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March 2018


A message from Group CEO, Toby Hall


The St Vincent’s Mission was founded on the remarkable faith, courage and tenacity of five Sisters of Charity who came here from Ireland more than 175 years ago. Today is International Women’s Day …what a fitting occasion to reflect on those five women and to acknowledge and celebrate the 75% of our workforce today that are women.  Without your strength, outstanding talent and unwavering commitment our Mission would not continue to thrive and grow.

Another busy and challenging year is in full swing at St Vincent’s Health Australia. Here’s a snapshot of just some of these exciting happenings.

Serving something greater …celebrating our Mission
This year St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne celebrates 125 years of their healing ministry. This iconic facility has been saving lives and delivering compassionate services to those on the margins of the Victorian community for 125 years. Happy Anniversary St V’s! Leading the celebrations will be SVHM’s newly appointed CEO, Angela Nolan.

The Sisters of Charity established a tradition of radical loving care for people who are poor and vulnerable – a tradition that is still thriving in our Mission today. One of the distinct ways we are enhancing this work is through the SVHA Inclusive Health Program. You can read more about Inclusive Health including how to apply for funding in this newsletter and I look forward to sharing more stories about our Mission work with you throughout the year.

Seeing something greater …our growing footprint
St Vincent’s has been caring for the Victorian community for more than 125 years – most recently with the opening on 16 February of our newest facility, St Vincent’s Private Hospital Werribee. Co-located with our Werribee aged care facility which opened in 2016, the new hospital expands our Mission in an area which is growing rapidly and where high quality health care was not readily accessible. Congratulations to all involved (read the full story in this newsletter).

St Vincent’s Private Hospital Toowoomba’s $30 million Clive Berghofer Operating Theatre Suite was officially opened on 22 February. This development was completed two months ahead of schedule and the end result has exceeded all expectations (read the full story in this newsletter).

The new East Wing of St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney is set to be one of our big growth highlights this year. Stage one building works is nearing completion and will provide an additional 48 beds to the hospital.

Another big year is in store for our Aged Care Division. Following significant expansion and acquisition in 2017, in May, the 91-bed Mary MacKillop residential aged care facility in Hawthorn, Melbourne will transition to St Vincent’s Care Services with more new aged care services in the pipeline.

Striving for something greater …supporting your work with technology
The pace of technology innovation in the health care sector is an exciting opportunity for us to deliver a higher quality, person-centred experience for our patients and residents. To support this, we need to provide our staff with the right tools and systems. To that end, our IT team is rolling out Microsoft Office 365 - a collaborative online work space bringing all SVHA facility staff together in one secure portal. It also includes Yammer - a communication tool to support team work and foster information sharing. Stay tuned.    


by Michael Hart, Mission Executive, St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane

The Christian Church recognises the period from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday as Lent. It is a special time of reflection and personal commitment when we are challenged to step outside the busyness of our lives to focus on realities that we often overlook. During Lent people are asked to set aside distractions and focus on the basics; prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

For many people those three things might seem quite strange or unfamiliar but when you get down to the core of it they are not something confined to a traditional religious practice. Prayer is about taking time to reflect or meditate on the deeper things of life. It is contemplation and reflection in any way that connects with your soul or inner purpose.

Fasting is essentially a recognition that we do not need to live in excess. By limiting what we consume we experience, in some small way, the reality of those in the world that do not have enough.

The final focus for Lent is almsgiving. It is a strange ancient word which fundamentally means charity or mercy. Following in the tradition of Mary Aikenhead and the Sisters of Charity we are acutely aware of the power that charity has in a world yearning for compassion.

This Lent I wonder if we can all take up the challenge to reflect on the deeper things, live more simply and sustainably and act with charity and compassion in all that we do.

Our new private hospital opens in Melbourne

SVHA officially opened its new hospital – St Vincent’s Private Hospital Werribee (SVPHW) – a development that will dramatically enhance health care services in Melbourne’s south-west.

With data revealing the City of Wyndham (Werribee) is now bigger than Greater Geelong – and growing by more than 12,000 people each year – St Vincent’s Werribee is designed and built to meet the pressing health needs of Melbourne's outer west and south-western suburbs.

St Vincent’s Werribee will provide health services for more than 16,000 patients annually, becoming one of the regions busiest and biggest acute care private hospitals.

The hospital, which opened its doors to patients in January, has four theatres and 61 beds, including a Special Care Nursery. The hospital has already employed 80 new staff and expects to employ 350 staff over the coming year.

SVPHW is also the only hospital in Melbourne's south-west with a Cardiac Catheter Laboratory – used for the treatment and diagnosis of coronary artery disease and other structural heart diseases – providing critical care to cardiac patients without them needing to travel more than 30km to the city.

