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September 2017



SVHA Newsletter

A message from Group CEO, Toby Hall


SVHA’s 2016-17 performance

Our strategic vision of serving, seeing and striving for something greater continues to guide all of the great work we do to bring God’s love to those in need through the healing ministry of Jesus. I want to take a moment to thank you for your commitment and to let you know how we are travelling performance-wise.

Our care - person-centred care

SVHA believes that involving our patients, residents, their families and carers in the planning and delivery of person-centred care is the key to providing exceptional health care. Our person-centred care principles are ‘We feel welcome. We feel valued. We feel safe’. These principles lie at the heart of the Inspired to Care program and reflect the distinctive brand of compassionate care that St Vincent’s is well known for. Our latest patient survey results bear this out - 75.7% of patients expressed they would recommend SVHA to a family member or friend.

Our growth …financially

SVHA Group EBITDAR achieved $114 million and generated revenue of $2.4 billion.

  • we invested more than $150 million in Mission – an increase of 16% on the previous financial year
  • our Aged Care Division exceeded budget to deliver more than $100 million in revenue for the first time
  • our private hospitals delivered more than $112 million EBITDAR in a tough private health care market, and
  • St Vincent’s Health Network Sydney and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne achieved budget.

Our growth …physically

Here is a snapshot of the highlights.

Care Services

  • We increased our portfolio by 605 residential beds
  • built three new facilities in Bronte, Maroochydore and Werribee
  • undertook major extension and refurbishment works at Southport and Mitchelton; and
  • finalised the transition of two facilities - Arundel and Toowoomba - from other aged care providers.

Private Hospitals Division

  • St Vincent’s Private Community Hospital Griffith opened
  • St Vincent’s Private Hospital Werribee - construction started on this new facility due to open in February 2018 with 48 beds and four theatres.
  • St Vincent’s Private Hospital Toowoomba - construction started on a new theatre complex and renovations due for completion February 2018
  • St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney - construction underway of new tower, 50 new beds and three new theatres due for completion in February 2018 and extensive renovation of the remainder of the facility - due for completion in February 2019; and
  • St Vincent’s Private Hospital East Melbourne - construction started on 23 new beds due for completion February 2018.

Public Hospitals Division

Australia’s first robotics and biomedical engineering centre opened at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne as part of the Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery. The centre, called BioFab3D, brings key researchers and clinicians together to explore real-time development and production of replacement body parts, which can be surgically implanted into patients.  

A new radiotherapy facility opened at Melbourne Public financed and operated by GenesisCare. Radiotherapy has been a key missing component of our cancer service profile. For many years we had to refer patients to other hospitals adding travel and complexity to the patient’s continuity of care through their cancer treatment. Now they can get everything they need in one location.

St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney is undergoing two important improvements to vital specialty services on its Darlinghurst Campus representing significant long-term benefits to key areas of our endeavors:

  • six extra beds in the Emergency Department for a Psychiatric, Alcohol and Non-prescription Drug Assessment (PANDA) unit, and
  • a new dedicated Haematology, Oncology, Bone and Marrow Transplant unit creating purpose built single-use rooms that meet the most up-to-date standards.

Our growth …research and technology
This has been a year of outstanding innovation, translation and achievement across the many teams, collaborators and partners involved in research at SVHA.

Prof Mark Cook and his team of researchers at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne developed a “Fitbit for the brain”, a device to monitor epileptic seizures and warn patients of impending episodes in the hours and days ahead.

The world-first device aims to ­record and decode the unique “weather patterns” of brain waves. It would then send a phone alert seizure forecast, which developers hope will allow patients to make lifestyle and treatment changes to increase their independence.

At St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, a team led by Dr Geraldine Mitchell and Dr Kiryu Yap created mini livers in a dish using a world-first combination of human cells in an ambitious bid to grow liver tissue for transplants. The tiny experimental organs — developed from cells donated by cancer patients — will be used to test drugs and eventually treat disease.

A breakthrough by a partnership of St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney and Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute discovered that Vitamin B3 can cure molecular deficiencies which cause miscarriages and birth defects. This is a significant discovery in pregnancy research that promises to reduce miscarriages and birth defects. The findings are expected to change the way pregnant women are cared for.

Our growth …culturally

Culture is who we are. SVHA is investing heavily in a number of programs which support us being the best we can be, enabling us to best serve our patients and residents.

Formation for All
We are strengthening our Mission by helping our staff understand how their day to day work connects to the Mission no matter what role they are in. Our formation program for all staff  invites participants to reflect on how their personal stories, the story of SVHA and the Catholic story of which SVHA is a part, come together and inspire our remarkable service in health and aged care. Twenty per cent of staff have now completed their Formation.

