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March 2017


SVHA Newsletter

A message from Group CEO, Toby Hall


Launch of National Energy Action Program 

I’m very pleased to announce that SVHA has embarked on an ambitious organisation-wide National Energy Action Program (NEAP) that will dramatically reduce our carbon footprint and our energy costs.

The program is an important way for SVHA to deliver more efficient and sustainable health and aged care and supports our enVision2025 strategy in striving for something greater through excellence and continual improvement.

The NEAP will deliver a range of energy efficiency solutions aimed at reducing our total electricity consumption by around 35% by mid-2018. It will deliver a cost saving of about $6 million annually while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 35% per annum.

We are the first health and aged care organisation to implement such a comprehensive program for energy efficiency.

SVHA as a group consumes a vast amount of energy primarily through the use of electricity. To put this in context we annually consume the equivalent domestic consumption of a town of 50,000 people. Hospitals in particular, are very energy intensive – up to 4.5 times more, on a metre squared basis, than the equivalent office space.

Our consumption of gas and electricity generates emissions of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) greenhouse gases of 125,000 tonnes every year and is our single greatest environmental impact. At the same time, price rises for both gas and electricity in Australia have seen the cost of energy grow substantially. We’ve experienced a 40% increase in our energy costs.

The NEAP is in line with the Catholic Church’s position on climate change, resource use and humanity’s consideration of creation and the environment. There is an urgent need to change, to move away from extracting from the earth and to giving back and not just to the environment. We must also understand that concern for nature, justice for the poor and a commitment to society are indivisible.

This plan will demonstrate to other health care organisations and the broader community that caring for the environment is caring for humanity which is at the core of our Mission and the work we do in our healing ministry.

There are several key initiatives in the NEAP. 

The first of these currently underway is the installation of solar PV systems across 16 of our hospitals and aged care facilities in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. This is one of Australia’s largest commercial rollouts of solar power and is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

Once completed the system will have a daily average production of over 11MWh of electricity which is enough to power about 662 homes.

You can find out more about our energy program in this issue of Inspire News and we will continue to update you on progress as it rolls out.  We also hope to engage and inspire our staff in being part of a ‘greener’ SVHA by sharing your personal sustainability efforts and stories …watch this space.



Ash Gupta is a physiotherapist by trade. She has worked at St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne (SVHM) in this capacity as a member of the Assessment, Liaison and Early Referral team and for many years as a Coordinator in Aboriginal Health. Her current role is SVHM Mission Services and Social Justice Manager and she recently completed a 4-month stint as the Acting Director of Mission. Here are her reflections ...

No doubt, a Mission Director’s role is to be able to articulately convey what our Mission means. Through orientation presentations, reflections and formation days, this was a strongly recurring activity. Time and time again, I was honoured to describe our extraordinary heritage, values, our identity as a Catholic health care service and our deep commitment to those who are vulnerable and marginalised. What I didn’t expect was that this experience would compel me to re-evaluate my own understanding of our Mission. By delving into our history, speaking with alumni and Sisters of Charity and meeting our inspiring staff of today, I started to realise that our Mission is far broader than what first meets the eye.

During the highs of the Christmas season and summer period, I witnessed both joy and immense generosity within our community. Cheerful singing accompanied many of our reflection services and blessings. Hundreds of thoughtfully assembled gift hampers were delivered to our most disadvantaged patients. Another wonderful tradition continued, too - the Annual Christmas Ward Round when our medical staff in fancy dress, voluntarily delivered treats and musical cheer to our patients on Christmas Day.

The past 4 months have also taught me that our community is united and strong. This was never more apparent than on one dark, Friday afternoon in Melbourne in January. On our doorstep, we bore witness to the horrific unfolding of the Bourke Street tragedy. The display of teamwork, compassion and dedication by all of our staff was astonishing.  After we cared for the victims and their families, I saw our family come together to share in grief and place our arms around each other.

As witness to these events, I am convinced that our Mission encompasses every aspect of our service - our spirit, our attitudes, our decisions, our actions and all that we choose to embark on. I am convinced that we are not just sustaining our Mission, we are also sustained by it.

So, this is what I now believe: our Mission embodies more than meets the eye. It encompasses our responsibility to patient-centred care. It challenges us to deepen our sense of holistic care; so that “holistic” is not simply a bio-psychosocial paradigm but encompasses a fuller and spiritual sense of wellness. It asks of us that we continuously seek to improve our craft and we collaborate to achieve the best outcomes. And so often, I saw that our Mission is about caring for each other; our colleagues.

