High quality residential aged care, no change in fees for residents, and continuation of current roles for permanent staff have been guaranteed as part of the sale of VincentCare Victoria’s aged care portfolio to fellow not-for-profit organisation mecwacare.
VincentCare Victoria Chief Executive Officer John Blewonski said the sale of the six aged care homes in regional Victoria and Melbourne, was a “great win /win for the community, residents and staff”.
“This is a big win for the community because another not-for-profit specialist in mecwacare will continue the great service at May Noonan Hostel. The sale will also now allow VincentCare to refocus on helping those in need most including seniors who were homeless or at risk of homelessness.
“Importantly, it’s really good news for residents at May Noonan Hostel who are guaranteed that they will not have to move and there will be no change to their fees.”
“Our residents will also benefit from being looked after by the same dedicated people, with all staff to be offered their same roles, with equivalent conditions under mecwacare ownership,” Mr Blewonski said.
With the sale expected to take effect from 1 February 2016, VincentCare will in the meantime continue operation of the sites that make up the sale - O’Mara House in Traralgon, St Vincent de Paul Nursing Home in Box Hill, VincenPaul Hostel in Mont Albert North, St Anne’s in Westmeadows, Vincentian Village in Hamlyn Heights (Geelong) and May Noonan Hostel in Terang.
Bailly House in North Melbourne was not offered as part of the sale and will be retained by VincentCare as it investigates options for the broader North Melbourne site.
Mr Blewonski said an exhaustive process had been undertaken to find another high quality owner of the six sites.
“This was a sale not based on price alone, and we were very clear to the interested parties that they had to demonstrate a commitment to high quality care, and share our values.”
“mecwacare bring 55 years’ experience caring for Victorians of all ages, irrespective of financial, religious, cultural or lifestyle background. They also operate an impressive network across Melbourne and regional Victoria which currently includes more than 1000 staff members and 250 volunteers serving over 10,000 Victorians each week,” Mr Blewonski said.
Several Catholic providers were also invited to submit purchase proposals though none chose to lodge a submission. However, the sale to mecwacare contemplates that there will be provision for religious observance, including a place to worship and visiting priests, and it is therefore expected that the current arrangements will continue at the homes.
As part the sale, mecwacare guarantees:
- Residents do not need to leave the home in which they live as their current arrangements remain unchanged;
- There will be no extra or increased bond or costs. There are strict guarantees put in place by the Commonwealth Government to protect interests in relation to these matters; and
- All permanent staff will be offered their same positions and equivalent conditions under mecwacare’s ownership from on or about 1 February 2016.
“With all permanent staff offered their same roles under the new owner, we expect all or most existing staff will remain. This means residents will continue to be looked after by the same dedicated people,” Mr Blewonski said.
Mr Blewonski will again meet with residents, families and staff in coming weeks at each of the homes to explain more fully the reasons for the sale, the process involved and the safeguards in place to support residents and staff through the process.
“I’d like to thank the residents, family, staff members and broader community for their support during the sale process. Our approach has been warmly welcomed by everyone affected, and we look forward to continuing our service during the next few months of transition.”
The decision to sell six of VincentCare’s seven residential aged care homes in Melbourne and regional Victoria follows a review conducted as part of the organisation’s Strategic Directions 2012 – 2015 document. The decision was made to fully focus on the mission of caring for the most marginalised Victorians, including elderly people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.