Safety performance
Workplace safety is a key strategic goal under enVision2025. We take employee safety as seriously as we take the safety of our patients. I’m pleased to report the significant progress we have made in making the workplace safer for our staff. Our Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate continues to improve, down from 12.55 in 2014-15 to 4.94 in 2016-17. I am pleased to say this is our most successful culture change program. It demonstrates how much we care for each other and I am really proud of our ongoing success.

Project Ethos
Our Ethos culture change program was launched at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and will be rolled out to all SVHA’s facilities. We are confident that the Ethos Program – ‘Inspired to Shine’ will result in a kinder, safer and more reliable health care system that celebrates respectful behaviour and deals with poor behaviour in a professional, compassionate and understanding way for everyone involved.

Our voice

Some highlights for the year include:

  • End of life care: position statements on palliative care and assisted suicide; clinician-led advocacy against proposal to introduce assisted suicide legislation – Victoria and New South Wales
  • Drug and alcohol: we 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.
  • Advocacy opposing the Federal Government’s plan to introduce a trial of drug-testing income support recipients.
  • Consultation and effective approaches to support drug users i.e. safe injecting rooms.
  • Homelessness: Advocating for more step-up and step-down services for homeless people to access health care based on the success of Tierney House at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney.
  • Submissions: To a range of government and non-government inquiries covering areas such as homelessness, alcohol, assisted suicide and elder abuse.


SVHA is leading innovation in the area of ethics in Australian health care. We don’t often put the words ‘innovation’ and ‘ethics’ together, but when you think about it, it was the Mission and Ethics of the Sisters which impelled them to be innovative in their care for the most vulnerable people.

The Catholic ethical tradition that sees everyone as having dignity and serves those who are vulnerable because their dignity is most at risk, gives us permission to be courageous and creative in our care for people. This means that ethics isn’t primarily for telling us what we can’t do, but for telling us what we can do.

In the past, SVHA has been well served by ethics consultants around the country who have provided expertise where needed, especially when difficult ethical issues arise.

Now we are leading the way in the Australian context by bringing ethics ‘in-house’ in a more integral way. The appointment of a Group Manager – Ethics and Formation is the start of that journey and is already helping us to discern more creative and courageous ways forward for our ministries. I am pleased to welcome Dr Dan Fleming to this role.

And the winners are…

Welcome to a special edition of Inspire News showcasing the 2017 SVHA Innovation & Excellence Awards. A BIG shout out to all our wonderful finalists and winners. We are so proud of your work and commitment to serving, seeing and striving for something greater and to the SVHA Mission and Values. The award finalists presented their projects to the SVHA Senior Leadership Team Conference in Sydney recently and the winners were announced at a gala dinner.

Read on to learn about the finalists and winners in each award category and their inspiring projects. If you’d like more information about any of these projects or our annual Innovation & Excellence Awards, please contact Sarah Michael, SVHA Group Manager Quality & Risk:

Category: Leaders in Catholic health care

WINNER: St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, Tierney House - evidence for advocacy and commitment to tackling homelessness

Since opening its doors in 2012, Tierney House, a 12 bed short stay, non-acute residential unit at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney has demonstrated leadership in service delivery to vulnerable and marginalised people experiencing homelessness. Tierney House aims to improve access to health services for homeless people by creating a welcoming and safe environment to deliver short term support including comprehensive assessments, follow-up, short-term interventions, treatment stabilisation post-admission, referrals, and links to psychosocial supports through partnering community agencies.

A 2016 evaluation of Tierney House identified that the service is effective in improving access and engaging clients in their care, as well as demonstrating cost-effectiveness, including a net cost-benefit of $8,276 per person over two years. Tierney House demonstrates the fostering of the Catholic identity, and Mission at St Vincent’s Hospital, using these results to advocate for healthcare services that respond to the needs of poor and vulnerable members of our community.

St Vincent’s Care Services – Eltham Refugee Housing Program

In September 2015, St Vincent’s Care Services answered a call to assist in the resettlement of around 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Australia. The organisation committed to refurbishing 60 unused one-bedroom units at its Eltham aged care and independent living campus in Melbourne, to provide refugees with medium-term rental accommodation.

Despite facing a number of challenges, the refurbishment project was completed in late 2016 and the first refugee residents moved into the units in December 2016.

Through working with SVHA internal divisions, Catholic networks, other not-for-profit organisations, federal, state and local governments and local community support groups, the barriers the project once faced were overcome.

These highly vulnerable refugees have been welcomed by the residents of St Vincent’s Care Services Eltham, and the wider community, and the project has resulted in the strengthening of community links with those living at the facility.

