Jobs To Go As Private Hospitals Close

Health Unions have been holding emergency crisis talks, with hundreds of workers at two Victorian private hospitals facing a gloomy future.

What you need to know
  • Healthscope has decided to close two of its Melbourne facilities saying they are no longer viable
  • Over 400 workers are currently employed across both facilities
  • Victorian Health Minister, Jill Hennessy said she would work to ensure services would continue at both sites

Operator Healthscope has decided to close its facilities in Geelong and at Kew, in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, saying they are no longer viable.

The company says the decision to shut the Geelong and Cotham Private Hospitals follows a nationwide review of its operations.

Geelong has 293 employees and just over 100 beds, while Cotham has 60 beds with 124 workers.

Nurse, Jenny Luttet, has worked at the Geelong facility since it opened 20 years ago.

Gloomy future. Frustrated staff members gather outside the hospital.

She says redeployment of staff to other Healthscope facilities is not a genuine option.

“There are very, very limited employment opportunities down here,” she said.

“You can see we've got so many young families here, new mums, and we've all got to go out and find work to try and support our families”.
ANNOUNCED “WITH REGRET”

In the statement Healthscope CEO, Gordon Ballantyne, said it was “with regret” that he announced the hospitals would close.

He said the move followed “an exhaustive review of alternatives."

"We are aware that this will be a very difficult time for our staff… we are working… to explore redeployment and relocation opportunities,” he said.

The Health Workers Union, responded to the news, saying Healthscope was putting profits before people.

A ‘TOTAL SURPRISE’

Officials described the news as a “total surprise”, adding it was “shocking and devastating”.

Assistant Secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, Paul Gilbert, speculated this may not be the last of the job losses in the private health system.

“There's an overall downturn in private health insurance and that has a flow on effect in private hospitals,” he added.

Victorian Health Minister, Jill Hennessy said she would work to ensure services would continue at both sites.

She said the focus now was to support patients and employees who are affected.