Health service CEO resigns
BASS Coast Health (BCH) CEO Veronica Jamison resigned last week, leaving behind a multitude of ongoing problems.
The Wonthaggi Hospital has battled crippling debt for the past few years, and will now be forced to seek a new CEO on top of new strategies to combat the financial struggles.
Ms Jamison was the hospital CEO for 16 months, but decided she would not renew her two year contract last week.
“Ms Jamison advised us of her decision and the board decided a handover would be effective immediately,” board chairman Peter Laydon said.
“Immediate resignation is a common practice in an organisation such as this. Ms Jamison had a two year contract, which would’ve expired later this year. The board decided if her heart wasn’t in it, we would pay her out in lieu and find a replacement so she could pursue other avenues and have some time off.”
For the time being, chief operating officer from Peninsula Health Jan Child has been appointed interim CEO.
“Ms Child was recognised as an appropriate replacement by the Department of Health. The official handover began on March 7 (yesterday),” Mr Laydon said.
In accepting the role, Ms Child will face the challenges posed by a $2 million deficit putting pressures on the hospital’s budget.
Mr Laydon said there were three main areas causing BCH’s struggles: the emergency department (ED), the aged care facility and transport.
“The ED is expensive to run and numbers are low in our aged care facility,” Mr Laydon said.
“We are also footing the bill when patients are transferred to Melbourne, which is a considerable cost.
“However, we are absolutely looking for ways to decrease our debt. We hope this year’s budget will bring the results we are looking for and we will be back in the black in the next two to three years.”
BCH closed its Watt Street facility in a recent attempt to save money, but which did not prove to be a significant boost.
Mr Laydon hoped there was still a future for the hospital but said the facilities needed a lot of work that must be funded by the State Government.
“The hospital was built many years ago and design needs to be improved. To get to the ED you have to go through the front entrance and work your way through the hospital,” he said.
“Some of the buildings are decayed due to the age and equipment is constantly needed to be upgraded.”
Premier Daniel Andrews claimed he would send a team of ministers to look over the health care situation, but the hospital is yet to hear when this will happen.
Meanwhile, the hospital is grappling from a recent blow to Commonwealth funding as well.
“The funding cuts will impact BCH by $220, 000,” Mr Laydon said.
“I find it amazing the government and opposition talk about advocating for health and schools but then send a letter out to they are cutting funds. I’m not sure how that’s supposed to work.”
A spokesperson from Australian Health Minister Sussan Ley’s office said the cuts were a result of an improper grab for
funding made by the State Government.
In the midst of waiting for the next ball to drop, Mr Laydon thanked Ms Jamison for her role as CEO.
“I wish to thank Ms Jamison for her strong contribution and dedication to the growth and development of BCH since she started in October, 2014,” he said.
“She has overseen many initiatives and projects during her time as the CEO at BCH, including the opening of the new short stay unit, the development of the new five year strategic plan and has been a strong advocate for the development of the new community health facility on Phillip Island, and this will continue.”
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