St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne – Providing access to Specialist Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral in the Emergency Department

An Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) clinical nurse consult was embedded into the Emergency Department (ED) to address the high level of AOD related presentations over weekends. The aim was to provide screening, assessment and brief intervention to clients in the ED, addressing AOD harms and to facilitate client goals for ongoing AOD support and treatment.

Collaboration between AOD, complex care services, mental health and ED for ‘likely dependent’ populations demonstrated feasible model of care for this complex population. A majority of presentations however fell in the moderate to high risk of harm group from AOD use.

This group have responded well to brief intervention and motivational interviewing techniques, many providing positive feedback on the influence of AODCC intervention on future AOD use. This in addition to the high level of clients presenting with no identified health supports validates having an AODCC in the ED as a specialised service.

St Vincent’s Private Hospital Toowoomba – Changing lives one wash at a time...the business of Mission

Vanguard Laundry Services is Toowoomba’s social enterprise commercial laundry. Its establishment has addressed a gap in the provision of laundry services in the region, however the foundational purpose of this facility was to create employment and career development opportunities for people experiencing mental illness who struggle to enter/re-enter the workforce.

Employment provides security, economic wellbeing and opportunities for social engagement. Information about career development pathways, work placement opportunities with partners, higher education training and nationally recognised qualifications is also offered within the context of a supportive worksite hub.

SVHA and St Vincent’s Private Hospital Toowoomba’s visionary commitment to this business as anchor tenant – partnering in the longest signed laundry deal in this country – has contributed significantly to its initial success, and the laundry’s marketing tagline – Changing lives one wash at a time – truly aligns with the Mission and Values of our organisation and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to health in our community.

Category: Clinical improvement

WINNER: St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney - Improving sepsis recognition and treatment in the Emergency Department

Sepsis is a leading cause of death in hospital patients worldwide. The mortality rate for adult patients with septic shock is 25%. The ‘sepsis kills’ program is a Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) quality improvement initiative adopted by the Emergency Department (ED) that aims to reduce preventable harm to patients with sepsis through early recognition and prompt management. The specific key performance indicators for the project include – 1. Sepsis recognition 2. Antibiotics within 60 minutes of sepsis recognition 3. Initiation of intravenous therapy

From 2012 to 2016 sepsis recognition has improved from 67% to 98%. Median time to antibiotics decreased from 103 minutes to 43 minutes. The percentage of patient’s receiving antibiotics within 60 minutes increased from 28% to 75%. Intravenous fluid administration increased from 40% to 96%.

St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney - Optimising bleeding risk assessment in patients undergoing elective surgery – let’s prevent the red

Guidelines advise that a bleeding history should be taken and that routine coagulation screening is inappropriate in patients having surgery. This underpins one of the principles of patient blood management. The project objectives were to optimise bleeding risk assessment in patients undergoing elective surgery at a single centre and to achieve 100% compliance.

An initial, pre-intervention audit found that 0% patients had a standardised bleeding risk assessment performed and that 67% patients had coagulation testing requested pre-operatively. Following relevant education and introduction of a structured bleeding questionnaire into pre-admission clinic, a follow-up audit demonstrated that 62% patients had a structured bleeding history performed and coagulation testing was performed in only 49% patients. Work continues to achieve the goal of 100% compliance. Current practice indicates an over-reliance on coagulation screening in lieu of appropriate history taking in assessing bleeding risk, however introduction of a structured bleeding risk questionnaire can overcome this.

St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne - Malnutrition Identification: Improving care, increasing revenue

Monthly audits over the last 3 years of the hospital’s patient medical records showed that an average of only 70% of patients with a Malnutrition Screening Tool (MST) score greater than or equal to 2 (on preadmission form) were referred to the dietitian by ward staff. The project aimed to more efficiently identify patients at risk of malnutrition by employing a dietitian to specifically check patients’ MST score and if ≥ 2 assess for malnutrition and refer onto the ward dietitian for increased nutrition support.

Results showed that over a 4 month period the average referral rate increased from 70% to 96% thus improving rates of correct diagnosis and timely nutrition intervention. Extra reimbursement to the hospital through malnutrition coding produced 2.5 fold increase in revenue thus financing costs of further dietetic staffing to continue to identify and nutritionally support these patients.

St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney - Eliminating seclusion and restraint

Eliminating coercive practices in mental health is paramount to ethical and evidence based mental health care. Coercive practices such as seclusion and restraint (S/R) are reported on a quarterly basis to the NSW Ministry of Health. Since 2015 Caritas has been addressing Seclusion and Restraint reduction by implementing the six core strategies outlined in the NSW Health PD2012_035 Aggression, Seclusion and Restraint in NSW Mental Health facilities.

