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April 2017



A message from Group CEO, Toby Hall


Australia stands at a crossroads in its commitment to tackle homelessness.

Despite the efforts of governments and community and health service organisations, across the country, homelessness is on the rise and for many people is becoming more deeply entrenched. Hundreds of thousands of Australians live in the constant shadow of homelessness as they struggle with a lack of affordable and secure housing and other challenges.

In line with SVHA’s enVision2025 strategy to be leaders in Catholic health care and service to the poor and vulnerable, the health needs of those that are homeless is one of our key advocacy priorities.

Being Inspired to Care for the homeless and advocating on their behalf is something we have done well for a long time. St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney has been doing it for more than 160 years. The hospital has played an important role in identifying the health needs of homeless people and working in partnership with governments and non-government agencies to develop innovative programs that make a difference.

Tierney House at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney is a great example. It provides accommodation and health care to chronically homeless people as they convalesce from illness or receive treatment for chronic health conditions.

Tierney House is an antidote to a significant problem inner city hospitals face across Australia: vulnerable rough sleepers – without any ongoing health care co-ordination – presenting at hospital EDs, sometimes on multiple occasions in the space of a few days or weeks, for non-emergency care.

What Tierney House does is very straightforward but effective. It diverts people from EDs while providing the stability they need to address their health concerns.

By making sure a homeless person’s health is attended to and maintained – and also by linking them with housing support and other services – we dramatically reduce ambulance callouts and visits to our ED, which is an extremely costly way for people to access routine health care.

Tierney House is supported by SVHA’s Inclusive Health Strategy which has been developed to facilitate significant improvement in the services we provide to those most in need. One of our key Inclusive Health projects involved funding a comprehensive evaluation of the health outcomes for and cost benefits of homeless people accessing Tierney House.

In addition to its health advantages, it was found that the Tierney House program delivers a net cost-benefit to NSW taxpayers of $8,276 per person over two years by reducing ED and other hospital presentations and admissions.

What makes these achievements even more significant is that these are some of the most vulnerable members of our community who traditionally have much higher rates of chronic illness.

It’s not often you get to offer a solution to a major problem that provides such value for care but that’s exactly what Tierney House achieves. It was featured recently on the ABC’s 7.30 Report which you can view at the link below:

Look out for more details on the great SVHA projects supported as part of the Inclusive Health Strategy in future editions of this newsletter.


A small group of pilgrims from Mary Aikenhead health and education Ministries visited Hobart recently to experience the history of our founding Sisters of Charity. Abbie Clark, SVHA’s Group General Manager Public Affairs joined the pilgrimage and shared her experience.

‘We were very lucky to be joined on our pilgrimage by a number of Sisters of Charity – including some who had spent considerable parts of their lives in Hobart delivering the Mission.

Visiting the places where the Sisters lived and worked, it is clear these were no ordinary 19th Century women. They had travelled across the world, to arrive very literally at the end of the earth in Hobart to shocking conditions. But they immediately got on with it. They worked tirelessly and at a cracking pace: visiting convicts; teaching children and orphans; and all the while planning and raising funds to expand their work.

I was particularly struck by the visit to the docks and then the female factory where thousands of mostly poor women and girl convicts were imprisoned and put to work. The suffering and maltreatment the convicts experienced – many for very minor ‘crimes’ – was heartbreaking. The Sisters walked around 5 kilometres each way, every day to visit the convicts. How welcome their love, compassion and solidarity must have been in that loveless place.

We also visited a number of schools established by the Sisters and heard how they had grown from very humble beginnings under the Sisters’ stewardship. It is clear that our founders were both resourceful and astute in the delivery of their Ministries.

Back at my desk, it feels a great privilege to continue the work of the Sisters of Charity. It is also a great responsibility to deliver it in the tradition of those first Sisters in both Sydney and Hobart – with love and compassion, with energy and determination and with an eye to the future.’

Spotlight on St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne

St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne (SVPHM) is one of Melbourne’s largest private hospital providers with 502 beds, 1850 staff and three locations. In 2016, the hospital had more than 53,000 admissions including more than 40,000 operations. Its specialities include orthopaedics, obstetrics, reconstructive plastic surgery and neurosciences, plus ENT, paediatrics, oncology, haematology, gynaecology and colorectal surgery.

This year the hospital is preparing for the opening of its fourth campus, St Vincent’s Private Hospital Werribee. The Werribee area is one of the fastest growing areas in Victoria with an average of 1 classroom of children born every week. Currently there is only 1 public hospital servicing this vast area. The new hospital will open in November with 49 overnight beds, 3 operating theatres, 4 delivery suites, 4 special care nursery cots, day procedure unit, cath lab, day oncology, rehab facilities radiology and pathology.

As the opening of Werribee approaches, the hospital is preparing for the future at its Fitzroy hospital and is currently working with the local council and building regulators in the planning and development of a brand new hospital. The new hospital will take 3 years to build and will include 90 new inpatient beds, 8 new operating theatres, additional ambulatory care plus expansion of its existing services.

The East Melbourne campus is also undergoing construction of a new floor in 2017 to further provision for the growing demand of the area.