SVHA’s Group CEO, Toby Hall, said: “St Vincent’s Private Hospital Werribee is a development more than a decade in the planning. It’s a major piece of health infrastructure in Melbourne’s burgeoning south-west. We very much look forward to the hospital becoming an integral part of the health landscape of the local community.”

The hospital was officially opened and blessed on Friday 16 February by Archbishop of Melbourne, the Most Reverend Denis Hart, at a ceremony also attended by Tim Pallas MP, State Member for Werribee and Treasurer of Victoria, representing the Premier Daniel Andrews and the Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Jill Hennessy.

The hospital will provide services for heart and vascular care; ear, nose and throat; gynaecology; maternity; orthopaedics; neurosurgery; oncology and haematology; paediatrics; rehabilitation; general surgery and endoscopy; urology; plastics; and sleep studies.


Pictured at the official opening of St Vincent’s Private Hospital Werribee are from left: SVHA Group CEO Toby Hall, Hospital CEO/Director of Nursing, Christine Flett, Chair, Trustees of Mary Aikenhead Ministries, Dr Maria Theresa Ho, SVHA Chair, Paul Robertson AO, Archbishop of Melbourne, Most Reverend Denis Hart, Regional CEO St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne, Ian Grisold, and CEO St Vincent’s Private Hospitals Division, David Swan.

A new chapter for Toowoomba private

The official opening of the Clive Berghofer Operating Theatre Suite on 23 February heralds a new chapter in the 96-year history of St Vincent’s Private Hospital Toowoomba.

The $30 million theatre complex, which added six new state-of-the-art operating theatres including a cutting-edge hybrid theatre, a new kitchen and a new main reception area for the hospital was completed under budget and two months ahead of schedule.

Hospital CEO Kathryn McKeefry said the theatre complex build has been a great success from the first day of construction and delivered much more than new facilities for the hospital.

“Our new theatres are contemporary and spacious and equipped with the latest technology and equipment, which will enhance the experience for our staff, surgeons and patients.”

“From a clinical perspective, the inclusion of a hybrid theatre has enabled us to introduce a new cardiac diagnostic service in partnership with Heart Care Partners. This new service will be delivered in collaboration with our local cardiologists and develop into full interventional services later in the year,” Kathryn said.

The benefits of the build do not end with the introduction of new clinical services and an aesthetically pleasing environment.

The new kitchen completed as part of the theatre build has enabled the hospital to introduce room service for all patient meals – an innovation that has proved very popular with patients.

“2017 was a big year for St Vincent’s Private Hospital Toowoomba and we are grateful to the Trustees of Mary Aikenhead Ministries and St Vincent’s Health Australia for their $25 million  investment in the hospital’s future.”

“We are also proud the new theatre suite named the “Clive Berghofer Operating Theatre Suite” in honour of local business man and philanthropist Clive Berghofer AM, who donated $5 million towards the project,” Kathryn said.

As a flow on from the theatre project the hospital is currently creating a 22 bed post-operative rehabilitation ward and following that, work will begin on a new 16-bed cardiac medical ward to support the new interventional cardiology service, which is due to start later in 2018.


Pictured at the official opening of the Clive Berghofer Operating Theatre Suite, St Vincent’s Private Hospital Toowoomba are from left: SVHA Group CEO Toby Hall, Chair, Trustees of Mary Aikenhead Ministries, Dr Maria Theresa Ho, Bishop Robert McGuckin of Toowoomba, Clive Berghofer OAM, Hospital CEO, Kathryn McKeefry and Managing Director, Hutchinson Builders, Greg Quinn.

Our radical loving care


Inspired by our Mission of bringing God’s love to those in need, the key goal of SVHA’s Inclusive Health Program is promoting health equity, meaning everyone has a fair opportunity to live a long healthy life.

Inclusive health addresses the impacts of poverty, marginalisation or vulnerability on access to health and to appropriate health care services. It involves a preferential option for the poor and vulnerable in service delivery and a commitment to addressing social determinants of poor health and poor access to health care.

St Vincent’s Inclusive Health Program focusses on addressing the health care needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people experiencing mental illness, people with substance use disorders, people in prison and people who are homeless.

The program is supported by the Inclusive Health Innovation Fund and provides financial support for service innovation, research and advocacy projects both within SVHA and with our partner organisations.

“Being innovative and progressive is part of our organisational DNA,” says John Willis, SVHA Group Manager Inclusive Health who oversees the program with Group Mission Leader, Lisa McDonald.

“Our founders, the Sisters of Charity, established a tradition of radical loving care for people who are poor and vulnerable. The Inclusive Health Program is a continuation of this tradition of innovation in care. It’s not the only way we serve the poor and vulnerable but it certainly enhances our Mission.”

The Fund started with a $2.5 million distribution of grants in 2015-16 and has grown to a $5 million distribution each year.