A significant improvement marked by a steady downward trend in incidents of seclusion has been achieved. Caritas is committed to achieving ongoing reduction of Seclusion and Restraint through the continuation of the project and will carry on implementing targeted interventions underpinned by the six core strategies.

Category: Clinical innovation

WINNER: St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane - BUPA Palliative Care Choices Program

Improving end-of-life care to give people dignity, respect and choice is imperative. Of the 70% of Australians who express a wish to die at home, only about 14% do. St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane and BUPA have partnered to pilot an innovative model empowering BUPA patients with a life-limiting condition, to increase choice of where to die (and be cared for) as the end of life approaches. Personalised specialist intensive palliative care support services are offered at the patient’s place of choice. The results have included a home death rate of 44%, dying in preferred place of death rate of 86%, and a cost saving of $6000 per patient in health care costs in the last 3 months of life. The SVPHB/BUPA Palliative Care Choices Program demonstrates private partners working successfully together to deliver patient-centred palliative care that empowers end-of-life care choices.

St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne - SureflO2™: An aid to recognising and preventing failure of oxygen delivery in vulnerable patients

Supplemental oxygen administration in the immediate post anaesthetic recovery (“wake-up”) period is regarded as the standard of care throughout the world. Anecdotal reports by Anaesthetists and Nursing Staff suggest that unrecognized failure of delivery of supplemental oxygen via face mask is not a rare event for a variety of technical and human reasons.

The SureflO2™ research group quantified the incidence of unintentional failure of delivery of supplemental oxygen events within St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne at 6.32%, and investigated its causes. Based on the contributory causes identified and in collaboration with consultant aeronautical engineers the SureflO2™ gas flow indicator was developed. It is a revolutionary device to alert staff to the absence of gas flow in the Hudson® mask; the most widely used means to deliver supplemental oxygen, not only in the perioperative setting but also on wards and in ambulatory care.

(*SureflO2™ is not yet commercially available and is pending regulatory approval.)

St Vincent’s Care Services - Policy in a Nutshell

To increase efficiency in the communication of the broad policy structure regulating SVCS, the Policy in a Nutshell (PiN) project saw the distillation of 51 separate policies into a collection of colourful, easy to read posters.

It has enabled SVCS to educate staff on all our policies in a period of two hours. The posters are displayed on Electronic Notice Boards at all aged care facilities.

The Policy in a Nutshell program has significantly improved SVCS’ capability to communicate new and critical information to employees on procedures, support services and workplace health and safety concerns. The PiN and full policies are on the intranet for all staff to view and access.

The PiN program has increased the visibility of SVCS’ policies and procedures at all facilities. It has increased policy awareness and understanding for staff with limited computer access or who speak English as a second language.

St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney - Opioid stewardship...a new approach to safe opioid discharge prescribing

Numbers of oxycodone tablets dispensed on discharge from St Vincent’s Public, Sydney, ballooned from 12,000 in 2005, to 31,000 in 2012. With the known relationship between opioid supply, and morbidity and mortality, this represents an increased risk to our patients. A novel tool was devised showing 27% of discharge oxycodone prescribing was inappropriate. A continuous quality improvement cycle to alter Junior Medical Officer (JMO) prescribing commenced in 2014. Academic detailing combined with personal audit-feedback delivered by a senior clinician to surgical JMOs through their surgical rotation was associated with immediate change in prescribing habits, with inappropriate oxycodone prescribing decreasing from 27% to 10% sustained after 2 years. This represents a 62% reduction, a very large improvement in the difficult area of implementing and sustaining change in physician prescribing behaviour. The electronic prescribing record was indispensable in identifying the problem and enabling individual prescribing to be audited and fed back to JMOs.

Category: Person-centred care

WINNER: Mater Hospital Sydney - Transforming the mealtime experience for patients

Room Service has transformed patient’s mealtime experience, empowering patients to order according to appetite when it suits. Cooked to order, meals are delivered within 45 minutes. Patients can also preorder, having their meal delivered at a specified time, allowing them to work around sleep or rehabilitation, supporting our vision of feeling valued, welcomed and safe.

Food service models across SVHA hospitals have demonstrated high costs, high wastage and variable patient satisfaction. Challenges with such traditional systems prompted an international search for a more sustainable model that reduces food waste, costs, was patient-centred and be replicated across facilities.

