Plans to merge St Vincent's and St Luke's hospitals and co-locate new Calvary hospital with LGH

Launceston General Hospital.
Launceston General Hospital.

A new private hospital could be built and co-located with the Launceston General Hospital, replacing St Luke’s and St Vincent’s hospitals, if a proposal from Calvary gets up.

It is understood Calvary submitted a plan to the state government in December for the new multi-storey hospital at the LGH site.

The new build would cost upwards of $100 million, according to hospital sources, and would be connected to the public hospital via a corridor.

Health Minister Michael Ferguson confirmed the government was “aware of a proposal”.

“We are open to and would consider any proposal which has the capacity to deliver better health outcomes for Tasmanians,” he said.

Launceston orthopaedic surgeon and Calvary medical advisory committee chairman David Penn said the new hospital would replace St Luke’s and St Vincent’s and would most likely have a different name.

“They’re both old buildings and they’re starting to crumble and we’ve got to make a decision whether we spend a heap of money doing up old buildings or we build a new hospital,” he said.

“It’s going to be far more beneficial to the community and to the LGH if we have one new private hospital co-located with the public LGH.”

Dr Penn said the advantage of co-locating the private and public hospitals would be the sharing of resources.

“For example, it’s hard to have two independent intensive care units in town, so if we have a co-located hospital, which had a corridor connecting the two buildings, it means that we can share the high dependency and ICU facilities.

“I think to provide a good standard of care to the community in the private sector, we need to have good access to an HDU and ICU. At the moment, we have to call an ambulance to send the patient across town.”

It is understood Calvary made an unsolicited proposal in December for the new hospital, which is before the Office of the Coordinator-General.

To qualify for such proposals, according to the Coordinator-General’s website, the project “must have a minimum private investment contribution of $10 million or the creation of a minimum of 100 direct jobs in Tasmania”. 

It also has to be a “unique or innovative proposal initiated by the private sector and made to government to deliver outcomes that are desirable to government and which are not suitable to progress through standard competitive procurement processes”.

A Calvary spokeswoman directed The Examiner to State Growth for media enquiries.

An Office of the Coordinator-General spokesman said unsolicited proposals were “confidential until after a preliminary assessment has been conducted and Cabinet determines that a proposal should be taken further”.

“As such, the government is not at liberty to discuss or release any details of a proposal before this occurring,” he said.

Launceston urologist Dr Michael Monsour said he had wanted to see a co-location at the LGH site for the past 20-something years.

“I’m definitely more confident that the players are now talking, which is great,” he said. 

“It’s a win/win situation for everybody. When you’ve got a co-located facility, everything’s close by.

“But, unfortunately, as I’m getting towards the end of my career, I think this is going to occur after I’ve probably retired, but it’s still going to be nice to see it happen.

“It’s good for Launceston and it’s good for the patients.”