NEGOTIATIONS to extend Ramsay Health Care’s contract to run Mildura Base Hospital beyond 2020 are yet to begin.
The State Government and Ramsay Health have until September 2019 – a year before the contract expires – to seek a two-year extension.
A local community group, Mildura Hospital Conversation, which began on social networking site Facebook, has announced its intention to lobby for the hospital to become publicly operated.
The group’s president Noel Pound said it would make its concerns about the privately-managed model known to the State Government and all candidates contesting the state election in November.
“The current contract with Ramsay Health runs until September 2020 and the government will consider the contract in due course,” Health Minister Jill Hennessy said on Tuesday.
Members of the Mildura Hospital Conversation committee this week expressed concerns a deal to extend Ramsay’s contract could be signed before the election.
It is understood the government has no plans to implement the publicly owned, privately operated hospital model elsewhere in Victoria.
The government has leased the Mildura Base Hospital facilities to Ramsay Health Care since 2013, when the hospital was bought back from a superannuation fund for $37.7 million.
Ramsay’s management contract was extended to the current expiry date at that time.
Mildura Base Hospital has been privately operated since it opened in 2000 as a replacement for the old base hospital in Thirteenth Street.
The government maintains the hospital’s performance is assessed on the same basis as other public hospitals in the state.
Mildura Base Hospital’s community advisory board chair Gayle Danson this week said she would be supportive of Ramsay’s contract being extended beyond 2020 if management continued in the same fashion.
Ramsay Health Care is one of the world’s top five operators of private hospital and manages 235 hospitals, day surgery centres, treatment and rehabilitation centres, psychiatric units and a nursing college across six countries.
Mildura Base Hospital was contacted for comment.
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