In so many ways, this experience has been deeply replenishing. Personally, I know it has been one of immense growth. For this and much more, I will always be grateful and proud to be a part of this incredible organisation and to be able to contribute to the care of the people we serve, every day.

Spotlight on St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane


This year, St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane (SVPHB) celebrates its 60th anniversary.

In 1957 when the pioneering Sisters of Charity opened the hospital doors to the local community to support the ‘incurably sick and dying’ it was known as ‘Mount Olivet Hospital’. Today that name is synonymous with exceptional and compassionate care and has made the facility an iconic part of Queensland history and the Brisbane landscape.

Brisbane Private is Queensland’s largest specialist palliative care service provider, offering care in the home as well as the hospital. Last year, the hospital embarked on a 2-year pilot program with Bupa to deliver an innovative model of home based palliative care that improves end-of-life and offers greater choice - a Queensland first where the private sector has collaborated to deliver this model of home-based palliative care.

The hospital is an innovative health service offering specialised care for people with chronic, complex and multiple health needs. In 2013, it opened the Brisbane Centre for Pain Management offering a comprehensive range of chronic pain management services, programs and the latest treatments from one location. The hospital also offers Queensland’s only adolescent pain management program that is making a difference in the lives of young people and their families.

SVPHB partners with Micah Projects and Mater Health Services at Brisbane Common Ground, a local supported housing initiative, and through the Pathways Project, a post-hospital discharge service, to make a difference in the lives of people who are homeless or at risk. And last year, together with Mater, it began funding a new Inaugural Refugee Health Fellow position and Refugee Health Advisory Group to improve primary care and create a bridge between the refugee community and health care.

Since 1957, the hospital has risen to meet the health care needs of the community. Sixty years on, it is still strong and still growing - proud and humbled, to continue in the footsteps of the inspirational women who paved its way. You can learn more about the hospital’s rich history at


Mary Bedford gifted the land on which St Vincent’s Private Hospital stands to the Sisters of Charity in honour of her good friend Dr Lilian Cooper, Queensland’s first female registered doctor. Ms Bedford would accompany Dr Cooper on her home visits and serve as her ‘driver’.


Most Reverend James Duhig addressing the gathering at the official opening of Mount Olivet, 8 September 1957.


The hospital’s first administrator Mother Giovanni Ackman, R.S.C
Photo courtesy Brisbane Telegraph

How are you inspired?


Jaimie Byrne looks after facility maintenance and gardening at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane. He was awarded the 2016 CEO Award for his outstanding demonstration of SVHA values. We asked Jaimie 5 quick questions.

1. What inspires you most about your work?      
As the gardener, I love that my job is to create a beautiful environment. I feel inspired when patients tell me how important the garden is for them when they are here long term.

2. What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I’ve got a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a double major in history from the University of Queensland.

3. What do you do when you aren’t working?
Look after my family. Read as much as I can and I play indoor soccer.

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? 
Issac Asimov, Emma Watson, Carl Sagan, Bernie Sanders and Robin Williams. I’d make tacos, because I make pretty good tacos!

5. What super power do you wish you had and how would you use it?
Mind Control. So I could convince the bank I don’t owe them money.

Bringing palliative care to Cape York

SVHA has committed $450,000 to bring culturally appropriate palliative care services to 5  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Cape York.

People living in remote Cape York communities experience some of the highest levels of chronic disease and poorest health outcomes in Australia yet don’t have access to local palliative care. The nearest palliative care is more than 1000 kms away which means leaving the community, leaving family and country to travel to Cairns.

Part of SVHA’s Reconciliation Action Plan, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlines our commitment over five years in partnership with Northern Peninsula Area Family and Community Services, Apunipima Cape York Health Council (Apunipima) and the Cape communities.

The initiative includes development of a culturally appropriate model of care and a business plan to establish a permanent palliative care service and community capacity building through ongoing clinical support.

Associate Prof Mark Boughey, Deputy Director of St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne’s Centre for Palliative Care, said – first and foremost – he and his colleagues would listen to the communities about their palliative care needs. 

“It’s going to be a learning exercise and an exercise in trust-building. We need to listen to the people in community, and understand what they want from their palliative care service, so that it will cater to the requirements of those who will access it,” he said.

“From there, an appropriate service model can be developed, and then local stories will spread about how members of the communities will die respectfully, at home, on country and with family.” 

