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A message from our Trustee, chair and group CEO

CEO Group
From left, Mr Toby Hall, Group Chief Executive Officer, St Vincent’s Health Australia; Mr Paul Robertson AO, Chair, St Vincent’s Health Australia; Dr Maria Theresa Ho, Chair, Trustees of Mary Aikenhead Ministries

Three years ago, when St Vincent’s Health Australia launched its 10-year strategy – enVision2025 – we based our plans on three important pillars: serving something greater, seeing something greater, and striving for something greater.

Serving something greater is all about pursuing excellence in our Mission-related activities. Jesus healed the sick and walked alongside the poor and vulnerable.

In other words, it’s about making sure that whatever initiatives, efforts or decisions we pursue, at any level, we must never lose sight of the Mission of the Venerable Mary Aikenhead to bring God’s love to those in need through the healing ministry of Jesus.

Everything we do is ultimately about realising that goal.

Seeing something greater is about delivery, both on our plans for greater innovation and new models of care, but also for growth.

We’re happy to report that 2018 was a significant year of delivery, across the organisation. In our private hospitals division, our plans to grow our existing facility footprint while expanding into strategic growth corridors took on dramatic shape.

In Melbourne, we saw the opening of the new $67 million St Vincent’s Private Hospital Werribee. St Vincent’s Werribee is designed and built to meet the future health needs of the city’s burgeoning outer west and south-west suburbs.

At St Vincent’s Private Hospital East Melbourne, we completed the construction of six brand new and refurbished areas to better serve our patients’ needs, including a day oncology and infusion centre, a urology and urogynaecology unit and an adult sleep studies unit.

In Queensland, we opened the new $30 million Clive Berghofer Operating Theatre Suite at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Toowoomba, adding six new state-of-the-art operating theatres.

And in Sydney, with the help of extraordinary generosity by our community of friends, we completed St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney’s new East Wing with 50 additional beds and two new operating theatres.

In our public hospitals, working closely with our university partners and co-located research institutes, the diversity of pioneering breakthroughs and ‘world first’ research during the year was truly extraordinary.

In our Melbourne hospital, efforts such as the ‘Just-in-time’ implants which use 3D printing, robotic surgery and advanced manufacturing to create tailored implants for patients with bone cancer; the ‘Biopen’, which uses 3D technology to print live cells to repair damage to cartilage, muscles, tendons and bones; and the ‘fitbit for the brain’, an implantable device to monitor epileptic seizures and warn patients when seizures are likely, all made headline news.

Care

And St Vincent’s Sydney’s credentials in precision medicine continued to grow with the Kinghorn Cancer Centre-based Genomic Cancer Medicine Program recognised with a $50 million grant from the Commonwealth – the largest ever genomics grant in Australia – to expand its work nationally over the next five years.

Meanwhile the St Vincent’s Sydney campus’ Clinical Services Strategy – a document that will change the face of our work across public, private and our research facilities over 10 years – continued to come to life.

And in our aged care division, it was a year of consolidation as the team bedded down a period of strong growth and change in 2016-17.

The emphasis in our aged care facilities was the sustainability of our operations, as well as augmenting services to residents, particularly in the areas of clinical care and lifestyle.

The fact this was achieved with the lowest rate of Lost Time Injury incidences for any aged care organisation in Australia and New Zealand reflects impressively on the professionalism of our staff.

Striving for something greater is about pursuing excellence in our day-to-day work and aspiring to greater heights, whether that be in providing ‘person-centred care’, our clinical research endeavours, or in our business operations.

It’s about improving and enhancing our workforce, pursuing more efficient facilities, and delivering an even more outstanding safety performance.

But while we strived for, and achieved, excellence across the organisation, we continued to emphasise above all else our commitment to the poor and vulnerable.

In Melbourne, an evaluation showed that, among homeless people, there was a 28 per cent decrease in the number needing to access our Emergency Department, a 34 per cent reduction in the number of unplanned inpatient admissions, and a 30 per cent reduction in length of stay in the six months following their contact with the public hospital’s homeless health services, such was their effectiveness.

The evaluation also showed that, overall, these targeted interventions by St Vincent’s Melbourne’s homeless health services saved the public health system $1.425 million freeing up valuable resources to be used elsewhere.

We raised our voice on subjects as diverse as ending homelessness, the risks associated with voluntary assisted dying legislation, the unfairness of drug testing income support recipients, and the need to take a more welcoming and humanitarian approach to refugees.

The organisation’s activity and advocacy took place against a changing landscape in Australian health care.

Particularly in the area of private health provision, Australians increasingly reconsidered their options when it came to private health insurance as premiums rose and out-of-pocket costs became of greater concern.

This resulted in many people reducing or deferring procedures compared to previous years leading to subdued volume growth in our private hospitals.

St Vincent’s Health Australia continued to increase efficiencies to offset subdued revenue growth without impacting the quality of patient care.

At the same time, we also increased our investment in clinical governance standards and technology (IT and medical equipment) to meet the changing needs of our patients and prepare ourselves for the future.

None of our work would be possible, of course, without the commitment, determination, professionalism and enthusiasm of our employees and volunteers.

The compassion and standards of care for which St Vincent’s is famous is not a product of the bricks and mortar of our workplaces, or the technology we use, however grateful we are for both. It’s a product of 19,000 extraordinary people working together – supported by our many volunteers and generous donors – living out our shared values in often unheralded and hidden ways.

From the kitchens in our facilities, administrative and clinical services, it’s our staff and volunteers who live our Mission.

We are grateful to them for all that they do.

Across the organisation, in every division – public, private, aged care and research – our enVision2025 strategy is strengthening and growing our operations so that more and more Australians can know our work and benefit from our care and support.

Mr Toby Hall
Mr Toby Hall
Group Chief Executive Officer
St Vincent’s Health Australia
Mr Toby Hall
Mr Paul Robertson, AO
Chair
St Vincent’s Health Australia
Mr Toby Hall
Dr Maria Theresa Ho
Chair
Trustees of Mary Aikenhead Ministries