Ian Grisold, CEO of St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne looking ahead to the opening of SVHA’s new private hospital in Werribee.

How are you inspired?

St Vincent’s Private Hospital East Melbourne (SVPHEM) provides ongoing support to the Children First Foundation (CFF), an organisation that provides funding and support for children from around the world who need life changing surgery. CFF pulls together the medical team and SVPHEM paediatrics ward provides the hospital and nursing staff for surgery to take place. Often the children require multiple surgeries to correct their condition.

The hospital’s physiotherapy team, including Pauline Macleod, Ruth O’Connor, Jade Brown and Jeremy Duggan realised the importance and the benefits of ongoing physio treatment for these patients. However, initially the children would return to the farm they stay at to be cared for by volunteers and their relationship with the hospital would cease.

In response to this, our team, led by Pauline, began making monthly visits to the CFF farm to provide physiotherapy assistance to the children post-surgery. They soon realised this wasn’t enough and started a new program in the gym at the hospital, giving up their lunch time every Wednesday to provide physiotherapy support to the children.

Now in its fourth year the physio team has provided ongoing support to over 30 children. Pauline is now also attending the farm that the children reside at every fortnight to provide yoga and pilates classes and the physio team are providing advice and support for a new purpose built gym that will be constructed in the future for all children at CFF.

Jade Brown currently provides support to each of the CFF patients needing physio treatment each week and enjoys seeing the kids having fun and making so much progress, preparing them for their return to their home countries.


Theresa and Koko from Children’s First Foundation with (right) Foundation volunteer Kaye Aitken and staff members Tania Pasquariello and Jade Brown.

SVHA appoints ethicist to Mission team


SVHA has appointed Dr Dan Fleming to the new role of Group Manager Ethics & Formation. Dan will lead ethics education, advice and advocacy as well as formation across the group. This is the first time that a Catholic health organisation in Australia has brought ethics into its centre in a systemic way - as distinct from the more common model which keeps ethics as the focus of consultant bioethicists and ethics committees.

The shift to this model reflects similar in Catholic health organisations in the US which have sought to make ethics a centrepiece of their operations. It’s also a new and distinct focus for our Mission team.

Previously Dan held the positions of Academic Dean and Senior Lecturer in Theology and Ethics at BBI – The Australian Institute of Theological Education. He holds a PhD in moral philosophy and theology, and is the author of over 25 publications in the areas of moral philosophy, theological ethics, moral education, religious education and theology. His most recent publications focus on the intersections between religious world views and moral courage.

According to Dan part of SVHA’s new ethics focus involves ‘reframing the ethics conversation’ and growing it from a conversation about specific issues, which are the realm of experts and clinicians alone, to a conversation which brings in the work and life experience of all of SVHA’s employees.

“Ethics in this sense is fundamentally about encouraging our staff to think about ethics in relation to their work and life and providing opportunities to develop understanding of ethics in ways that are relevant and exciting for people to engage with,” Dan said.

“It is also about providing a compelling narrative of what is good and just which can support and direct SVHA’s commitment to compassion, justice, integrity and excellence across all of our ministries. This includes the specific issues that we normally associate with ethics, but crucially also opens up a fertile field for further exploration – something I refer to as the ethical ambience of all of life.”

Dan will be working with local facilities to discover what needs they have in the area of ethics – be they opportunities for ethics education, discussion of ethical issues, or the need for better resources – and working collaboratively on ways to respond to those.

“I’ll also be working closely with the Group Advocacy team to provide ethical expertise for those matters which SVHA wishes to advocate on which have contentious or difficult ethical aspects. Some current examples include assisted dying legislation and the best way to respond to people with a drug addiction,” Dan said.

A ‘greener’ SVHA

The installation of 10,000 solar PV panels across 16 of our hospitals and aged care facilities is a key initiative of SVHA’s National Energy Action Program (NEAP) that will help keep energy costs down and reduce our carbon footprint. It’s also one of Australia’s largest health care rollouts of solar power.

Rooftop solar PV systems have so far been installed and are producing ‘green’ energy at St Vincent’s Care Services, Bardon and Toowoomba facilities, Sacred Heart Health Service, Darlinghurst, St Joseph’s Hospital, Auburn and Mater Clinic, Wollstonecraft.

SVHA Group General Manager People & Culture, David Bryant said: "In line with our enVision2025 strategy, the NEAP will help ensure the long-term sustainability of our health and aged care services and continued delivery of our Mission.

"The primary focus of the NEAP is to drive a cohesive and coordinated approach to delivering major reductions in our total electricity use, through selective application of energy efficiency technologies.”

“We hope to reduce our annual energy consumption by about 36 Gigawatt hours by mid-2018,” David said.

"This represents a 35-40% reduction of current consumption and will deliver a cost saving of approximately $6.5 million annually while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by around 36,000 tonnes per annum.”

Our NEAP has three main components: the rollout of solar panels across our sites; implementing a wireless system for energy management and appliance control across our facilities; and retrofitting existing incandescent and fluorescent lighting with LED alternatives.

“This technology can make health care more sustainable and is a viable alternative to fossil fuel based electricity which has both health and environmental impacts,” David said.