Apunipima Board Member, Patricia Yusia, said: “It is great to see that St Vincent’s Health Australia is not only willing to fund this project, but is willing to walk alongside Apunipima and local community services in how we can best help these communities.” 

The NPA palliative care project is an extension of an ongoing partnership between St Vincent’s and Apunipima that already provides primary health care services to 11 Cape York communities and advocates for 17 others, including those of the Northern Peninsula Area.

The MOU was signed in December 2016 at a ceremony in Bamaga, Northern Peninsular Area, Cape York attended by local officials and SVHA senior leaders Lani Blanco-Frances, David Bryant and John Willis.

Cape_York_1 Cape_York_2 

MOU signing ceremony in Cape York.

Home care …new direction, exciting opportunities

Australia’s aged care sector is undergoing a major transformation as it moves towards a sustainable, consumer-led market. This presents significant growth opportunities for our aged care division, St Vincent’s Care Services (SVCS).

The most significant change in aged care in recent years has been the shift to consumer-directed care — providing residents and clients with greater choice and control over what care and support they receive, as well as where, how and when they receive it. This aligns the industry with our own approach: delivering person-centred care.

The next stage of the government’s reform agenda is a change to Home Care Packages (HCPs) that will see ‘funding following the consumer’. From 27 February 2016, clients will have the ability to receive home care services anywhere in Australia from the provider of their choice. Previously, places and funding were allocated to and managed by providers. A single national waitlist will also be introduced, and approved providers will no longer be restricted to particular HCP levels or specific regions.

Impacts from these changes will be felt across the health care sector. It will not only impact how we deliver home care services, it will also alter how our acute facilities refer patients.

Our aged care division is well prepared. SVCS has an ambitious, yet robust, expansion plan for its Community Living (home care) services to align with the geographic catchments of our private and public hospital network. It will also be working with SVHA and external referrers to ensure they have the information they need and understand what the home care reforms mean for them.

We will provide further updates on the aged cared reforms in the coming months.


St Vincent’s Care Services staff member Danne Tran.

PM opens social enterprise venture

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull congratulated St Vincent’s Private Hospital Toowoomba on being the first customer of a local social enterprise venture, Vanguard Laundry Service, during the official opening of the ground-breaking project on16 January.

Vanguard Laundry Service is a $5 million commercial laundry and career development centre that will help people with mental illness return to work. The project was two years in the making and involved 45 community partners.  

Mr Turnbull said Vanguard Laundry Service was an innovative project and had come to fruition through government funding, donations from benefactors and the St Vincent’s Hospital nine-year anchor contract.

Speaking at the opening, hospital CEO Kathryn McKeefry, said she was delighted to see the laundry functioning.

 “We are pleased to be a part of an initiative that has gained overwhelming support from the local community and a number of benefactors with the collective aim of creating a pathway from unemployment to a sustainable career,” she said.

Members of the hospital’s executive team and SVHA Private Hospitals CEO David Swan attended the opening, along with Members of State and Federal Parliament, community members and benefactor representatives.


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and St Vincent’s Private Hospital Toowoomba CEO Kathryn McKeefry pictured with benefactor representatives at the Vanguard Laundry Service official opening.

Hospitals reduce golden staph infections

The Australian Institute of Health & Welfare recently published its 2015-2016 annual data on the rates of golden staph infections (Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia - SAB) in Australian hospitals. SAB is a serious bloodstream infection that may be associated with hospital care. Patients who develop bloodstream infections such as SAB are more likely to suffer complications that result in longer stays in hospital, and the most serious infections can result in death. Hospitals aim to have as few cases as possible.

St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney (SVHS) has had a great result. The SAB rate has dropped from 2.38 in 2013-14 to 1.03 in 2014-15. Over the last 12 months, the rate has come down to 0.48 representing an 80% reduction in infections over 3 years. SVHS also has the lowest rate for golden staph among all the major public hospitals in Australia in 2015-16.

St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne (SVHM) has also fared well.  The hospital’s Golden staph infection rate has dropped by 20% year-on-year and is down 40% on 2013-14.

Both SVHS and SVHM are in the category of ‘Major Hospitals’ and their results are included in the easy-to-read table (at the link below) where they are compared with all their other peer hospitals around Australia:

Congratulations to the teams at both hospitals for their education and leadership to promote infection prevention as a high priority for patient safety. 

