Health chief Janet Compton backs Goulburn's Bourke St Health Service closure

ON SITE: Southern NSW Health District CEO Janet Compton and Goulburn Health Services general manager Denis Thomas visited the Bourke Street Health Service on Thursday.

ON SITE: Southern NSW Health District CEO Janet Compton and Goulburn Health Services general manager Denis Thomas visited the Bourke Street Health Service on Thursday.

THE head of Southern NSW Health District has defended the process surrounding a facility’s sooner than expected closure.

Janet Compton visited Goulburn yesterday for meetings about the Bourke St Health Service.

Asked why staff and the community weren’t consulted about the decision, Ms Compton said people knew it would happen at some point. 

“Looking at the service and its provision it became very clear to me that integrating services on the Goulburn site would facilitate better patient flow in the short to medium term and so we’ve made this decision to bring the move forward,” she said.

“There is the capacity at Goulburn Base Hospital.”

Ms Compton said consultation was a little like “the chicken and the egg;” if she’d come to staff with a firm plan they would have every right to be skeptical because she hadn’t talked to them.

“So I want to build the services through consultation and that’s the process we’re starting now,” she said.

“How are we going to make this transition, where are things going, where will we put capital, how will we manage the staff transition? Those are the conversations I want to have."

A consultative committee comprising staff, unions and management will be formed. Ms Compton said she’d also be reaching out to community groups with a stake in the facility.”

She told the Post it was premature to say exactly where services would be located. However Ms Compton speculated Giles Court could go to Kenmore and palliative care to Goulburn Base. Some administrative services could be accommodated near Bourke Street.

“It will also give us the opportunity to have conversations around new models of care with all staff on the one site. Working together will facilitate that redesign,” she said.

Some moves could happen early next year, ahead of the December 2017 closure date.

The Health Service leases the building from St John of God Australia Pty Ltd on a monthly basis.

Ms Compton said with Goulburn Base running at just 60 per cent capacity, there was room to accommodate more services.

But unions doubt the practicality of this, especially when redevelopment is underway.

The CEO said nobody would lose their job and the relocation was being driven by improved patient care, not finances.

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