Staff at Bourke Street Health Service (BSHS) have been left "angry and upset" by a decision to close a unit sooner than expected.
The announcement abruptly ended 105 years of in-patient care at the facility, formerly known as Bourke Street Health Service.
NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association southern region organiser Pippa Watts said staff were told in a meeting with management on Thursday that the 12-bed Marian Unit would close that day rather than the scheduled November 25 move.
It sparked a flurry of organisation to transfer up to eight patients to the Sub Acute Rehabilitation Unit at Goulburn Base Hospital and other facilities. This transition was to occur next week but Mrs Watts said the sudden announcement upset staff.
"It is quite an emotionally charged time because a lot have worked there for so long," she said.
"They've loved working there, the building, the atmosphere and the camaraderie...This is gut wrenching for the staff and community."
Ms Watts questioned why staff couldn't have been given the expected extra week, given their strong attachments.
The Southern NSW Health District has not yet responded to The Post's questions, posed on Friday, surrounding the closure. However it's understood that clinical considerations are a factor.
Mrs Watts said the Association had not been given a reason. Goulburn Health Services manager Brian Bonham broke the news in a lunchtime meeting. The facility's nurse unit manager was then charged with telling staff and organising patients.
Mrs Watts said nursing personnel rostered for the evening and over the next week also had to be advised that their time at Bourke Street was finished.
Doloros Ryan's father, George (known as Peter) Solomons, of Gunning, was the last patient to leave the facility. It marked the end of more than a century of in-patient care at Bourke Street, formerly known as Saint John of God Hospital.
Mrs Ryan said the care was "brilliant" and she felt deeply for the staff who were emotionally affected by the decision.
"They performed so brilliantly under the sudden stress of relocating patients and sorting out everything," she said.
"It was a big shock. They were heartbroken because some had been there 10, 20 and up to 40 years. I was amazed at what they did in three hours at such short notice. I take my hat off to them.
"...I think the way (senior) management handled it was disgusting. They had one week to do things in an orderly way so that patients and staff weren't put under such stress. Everyone was working towards that but then they dropped this bombshell."
Her father, who was admitted one week ago for pain management, was to be transferred to Yass Hospital. However as he was due for release on Friday, the family convinced authorities to allow him to go home while he awaited aged care placement.
Meantime, Mrs Watts said most of the 30 BSHS staff were taking up positions at Goulburn Base Hospital but some had opted to leave for other positions or retire.
She told The Post that while transition of services to the upgraded Base Hospital had always been planned, in the end "it was not well executed."
Other services will remain at BSHS for now. These are the oncology unit, transitional aged care program, the brain injury unit, the Aged Care and Assessment Team, Rural Assistance Scheme and a counselling service.
Do you have something to say about this issue? Send a letter to the editor. Click here for the Goulburn Post