Opening of new aged care facility

St Vincent’s Care Services (SVCS) Maroochydore has opened on the Sunshine Coast providing aged care services within a community precinct that includes the new Stella Maris Catholic Church and a community wellness centre.

SVCS recently welcomed the first of 124 residents to the new facility.

Onsite facilities include communal spaces, a beauty and hairdressing salon, theatre room, library and business centre, and a skybar — a place where residents can watch the sunset over the water while enjoying a cocktail.

SVCS CEO, John Leahy said the signature of this contemporary aged care service is the staff.

“They are dedicated and skilled, and work to make every day a celebration of life by getting to know each resident, catering to their individual needs and always making them the priority,” Mr Leahy said.


St Vincent’s Care Services Maroochydore has opened on the Sunshine Coast.

A woman of vision

SVHA together with the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne recently launched the Sister Doctor Mary Glowrey Scholars Program.

This initiative, in collaboration with the Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI), recognises Sr Dr Glowrey’s pioneering contribution to medicine and health care in Australia and India, by supporting clinicians from across India to further their training and development in Melbourne.

Mary Glowrey was the first St Vincent’s Clinical School female medical graduate in 1910 and first female appointee to the medical staff. She was an exemplar and trailblazer throughout her life dedicated to improving the health of underprivileged women and children firstly in Victoria and later in rural India from 1920 until her death in 1957.

Speaking at the launch event, SVHA’s Group CEO Toby Hall said: “In memory of Mary Glowrey’s story we are delighted to be part of this partnership establishing the Sister Dr Mary Glowrey Scholars Program.

“It is a source of pride that Mary Glowrey drew on skills and experience gained in her time at St Vincent’s in her later years. In her autographical notes stating …‘I can never sufficiently express the gratitude I owe to St Vincent’s Hospital’.


[from left] Professor Shitij Kapur, University of Melbourne, Reverend Doctor Mathew Abraham, Director General of Catholic Health Association of India, Dr Jamie Burt and SVHA Group CEO, Toby Hall at the launch of the Mary Glowery Scholars Program.

Photo courtesy Peter Casamento.

Welcomed, valued & safe


SVHA’s 2017 Innovation & Excellence Awards are now open for entries.

Our annual Innovation & Excellence 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.

The theme for this year’s awards is ‘Welcome, valued and safe’ reflecting SVHA’s commitment to putting the wellbeing of our staff, patients, residents, their families and carers at the centre of everything we do.

The award categories are based on the 5 pillars of the SVHA enVision2025 strategy:

1. Leaders in Catholic health care and service to the poor and vulnerable

2. Excellent care for our patients and residents

3. Leading reputation

4. Best people in health and ageing

5. Growth and sustainability

A new award category

This year for the first time, we have added another award category to recognise exemplary performance by individuals identified by their managers, supervisors or peers as having consistently excelled in their positions and demonstrated integrity, leadership and a strong commitment to the Mission and Values of SVHA.These new Excellence awards will go to one individual from each of the Public, Private and Aged Care Divisions and Group Office.

The awards are open to all staff across our facilities and services no matter what role you play as an individual or part of a team.

Finalists in each category will be invited to share their projects at the ‘marketplace’ Innovation and Excellence Forum in Sydney on 23 August and to attend the gala presentation dinner.

How to enter

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

Key dates

13 February 2017 – Applications open
19 May 2017 – Applications close
31 May – 16 June 2017 - Judging
17 July 2017 – Finalists announced
23 August 2017 – Innovation and Excellence Forum and Gala dinner announcing Award winners

The St Vincent’s story…Inspired by You

SVHA’s new brand ‘Inspired by You’ is supported by Style Guidelines and a toolkit of resources to help you tell the St Vincent’s story.

The brand toolkit includes:

  • logos, images and colours
  • stationery templates (e.g. letterheads, business cards, envelopes)
  • marketing materials and collateral (e.g. folders, newsletters, posters, report covers), and
  • digital guidelines and collateral (e.g. social media and web design, email signatures, PowerPoint templates, email templates).

Where can the brand resources be found?

You’ll find a range of brand resources on the SVHA intranet: 

SVHA Style Guidelines: updated version of Visual Identity Guide

SVHA Toolkit templates, logos and graphics

SVHA new brand Research Fact Sheet: read about how we arrived at our new brand 

SVHA new brand FAQs:  your questions answered

Inspired by You brochure: how the brand links to enVision2025

Video – What inspires our Group CEO, Toby Hall

Video – ‘Inspired by You’: what inspires SVHA staff

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