Archived News Item

Singleton Mercies to hand on Mater to LCM Health Care

After 85 years, the Sisters of Mercy, Singleton have decided to hand on to another religious order their mission of providing the highest quality care with a Christian focus to the sick of Newcastle and the Hunter region (NSW, Australia).


In a statement issued on Tuesday September 5, Singleton Congregational Leader, Sister Berice Livermore RSM said that in future the Newcastle Mater Misericordiae Hospital at Waratah will be owned and operated by the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary, who have established the Calvary health, aged and community care organisation which operates across five States and Territories in Australia.


Subject to due diligence, the Sisters of Mercy, Singleton will transfer the 100% ownership of Mercy Health Care (Newcastle) Limited – which owns and operates the hospital – to Little Company of Mary Health Care Limited (LCM Health Care).


The Sisters of the Little Company of Mary are the members of LCM Health Care Limited and hold its reserve powers.


Terry Clout, Chief Executive, Hunter New England Area Health Service, said the Service looks forward to the Mater Hospital continuing to provide high quality services to the people of Newcastle.


“The Department’s formal approval to the change of ownership is subject to due diligence and to the exchange of appropriate contracts and agreements,” he said.


Subject to completion of these due diligence processes by all parties, it’s expected that the handover will be completed by the end of the year.


Sister Berice said in recent years the capacity of the Sisters of Mercy, Singleton to participate actively in the management and provision of services at the Mater Hospital has diminished because of the increasing age of the members of the congregation.


“For over a century the Sisters of Mercy, Singleton have fulfilled many other essential roles in the Diocese [of Maitland-Newcastle], including education. We know that the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary have the specialist knowledge, skills and organisational support necessary for 21st century health care.”


“I wish to acknowledge the dedication, expertise and commitment of the many hundreds of nurses, staff and medical professionals who have helped us carry out our mission at the Mater since 1921,” Sister Berice said.


In response, Sister Jennifer Barrow, Province Leader of the Sisters of Little Company of Mary, thanked Sister Berice and pledged that LCM Health Care will uphold the proud legacy of the Sisters of Mercy at the Mater and continue the mission into the future.


“We share a similar history, similar values and the same mission – to continue the healing ministry of Jesus, to relieve suffering and stand in solidarity with those who suffer, as a sign of hope reaching out to all,” Sister Jennifer said.


On behalf of the people of the Hunter region, the Chairman of Mercy Health Care (Newcastle), Brian McGuigan, praised the dedication of the Sisters of Mercy since founding the hospital in 1921, and heralded a new era for the Mater Hospital.


“The future of the Mater is in good hands. We are fortunate that a religious organisation with such close affinity with the Sisters of Mercy will guide the ongoing development of the Newcastle Mater Misericordiae Hospital.”


“LCM Health Care has the capacity to deliver – in close partnership with the State Government, New South Wales Health and the Hunter New England Health Service – a new hospital, with expanded radiation oncology and mental health services,” he said.


Helen O’Kane, Chair of the National Board of LCM Health Care, said that the Mercy Health Care (Newcastle) Limited Board structure would remain. The current Chairman, Brian McGuigan, will continue in the role and additional members will be appointed by LCM Health Care.


“It will be “˜business as usual’ at the Mater. Our commitment is to ensure that the highest traditions of quality care will be maintained. LCM Health Care also is committed to the redevelopment of the Mater Hospital through the PPP Agreement and to the rights, conditions and entitlements of staff,” she said.


LCM Health Care specialises in the provision of high quality public and private hospital care, acute and sub-acute care, palliative care, retirement and aged care services, and community and home care through 25 Calvary services, including 14 hospitals, in NSW, ACT, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.


Any messages to: Sister Margaret Sinclair RSM