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July 2017



A message from Group CEO, Toby Hall


Striving for something greater in workplace safety and culture is a strategic goal of the enVision2025 strategy – it’s also one of our biggest challenges.  

One of the key measurements of safety performance is our Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR). As you can see from the stats below, the great news is that our LTIFR continues to improve:

2014-15 LTIFRs: 12.55
2015-16 LTIFRs:
2016-17 LTIFRs: 4.94  

This means that 200 less people were injured compared to two years ago. These results are among health care industry best in the world and reflect the hard work put in across the organisation to change and improve our attitudes and behaviour around safety. 

Well done everyone and let’s keep improving on these numbers so that no one is injured at work.

Keeping our people safe is more than just preventing injuries at work, it’s an important part of the SVHA culture.   

Most of you here love St Vincent’s and you think it’s a great place to work but occasionally our culture is not quite what it should be. Because of this we are introducing the Ethos Program to ensure that when things go wrong with our culture, our staff, at every level have got a way to deal with it that’s professional, compassionate and understanding for everyone involved. 

No one should experience poor behaviour in our organisation and we should aim to celebrate respectful behaviour which is why I believe in the Ethos Program, why I’m sponsoring it and why the organisation is taking it so seriously. 

Ethos has been implemented in our Melbourne Public Hospital and will be expanded to all our hospitals. You can find out more by watching the  Ethos video

Keeping our people safe also means looking after each other and supporting our co-workers. We know that among our more than 18,000 staff, there are many who, even when facing their own struggles with illness, mental health and relationships still come to work each day to care for others with respect and compassion.

SVHA has several support services available (see below) and I urge you to access these if you feel you need support. Your local Mission leaders can also offer comfort, prayer and reflection so please reach out to them. 

You are all cherished members of our staff and we care deeply about your wellbeing. Together we can build a workplace that respects everyone and ensures that all staff and patients feel welcome, valued and safe …this is our ethos.


Support services for SVHA employees

This Way Up Clinic - online mental health support.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP) - confidential phone support free of charge by calling 1800 81 87 28. 

Nurses and Midwife Support - 24/7 national support service providing access to confidential advice and referral.

SVHA Family and Domestic Violence Workforce Support Policy – In line with our ongoing White Ribbon program, SVHA provides 10 days additional leave for any staff experiencing family/or domestic violence. 


by Esme Strydom, Director of Mission, St Vincent’s Care Services

In light of the increased focus on aged care and retirement living in the media over the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on our unique and multi-faceted industry, and its many amazing positive stories which are so easily and often overlooked. 

Aged care is a dynamic and ever-growing industry and is under pressure to continually adapt to meet the demands and needs of its current and future clients. What is more important than what the industry is or what it will be, is the people who make up aged care. At St Vincent’s Care Services, aged care is first and foremost our residents and clients, as well as our staff, families, volunteers, and visitors. Whether they are in our residential aged care facilities, out in the community receiving in-home care, or at one of our independent living communities, all are important and contribute to our unique story. Each of our facilities and services is its own small community, caring for each other.

This dedicated and committed group of people — whether they are providers or receivers of services — create a kaleidoscope of cultures, characters, wisdom, languages, skill sets, beliefs, stories, expectations and complexities. The richness of the individual makes aged care a special, creative, caring and loving industry to serve in and be part of. 

When you speak to our staff you find they are committed and caring and are working for St Vincent’s Care Services to make a difference. Making the transition into aged care in any form is often a confronting and challenging time for an elderly person and their family and our staff recognise this. Their aim is to make a residential aged care facility a true home for our residents, to provide the necessary in-home care for Community Living clients to enable them to stay at home longer, and provide an environment for people who want to still be independent but can no longer stay in their own home. 

One aspect of aged care which particularly strikes a chord with me is the many contrasts that exist in any one day. There is laughter through camaraderie and visits, taking part in lifestyle activities and in friendships. We are thanked by family members for caring for their loved one, and at the same time we are scrutinised if we don’t meet someone’s expectations. There is hope for the recovery of a sick resident or client and deep sadness when we say goodbye to someone we cared for. Change is part of this community; people come and go for various reasons, but each one leaves history and memories behind.

People who do not have much exposure to the aged care and retirement living industry often have misconceptions about it. They do not see the many joyful and heart-warming moments that we, as those who work in the industry, are so lucky to experience, and I believe we are truly privileged to serve our residents and clients and share these moments with them.

