Canberra Catholic hospital under new attack over IVF

The Canberra Fertility Centre (CFC) which offers IVF treatment and which has been based at the John James Hospital, has attacked the hospital's new owners, Little Company of Mary Health Care, for allegedly withdrawing services that the clinic describes as essential.

The Australian reports that the CFC now plans to move as a result of the reduction in services following the buyout of the John James Hospital.

CFC medical director Martyn Stafford-Bell told the Australian that since the sudden sale of the hospital in October, a range of services previously provided to the CFC by the hospital had been withdrawn - such as provision of linen, disposal of "sharps", the handling of phone calls from patients after hours and use of the hospital's ethics committee.

IVF charges at the centre are also reported to have risen by $500 to $600 because the procedure for collecting women's eggs now has to be done in the theatre of a cosmetic surgery facility elsewhere on the hospital campus, instead of the theatre at the John James as before.

However, Little Company of Mary Health Care (LCMH) told the newspaper that it has neither the power nor the wish to oust or close the CFC.

LCMH national chief executive David Butt said it was "absolute nonsense" to suggest LCMH would move against the fertility service.

"We have gone out of our way to make sure IVF services continue," he said. "They are not under our jurisdiction, they have a separate landlord, they are as secure as can be ... If women who are Catholic decide to go for IVF services, that's their right."

But Dr Stafford-Bell said he was scouting for new premises because the centre had no security while it was so close to a Catholic-controlled institution that disapproved of its existence.

"I wonder just how long LCMH is going to be happy about these (IVF) activities going on under a sign that says 'Calvary John James Hospital'," Dr Stafford-Bell said.

Catholic hospital shuts out IVF (The Australian, 9/1/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Calvary John James Hospital
Little Company of Mary Health Care
Little Company of Mary

Canberra Calvary courts controversy over hospital purchase (CathNews, 29/12/06)

9 Jan 2007

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