“We hope our leadership inspires other organisations to consider solar as a way to reduce their carbon footprint.”


Super solar! A bird's eye view of St Vincent's Care Services Toowoomba which has almost 900 solar panels installed.

Our inspiring ‘Women of the Year’ finalists

Dr_Emily_Granger   Prof_Fran_Boyle

Dr Emily Granger (pictured above left), a surgeon at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney and Prof Fran Boyle (right), Director of the Patricia Ritchie Centre for Cancer Care and Research at the Mater Hospital North Sydney were both finalists in the 2017 NSW Premier’s Award for Woman of the Year.

Emily is one of Australia’s pioneering cardiothoracic and heart lung transplant surgeons. She has performed over 1400 general cardiothoracic operations and over 100 heart and lung transplants. Fran has been at the forefront of breast cancer research for more than 20 years, from laboratory research to clinical trials and psychosocial care. Her work has helped expedite Australian women’s access to innovative treatments which improve survival for women with high risk breast cancer.

The NSW Women of the Year Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding contribution made by women across NSW to industry, community and society. The 2017 awards were presented at a ceremony in Sydney on International Women’s Day (8 March) attended by more than 400 guests, including Members of Parliament.

Nurse researcher enters Hall of Fame

Professor Sandy Middleton Director of the Nursing Research Institute – a collaboration between SVHA and the Australian Catholic University – will be inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame in July.

Prof Middleton is one of 23 individuals in 2017 who have achieved significant and sustained national or international recognition and whose research has improved the profession and the people it serves. Congratulations Sandy for your incredible contribution to global health and the future of nursing.

Inspired to Care


We feel welcome. We feel valued. We feel safe. These are St Vincent’s Health Australia’s person-centred care principles, and they are at the heart of the Inspired to Care program.

The principles reflect the distinctive brand of compassionate care that St Vincent’s is so well known for, and represent our promise to the community that every person who experiences our care will feel welcome, valued, and safe.

Regardless of your role or where you work, you have an important part to play in making sure we keep that promise. The purpose of the Inspired to Care program is to celebrate and encourage excellence in person-centred care, shine a light on areas where we can do better, and maintain a strategic Group-wide view of person-centred care. Here is a sample of what’s coming up and how you can get involved.

Inspired to Care Community Hub

It is our aim to build a vibrant person-centred care network where staff across the Group can find and share resources and ideas, join a discussion, and profile the people, programs and stories that inspire us in our work. That’s where the Inspired to Care Community Hub comes in. You can help shape the site by letting us know what type of features, content, and topics you’re most interested in. Register at

Inspired to Care Week 5–11 June 2017

We’re putting person-centred care in the spotlight in June. Inspired to Care Week will give you a chance to focus on the ways you can and do make people feel welcome, valued and safe – and have fun (and maybe even win a prize) along the way. More details will be announced via the Community Hub in May, so watch that space.

Inspired to Care Grants

Over the coming year the Inspired to Care Grants Program is supporting 14 projects which will help our patients and residents feel more welcome, valued and safe. The Grants Program was highly competitive, with 52 proposals submitted. What the projects share is a clear person-centred focus and an organisation-wide view, with the majority showing fantastic potential to be adapted by other SVHA facilities.

You can read about these projects, and a whole lot more, on the Inspired to Care Community Hub. You can also get in touch by emailing or calling Kylie Preece on 03 9231 1736.

SVHA enters exclusive partnership with Stryker

SVHA is advancing its procurement approach from a tactical, operational focus to more sophisticated strategic partnerships with better benefits. In line with this, we have entered our first strategic partnership with Stryker for the procurement of innovative surgical technology.

Under this exclusive agreement, Stryker is now the sole supplier of certain categories of surgical robots and operating theatre equipment to all our hospitals.

The agreement covers the following equipment:

  • Mako orthopaedic robots
  • Power tools
  • Cameras/stacks
  • integrated operating theatres (iSuites)
  • Surgical lights
  • Operating tables

This partnership agreement is designed to strengthen our position in the market from a clinical and purchasing perspective. With five Mako robots, SVHA now has the largest robotic orthopaedic capability in Australia.

Should you have any questions please contact Craig Doyle, Group Manager Procurement: T: +61 7 3326 3729 M: +61 414 365 727 E:

Hurry! SVHA awards entries closing soon


It’s time to finalise your entry in this year’s Innovation & Excellence Awards …but hurry, entries close on Friday 19 May. These hotly contested annual awards recognise and celebrate the great work of our people across our health and aged care services who are ‘Inspired to Care’ every day by our Mission and Values.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the closing date for entries?
Friday 19 May 2017

Who can enter?
The awards are open to all staff across our facilities and services – individuals and teams.

What is the theme for this year’s awards?
This year’s theme is ‘Welcomed, valued and safe’ reflecting SVHA’s commitment to putting the well-being of our staff, patients, residents, their families and carers at the centre of everything we do.

How do I enter?
Everything you need to enter including the Awards Guide Book and entry template is available via the Awards online portal:

Where can I find out more information?
Look on the awards online portal or contact the Awards Manager, Janelle Fisk

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