Spotlight on Mater Hospital Sydney


Mater Hospital Sydney is the first hospital in New South Wales to offer room service. Patients receive fresh, cooked to order meals delivered in under 45 minutes anytime between 6.30am and 7pm. 
All inpatients are offered room service, including those on fluid or texture modified diets. Patient’s meal ordering patterns are tracked after each meal to ensure no patient misses out on a meal. Within their diet restriction, the patient is in control of what food they receive and when, which in turn supports better nutrition and sleep.
Mater’s new room service provides greater flexibility in meal delivery times to meet appetite or clinical patient needs and improves insulin control as patients can select meal times and quantities similar to their home situation. The new service has not only resulted in increased patient satisfaction, it has also significantly decreased food wastage, as patients are able to order what they want to eat, at a time that suits them, and when they’re actually hungry.
The new system supports detailed capturing of patient food consumption and related wastage, providing clinicians with improved information for enhancing patient care. With a percentage of patients having a poor appetite and at risk of malnutrition, the potential improved nutritional intake and corresponding nutritional status aids their recovery and positively impacts their clinical outcomes.
Benefits of the new room service include:
  • Staff satisfaction – food services staff are finding the system easier to learn and far less complex, trolleys aren’t as heavy, equipment is easier to use.
  • 75% reduction in nutritional supplement usage – patients prefer to order extra nutrition from the menu, rather than using supplements.
  • Meal patterns have changed – patients are ordering three meals a day, compared to the previous six meals per day. The trend is for a hot breakfast and lighter midday meal, and no morning or afternoon tea as they are only ordering when they are hungry. This has resulted in a reduction in food costs.
  • Increased guest meal revenue – guest meal requests have doubled since the introduction of room service.

The service is still new and data collection is underway, however, preliminary feedback has been extremely positive from staff, patients, visitors and the general public.  Mater is excited to see the development of this new service and how it impacts on all aspects of patient care, from financial benefits, patient satisfaction, process efficiencies and most importantly clinical outcomes.

How are you inspired?

Sarah Tooke is Antenatal Midwife Coordinator at Mater Hospital Sydney helping women and their families to have a positive pregnancy, birth and postnatal experience. Sarah and her team recently won the $10,000 HESTA Australian Nursing and Midwifery award for their pre-admission midwife appointment program. Let’s get to know Sarah.  
1. What inspires you most about your work?
The team at Mater Maternity support families at a time of great change to adjust to being new parents. The new 'Pre-admission Midwife Appointment Program' that I am coordinating is such a great service and it’s rewarding to be able to offer this. The people I work with also inspire me. The Mater team are fantastic and that’s the reason I’ve been at the hospital for 11years.
2. What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I like country music.
3. What do you do when you aren’t working?
I look after my 2 beautiful boys aged 6 and 3 and spend time with my husband. I also run my own business providing private, in-home antenatal classes, postnatal support services and an online store. I like to swim, cook and enjoy good food and wine. I love family holidays too!
4.   If you could invite any 5 people in the world to dinner (living or not), who would they be and what would you cook?

Catherine Hamlin (Australian obstetrician and gynaecologist and 2014 Nobel Peace Prize recipient): I would love to meet her and hear more about the work she does. My Grandmother: I grew up with her and miss her a lot. I would love her to meet my kids and to see what we have been up to. My kids and my husband so they could meet my Grandmother (I would have to sneak my sister and parents in to get the chance to see her again too).

I wouldn't cook. I would organise catering/outsource food so I could make the most of the time I had with these people and not be distracted in the kitchen. If I could have a 6th person, I would invite Maggie Beer. I love her cooking and then maybe I could ask her to do the food.

5. What super power do you wish you had and how would you use it?
To make time stand still/pause the rest of the world. Some days there just aren't enough hours in the day and it would be easier if I could pause the world to do my jobs quickly (and kid free). I could then enjoy more hours with family or doing things I enjoy.

Advocacy win for SVHA

SVHA has led a successful effort to stop the Federal Government’s plan to make it harder for people with severe drug and alcohol addictions from accessing the Disability Support Pension (a welfare payment for people with significant limitations on their ability to work).

Under the proposal – announced in the May Federal budget – people severely impaired by alcohol or drug dependence would be diverted onto lower payments that include strict requirements to look for work or participate in training, or risk having their payments cut off.

Clinicians from St Vincent’s alcohol and drug treatment services at both our Sydney and Melbourne public hospitals identified that the proposal would cause major hardship among people who were already extremely vulnerable. 

