ACCC authorises collective group dealings between private hospitals

12 September 2012

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has authorised the St Vincent’s Health Australia Group and St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney to engage in collective and joint activity.

The arrangements include information sharing, collective bargaining and agreements not to deal with particular third parties.

The hospitals, other than St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney, are related bodies corporate and are already able to engage in collective and joint activity. Authorisation will enable St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney to operate as a single economic entity within the St Vincent’s Group of hospitals.

The application arises out of the unique governance structure of St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney. While it functions as part of the St Vincent’s Group of hospitals, it is a separate legal entity because of a bequest which requires it to continue to be operated by the Sisters of Charity.

The ACCC considers that authorising collective group dealings between these private hospitals will result in cost savings and operational efficiencies to the St Vincent’s Group of Hospitals, St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney, as well as suppliers and acquirers of their goods and services.

“The ACCC considers that the detriments from this agreement, if any, will be small due to the fact that the applicants, other than St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney, are currently able to legally engage in collective and joint activity. Therefore, the scope of the proposed arrangements under the authorisation is limited to the addition of St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney to the arrangements,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

The ACCC is authorising the conduct for a period of 10 years.

Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.

Related register records

Release number: 
NR 192/12
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