolution process – also set out processes for developing a precinct plan for the site by June next year. This plan will look at how the Bruce campus can be developed to meet future health needs and what services or facilities may be needed to meet growing demand.
Now we can get on with planning for the precinct and for the future of hospital services on the north side of Canberra, knowing that Calvary will continue to have a role in the delivery of acute health care and the ACT Government has the flexibility we need to deliver an efficient and co-ordinated health care system right across the ACT.