“People who are so seriously struggling with the damage caused by years of heavy alcohol and drug use that they are unable to look after themselves, let alone apply for, or hold down, a job,” said Director of Addiction Medicine at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, A/Prof Yvonne Bonomo.

“This change will not improve a person’s job prospects. On the contrary, it’s likely to thrust their already difficult lives into greater turmoil. It was particularly concerning that the Government made this decision without any medical advice or input,” she said.

As part of St Vincent’s commitment to raise our voice for the vulnerable people we serve, we took our concerns to Canberra.

A/Prof Bonomo and A/Prof Nadine Ezard, Clinical Director at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney Alcohol and Drug Service met with the Ministerial staff and with politicians from across the political spectrum to convince them that the proposed changes would hurt rather than help vulnerable people. 

SVHA rallied other organisations that shared our concerns – including the Royal Australasian College of Physicians – to join our lobbying efforts. 

Through our combined efforts, when the proposed changes came before the Australian Senate they were voted down. 

SVHA’s Group CEO, Toby Hall, said: “We thank the Australian Labor Party, the Australian Greens, the Nick Xenophon Team, and Senators Jacquie Lambie and Derryn Hinch for their willingness to listen to our experts and their compassion for those most marginalised in our society.”

You can read more about the impacts of the proposal in an opinion piece by Toby Hall published in the Guardian

Comings and goings

St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane farewelled CEO Cheryle Royle in May after 6.5 years of service. During this time Cheryle led the way in the establishment of the Brisbane Centre for Pain Management; Queensland’s first private health fund partnership with BUPA in specialist palliative care for private patients in their home; and St Vincent’s partnership with Micah Projects establishing a nursing and health care support service at Brisbane Common Ground. Most recently Cheryle further strengthened the hospital’s partnership with Mater supporting their work to help improve the health and wellbeing of refugees. 

Cheryle now embarks on the next chapter in her life outside the hospital and we wish her the very best.

CEO of Holy Spirit Northside Private Hospital, Daniele Doyle, has expanded her role to take on CEO responsibilities at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane. CEO, St Vincent’s Private Hospitals Division, David Swan, said bringing the management of the two sites together will enable them to work closely in clinical services such as palliative care, rehabilitation and interim aged care.

“Daniele formerly had CEO responsibilities at Brisbane Private from 2006-2010. She is excited to once again take carriage of this important St Vincent’s Private Hospital facility especially with respect to sharing opportunities between SVPHB and Holy Spirit Northside.”

To support Daniele’s expanding role, Peter Williams has been appointed Director of Clinical and Support Services. Congratulations to Daniele and Peter.

SVHA’s Group Chief Information Officer, Owen Smalley left us in June after 6 years. Owen led significant change during this time including the centralisation of IT and the initial clinical information systems strategy. Owen and his wife Kath have taken the opportunity to fulfil an aspiration to serve remote Aboriginal groups first hand in the Warakurna community 800km west of Alice Springs. The couple has taken on the role of community managers working with the community leaders to achieve their aspirations and assist local people into jobs. 

Group CFO, Ruth Martin said: “It has been a privilege working with Owen. We will miss his intellect, his “can do” attitude and his tireless hard work as well as his passion for “going bush” and his photography skills.” 

The search for a new Group CIO is underway.

SVHA Group Manager Procurement, Craig Doyle left SVHA recently after 17 years. Group CFO, Ruth Martin said: “Craig contributed greatly to the organisation in a number of roles. Most notably in the last 6 years, Group Procurement Services set new benchmarks with suppliers in Australia, entered SVHA’s first strategic partnership (with Stryker) and is recognised as an industry leader in procurement. We have Craig's strong commercial negotiating skills to thank for a number of these partnerships.”

Jeff Westbrook has joined us in the role of Group Manager Procurement. Jeff began his career as a registered nurse before moving into procurement in health, Suncorp and as a consultant.

Ground breaking anti-slavery project

SVHA has joined forces with Australia’s leading anti-human trafficking group in a ground breaking effort to change the way hospitals treat trafficked people and how to ‘slavery proof’ the goods and services we use. 

ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) and St Vincent’s have launched the Human Trafficking Project, thought to be a first in Australia’s health care sector. 

The project will look at how trafficked people – who may present at any of our hospitals can be identified and receive necessary treatment, support, referrals and access to services. This includes women who have been sexually exploited, people facing forced marriage and people who have experienced forced labour. 