Inclusive Health Research Grants
Staff from any division or through a partnership with another organisation can initiate an Inclusive Health project and apply for funding.

Inclusive Health Research Grants are also accessible through the St Vincent’s Health Network Sydney Centre for Applied Medical Research and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne Research Endowment Fund annual grants programs.

“During its first three years the fund has supported almost 90 projects at SVHA facilities and in partner organisations,” John says.

“This has resulted in some amazing outcomes for our patients as well as significant developments for those that access services with our partner organisations.”

Some great examples of these projects include:

  • an innovative group-based therapy program that addresses substance use disorders and mental illness concurrently
  • a partnership with an Aboriginal community controlled health service in Far North Queensland to develop a palliative care on-country service, and
  • a research project to uncover patterns of vulnerability and health care needs through ‘big data’ analysis of hospital records.

“Just by working at St Vincent’s, you’re already contributing to and supporting inclusive health. We’ll be sharing more of your stories in the coming months and I look forward to growing our Mission with you as we continue to grow our services to those most in need,” John says.

How to apply for funding
If you would like more information about the Inclusive Health Program and how to make an application to the fund, please contact:

Victoria: SVHA Service Innovation Project Officer, Daisy Sargeant:  T 0402 529 678
NSW and Queensland: SVHA Senior Researcher Inclusive Health, Will Tregoning –  T 02 8382 4979

You can also download an application form and information about the application process here

Research forum fosters collaboration

Reflecting the importance of research in our hospitals and aged care facilities and as one of the key pillars in our enVision2025 strategy, St Vincent’s Health Australia held its inaugural Research Forum on 20 February.

Opened by Chair of the St Vincent’s Health Australia Board Committee for Research and Education, Dr Michael Coote, board members, executives and researchers from across the organisation and our highly valued partners from Universities and Research Institutes came together under the theme of ‘Promoting collaboration’.

The forum provided participants an opportunity to hear from a number of research programs and to meet with colleagues to explore points of connection, inspiration and opportunities for future collaboration.

Forum sessions included current state of play and looking to the future; research flagships and opportunities for collaboration as well as principles of successful collaborative partnerships.

Honouring our great Australians

Congratulations to all the Australia Day 2018 Honours recipients associated with St Vincent’s Health Australia including Chair of the SVHA Board, Paul Robertson AO. We are very proud of all our honourees and thank you for your significant contribution to our Mission.

Mr Paul Robertson AO
For distinguished service over many years to the community and especially to health, social enterprise, research, education and arts organisations. We recognise Paul’s strong leadership and dedication to our Mission as Chair and Director of St Vincent’s Health Australia.

Dr John James O’Donnell AM

For significant service to health administration through the leadership and development of research institutes and public and private hospitals. As one of our valued health care partners, we recognise Dr O’Donnell’s long and distinguished service to Mater Health Services, Brisbane as Chief Executive Officer (2001-2015) and to Mater Foundation as Director (2001-2015).

Dr Michael Philip Stanford AM
For extensive service to the health sector as CEO of St John of God Health Care, health executive roles, and to tertiary education and the community of Western Australia. We are proud of Dr Stanford’s significant contribution to St Vincent’s as Director of Medical Services, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne (1990 -1995).

Dr Peshotan Homi Katrak AM
For service to rehabilitation medicine as a practitioner, to medical education and professional organisations, and to the Zoroastrian community. We recognise Dr Katrak’s significant contribution as Honorary Medical Officer, St Vincent's Hospital Sydney and as a former Chairman, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at St Vincent's Private Hospital Sydney.

Professor Anthony David Holmes AO

For distinguished service to medicine, particularly to reconstructive and craniofacial surgery, as a leader, clinician and educator, and to professional medical associations. We are very proud of Prof Holmes’ association with St Vincent’s Private Hospital, East Melbourne and  dedication to his surgical specialty, especially complex paediatric cases. He is well known for performing life-changing surgery as part of the hospital’s support of the Children First Foundation.

Professor David William Kissane AC

For eminent service to psychiatry, particularly psycho-oncology and palliative medicine, as an educator, researcher, author and clinician, and through executive roles with a range of national and international professional medical bodies. We are proud of Prof Kissane’s long and distinguished association with St Vincent’s as Foundation Chair of Palliative Medicine (1996-2003) University of Melbourne, and as Director of Palliative Medicine, Centre for Palliative Care, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne (1996-2003).

Mr Peter John Gill AM
For extensive service to aged welfare, especially pioneering work in palliative care programs, to medical education and to the community. We recognise Peter’s significant contribution as a former Member of the Building Sub-Committee and Board Director of the Caritas Christi Order of Malta Hospice and Home Care Service which later merged with Eastern Palliative Care Association and St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne.

Mrs Suzanne Brown OAM
For extensive service to the community through directing and participating in fundraising over many years. We acknowledge Suzanne’s significant contribution to fundraising for St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne with deep gratitude.

