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Another regional Catholic hospital changes hands

Mt Alvernia Mercy Hospital, Bendigo, in central Victoria, has been sold to St John of God Health Care, with John of God CEO Dr Michael Stanford assuring staff and the local community that his organisation's large network of regional private hospitals would give the Bendigo hospital more buying and lobbying power.

St John of God Health Care, Australia's fourth largest private hospital group, currently operates five other hospitals in Victoria and a total of ten across the country.

"We envisage our name will also help attract doctors to Bendigo," he said. Mercy Health and Aged Care will remain in Bendigo as the operator of Bethlehem Home for the Aged, while the St John administration plans to keep nuns from the Sisters of Mercy involved in the hospital.

"Because this hospital has always been operated by Catholic health care providers, its integration into another such provider will be relatively seamless," he said. "The vision, mission and values of Mercy Health and Aged Care are similar to our own and those others within the Catholic sector."

Last week, Little Company of Mary Health Care announced that it had bought Launceston's St Vincent's Hospital from the Sisters of Charity Health Care.

In other health news, Western Australia's Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan has announced an agreement with the Kimberley's Rubibi community which will see a new aged care centre being built in Broome. As a result of the agreement, the Rubibi have signed a lease with not-for-profit aged care provider Southern Cross Care - run by the Knights of the Southern Cross - to construct the facility within 12-15 months.

Meanwhile the Australian Catholic University (ACU National) yesterday announced that it will strengthen its focus on nursing with the addition of 135 places in the Bachelor of Nursing program offered on the University's North Sydney Campus (MacKillop) in 2005.

"ACU National is extremely pleased to receive this significant number of places in the School of Nursing from the Federal Government. This will allow ACU National to address the needs of the community by providing additional trained nurses," said ACU National Executive Director University Services, Mr John Cameron.

"Historically, ACU National has established a tradition, which dates back 150 years through its predecessor institutions, of educating nurses. We are proud that through the receipt of these extra places we have been recognised for our long-term experience in providing quality nurse education."

Mount Alvernia taken over by St John of God (Bendigo Advertiser 3/11/04)
Govt stands by native title agreement (ABC North West WA 2/11/04)
135 additional nursing places at ACU National - North Sydney (Australian Catholic University 2/11/04)

Private operator to buy Mt Alvernia Mercy Hospital (ABC Central Victoria 2/11/04)
Faculty transfers get senate approval (The Australian 3/11/04)
St John of God Health Care | St John of God Health Care to acquire Mt Alvernia Mercy Hospital
Calvary Tasmania buys St Vincent's Hospital Launceston (CathNews 27/10/04)
New Southern Cross Care aged care facility for Broome
Catholic Health Australia

3 Nov 2004