Inspired to Serve is St Vincent’s Health Australia’s one-day formation program which gives employees from across the organisation
a chance to connect with the origins and traditions of St Vincent's.
In 2017-18, 54% of SVHA’s staff experienced the program, exceeding target by 8 per cent. The program is on track to reach all staff members
over the next two years.
Part of Inspired to Serve’s success has been the ability for Mission to shape its delivery to meet the sometimes unique needs of a very diverse workforce.
For example, the Medical Imaging Department at St Vincent’s Sydney took part alongside their own scanners and technology so staff could be on hand to
respond to urgent medical demands if required.
During 2017-18, St Vincent’s Melbourne requested SVHA Mission help guide the organisation to a position on the proposed medically supervised
injecting centre (MSIC) trial in suburban Richmond, given the tragic and increasing mortality rate for injecting drug users in the area.
The hospital's addiction medicine specialists challenged SVHA to consider how an MSIC might reduce the number of overdoses and
help users on a pathway to treatment and rehabilitation.
This meant revisiting a very public debate that last involved St Vincent’s in 1999, culminating in the Sisters of Charity withdrawing
from the proposed MSIC in Sydney.
Led by the Mission unit, a group including addiction medicine specialists, church leaders, the organisation’s advocacy team, executives,
and ethicists examined Melbourne’s heroin crisis, international evidence for MSICs, the organisation’s Code of Ethical Standards, and the 1999 debate.
After its deliberations, the group recommended
SVHA support Melbourne’s MSIC trial
given the centre’s capacity to save lives and
improve the recovery outcomes of injecting drug users.
SVHA Mission’s work in this area has helped other Catholic services around the world respond to this complex need, including
Providence Health Care, in Canada, which underwent a similar process and in May 2018 opened the first MSIC-type service on a Catholic hospital site in that country.
SVHA’s Inclusive Health Program (IHP) continues to grow its mission to the most vulnerable. In the last year, the IHP funded just over $3
million in projects that are developing and delivering innovative and compassionate care to marginalised populations, as well as a number of research
projects to improve understanding of the issues faced by patients and aged care residents with complex needs.
One exciting project supported by the IHP is St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne’s
Recovery and Support Program (RaSP).
RaSP supports people who are both alcohol and drug dependent and who have a mental illness, many of whom also have a range of other
serious problems, including homelessness and long-term unemployment.
RaSP’s strength is that it helps participants clarify what is important and meaningful in their lives and then uses an individual’s own
values to guide, inspire and motivate change.
At the same time, services (such as housing and employment support) are wrapped around the participants with RaSP staff providing ongoing care,
assertive outreach and follow-up.
The unique components of this program have resulted in early outcomes that are exceptional and rare in the complex arena of addiction medicine.
To date, RaSP has seen 94 participants commence the program with an 80.5% completion rate.
And after 28 years of actively addressing unmet social need in the community, the Sisters of Charity Outreach community service organisation –
which has been supported by the St Vincent’s Clinic since 1990 – changed its name to Open Support.
The organisation provides much-needed services to vulnerable and disadvantaged clients from across regional NSW and metropolitan Sydney
including no-cost transport for medical reasons, a visiting program for socially isolated people, and affordable shared accommodation for rural
patients attending medical appointments and hospital stays in Sydney.