Mrs Elsa Johanna Skinner OAM

For service to the community through charitable organisations. We are very proud of Elsa’s association with St Vincent’s through her volunteer work at the Sisters of Charity Outreach Gift Shop at St Vincent’s Clinic, and recognise her contribution with deep gratitude.

Dr Katrina J R Watson OAM 

For service to medicine, particularly to gastroenterology. We are very proud of Dr Watson’s long association with and service to St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, including as Deputy Director, Department of Gastroenterology, 1992-2004; and Director, Liver Clinic, 1988-2006.  Her commitment to clinical research and service to rural and regional areas including the Pacific, and to marginalised communities have left a lasting legacy at St Vincent’s.

Supporting clinical excellence


SVHA’s Clinical Assurance and Reliability Program (SCARP) is a partnership between our clinician and management teams to assess the reliability of our care against evidence-based standards.

The program is designed to be clinician led with the aim of improved quality of care and patient outcomes. This will provide assurance to our clinicians, executives and the SVHA Board of safe, process driven, reliable clinical care.

 Priorities of the SCARP team include:

  • conduct assessments with clear quality improvement intent
  • engage and support clinicians
  • collate and present high quality data
  • complement existing clinical and facility programs of audit and quality improvement
  • celebrate achievement of clinicians and facilities, and
  • promote clinician-identified opportunities for improvement.

The SCARP team welcomes feedback on areas where you see opportunities in the delivery of care, patient outcomes or wide variation in cost and/or length of stay. Please contact Edel Murray, SVHA Group Manager SCARP on T: 02 93671135 or

St Vincent’s annual awards now open

SVHA’s 2018 Innovation & Excellence Awards are 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 ‘Limitless’. We chose this because in serving, seeing and striving for something greater we want to encourage projects that think beyond the routine with no limits in range or scope.

Award finalists will be invited to the ‘marketplace’ Innovation and Excellence Forum and gala presentation dinner in Melbourne on 25 September.

Individual awards
In 2017 we introduced a new award category recognising exemplary performance by individuals. These special awards go to one individual from each of the Group Office, Public, Private and Aged Care Divisions. In 2018 we’re keen to bolster this category and encourage managers, supervisors and peers to nominate a staff member who has consistently excelled in their position and demonstrated integrity, leadership and a strong commitment to our Mission and Values.

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
26 February - applications open

21 May - applications close

4 - 25 June - judging

16 July - finalists announced

25 September - Innovation and Excellence Forum and gala dinner for announcement of award winners

Have your say on patient/resident safety

The St Vincent’s Staff Patient Safety Culture Survey is underway until Friday 23 March. The purpose of this survey is to understand the safety culture across the organisation.

Patient safety is a critical component of health care quality and aligns with SVHA’s enVision2025 strategy. Establishing and maintaining a good culture of safety requires an understanding of the values, beliefs and existing procedures within a health and aged care organisation. This will allow us to plan and target initiatives to improve our patient, resident and staff safety.

The survey will measure multiple aspects of our safety climate including leadership, teamwork, working conditions and job satisfaction. It will provide feedback on the effectiveness of our safety initiatives in the workplace compared to our results in 2015 and  insight into how we can improve in the future.

You should have received an email invitation from our survey partner, Insync to do the survey which will take about 10 minutes to complete.

For more information go to Frequently Asked Questions.

New CEO for Melbourne Public


Angela Nolan has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. Angela is well known and highly regarded at Melbourne Public where she has been acting CEO since November 2017.

Prior to this Angela was the Executive Director of Acute Services at SVHM responsible for leading the emergency, general medicine, surgical and specialty medicine programs.

From 2011 – 2015, Angela was Executive Director People and Corporate Support at SVHM responsible for all aspects of the HR function. She has also held senior executive positions at the ANZ Bank. 

In announcing the appointment, SVHA’s Group CEO, Toby Hall said: “Angela will be an outstanding asset to the St Vincent’s Public Division leadership team and is well placed to lead the hospital in the delivery of its enVision2025 strategic objectives as a pre-eminent provider of public health services to the Victorian community.”

Cared for by angels

The letter (below) written by the son of one of our St Vincent’s Care Services residents, was published in the Herald Sun (Victoria) newspaper on 16 February.

‘My mother has been in an aged care facility for seven years. She feels safe and secure and says, “I am cared for by angels and I love them.” I think that says it all. As for the food, it is excellent and when I have lunch there with Mum, I have exactly the same meal — no complaints whatsoever. We are so grateful to have our mum living in such a lovely home (St Vincent’s Care Services, Eltham). As a family, we can’t thank them enough.’

Greg Ward, Eltham

We bring God’s love to those in need through the healing ministry of Jesus.

Under the stewardship of Mary Aikenhead Ministries

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