The project will also look at how to make sure the goods and services procured by St Vincent’s are slavery-free. This means investigating supply chains to ensure that a diverse range of goods – everything from medical equipment through to cotton sheets and gowns, and chocolates sold for hospital fundraising – have been produced without the use of enslaved or forced labour. 

A recent report by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation and The Australia Institute described how the production of every day medical goods – including surgical gloves, hospital garments, scissors, forceps, scalpels and suture needles – are associated with labour and human rights abuses in developing countries. 

ACRATH’s executive officer Christine Carolan said work around the long-term project had already begun by developing new supply chain policies for SVHA’s Group Procurement Services. 
“Slavery proofing supply chains also extends to the employment of people providing services. One example would be ensuring all staff working for third-party cleaning contractors engaged by St Vincent’s are employed under Australian labour regulations,” Christine said. 

SVHA’s Group Mission Leader Lisa McDonald says, “The project is an example of our deep commitment to working with people who are vulnerable."

“We know that most people who find themselves trapped in modern day slavery attend a hospital at some point. In health care we have a unique window of opportunity to not only address their health care needs, but to invite an organisational response in a way that might bring wider hope and transformation.” 

“This sort of change will take time, but within a year we hope to have taken some bold steps to address human trafficking that will provide a blueprint for the entire health system,” Lisa said. 

Have your say on SVHA

Have_your_saySVHA and Gallup are working together to conduct the 2017 SVHA Employee Engagement Survey. This survey is an opportunity for you to provide your feedback on SVHA as a place to work. 
When is the survey?
The survey period is 21 August – 11 September 2017.
How long will the survey take to complete?
The survey will take you about 10 minutes to complete.
How do I participate in the survey?
Your survey access code and link will be sent to you closer to the time by Gallup.
How will the results be used?
  • to recognise skilled managers in SVHA who engage with their teams in a positive way
  • to identify factors in your workplace that prevent you from delivering best performance; and
  • to help the executive team and your managers work with you and your team to build a better workplace. 
White Ribbon Workplace
SVHA is also working towards becoming a White Ribbon Australia Workplace. As part of our accreditation, we are conducting a survey. At the end of the Gallup survey, staff will be invited to complete the online White Ribbon survey. Participation in this survey is optional.

Sign off in style

Is your email signature in the approved SVHA style? We need your help with standardising staff email signatures across the organisation so that they are all consistent with the SVHA Style Guidelines. It may seem like a small thing but it’s an important part of protecting and promoting the St Vincent’s brand and identity. 
In the brave new world of IT and Workday, this will be automated but for now it needs to be done manually via Outlook. It’s easy - complete the template below then copy and paste into your Outlook signature. If you’re not sure how to do this, follow the steps below ‘How to change email signatures’.

Name | Title
Facility | Address

Logos should not be part of your email signature neither should clip art or flags. Temporary banners can be used for campaigns as long as they’re in the approved style and removed when the campaign is finished.
How to change email signatures
  1. In a new Outlook message select File>Options then select <Signatures>  (which is on the right hand side of the ‘Options’ screen).
  2. Select ‘Signature to edit>choose default signature – make sure you apply the style to new messages and replies/forwards.
  3. Copy and paste the signature into the ‘Edit Signature’ box.
  4. Select all the text.
  5. Under ‘Edit Signature’ select font size Arial 10.
  6. Click OK.
Contact Group Communications for more information: or your local Communications and Marketing team.

Inspired to Care Week

Inspired to Care Week put person-centred care in the spotlight in June, inviting everyone in the St Vincent’s Health Australia community to share their inspirations – to tell us who and what inspires them, and how they ensure the people in our care feel welcome, valued, and safe. 

Our community responded to that invitation with great enthusiasm. Visitors to the Inspired to Care Community Hub hit triple figures and well over 200 individuals and teams entered the Postcard Competition, Video Competition and Virtual Scavenger Hunt. Facilities organised local events, including a pop-up cinema, best dressed and trivia competitions, and even a 5ft tall ‘care bear’ doing rounds at one hospital. 

The response was so great and the entries so inspiring, that the judges have increased the number of prizes which will be awarded – look out for the announcement shortly. 

Visit the Inspired to Care Community Hub to see the entries in the postcard and video competition and more highlights from Inspired to Care Week. 


Entries in the Postcard competition came from almost 20 facilities and services across the Group. 

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