As the first NSW hospital with room service, patients no longer receive meals at set times. Nurses can now focus on nursing functions instead of meal service issues. Achievements include: *Positive patient feedback (Increase in Press Ganey) *Market differentiator *Reduced waste *Reduced food costs *Increased guest-meal revenue *Increased meal flexibility *Staff satisfaction *Improved Energy intake


St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney - Club Connect: A healthy brain ageing cognitive training program for older adults

The aim of this study was to conduct a pilot trial investigating the efficacy of group-based cognitive training (CT) in a heterogeneous sample of older adults with depressive symptoms ‘at risk’ of developing dementia, in a clinical setting. We hypothesised that CT would lead to improvements in:

a. memory and mood (primary outcomes)
b. global cognition, self-reported functioning, sleep and quality of life (secondary outcomes)

Following CT, statistically significant improvements were found on memory tasks as well as on measures of anxiety and quality of life. Qualitatively, participants reported subjective improvement in functioning and general well-being.

CT is a feasible intervention in this patient population and is associated with cognitive benefits and improved quality of life. CT could be utilised across a range of geriatric and psychogeriatric settings leading to improvement of clinical outcomes.

St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne - Improving consumer experience and reducing unplanned readmission through the Expanding Post Discharge Support Initiative (EPDI)

Expanding Post Discharge Support Initiative provides intensive post-discharge support for complex consumers transitioning from acute inpatient mental health to the community. Peer workers contribute to multidisciplinary discharge planning and provide consumers intensive post discharge support to achieve successful discharge, reducing the risk for unplanned re-admission.

EPDI has contributed to an overall reduction in unplanned 28 day re-admission rates, a key strategic goal aimed at ensuring person-centered, recovery oriented care. Consumers of SVMH benefit from increased rigour around discharge planning and intensive support post-discharge with a peer worker. As the metropolitan pilot site for EPDI, SVMH has contributed significantly to the design of the program and guidelines supporting it, and based on the success of the pilot the State Government has provided ongoing funding which has seen EPDI rolled out across Victoria.

Category: Leading reputation

WINNER: St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney: Dysplasia and Anal Cancer Services (DACS)

Anal cancer disproportionately affects the poor, and occurs at very high rates in certain disenfranchised and vulnerable communities. Provision of care for people with anal cancer closely aligns with St Vincent’s Health Australia’s Mission values, and the Darlinghurst campus is located at the Australian epicentre of this condition.

Building on research undertaken on the Darlinghurst campus, and following extensive consultation with affected communities, we were able to gain government support to develop a clinic that was specifically designed to assist with the diagnosis and management of anal cancer-related conditions. In early 2016, a new, unique, evidence-based, person-centred clinical service was opened, providing the latest precision-guided interventions in anal cancer care for the whole of NSW. Over 70 patients were seen in the first four months of service. Aspects of the models of care developed are widely applicable to other patient groups, and are being adopted internationally.


St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney - Reboot Online – overcoming barriers via Australia’s first online multidisciplinary pain management program

Chronic pain is a complex and disabling condition affecting 20% of all Australians. Multidisciplinary pain management programs are coordinated group programs that teach people how to manage persist pain. They are considered best-practice for treating pain, however access is often limited for people who live in rural/remote areas or who are not well enough to attend face-to-face appointments.

An innovative collaboration was formed between the Pain Department at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, and the Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression (CRUfAD, SVH and UNSW) to address this need and improve access to pain management services across the community. Together they developed Australia’s first multidisciplinary online pain management program, ‘Reboot Online’. This program has been tested and is highly effective in improving patient’s resilience, quality-of-life, and pain-associated stress and depression. Patient feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and the final program has been publically launched online to help pain sufferers worldwide.

St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney - Peer Support Workforce: ‘Connection, Communication, Compassion’

(A joint project between St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, Tierney House and The Curran Foundation)

The recruitment of a ‘Peer Support Worker’ (someone with a lived experience of homelessness) to work within Tierney House was viewed as an opportunity to engage residents on a whole new level and to provide an outreach arm for the service. A decision was also made to recruit the Peer Support Worker as an identified position, again enhancing the service being provided for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents. This recruitment, assisted by funding through the Curran Foundation, ensured that residents were accompanied and supported at the many and varied services engaged by Tierney House residents.

Residents of Tierney House, (those experiencing homelessness), traditionally avoid mainstream services for many reasons. Potentially due to previous negative experiences, an inability to communicate their needs or various other motives. The Peer Support Worker therefore advocates on their behalf, helping to provide a voice that would otherwise go unheard.

Category: Best people in health and ageing

WINNER: St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne: Hazard app goes viral

Annual analysis of RISKMAN data demonstrated a pattern of under reporting of hazards and an increasing trend of staff injury and lost time to injury. The aims were to:

  1. develop a hazard reporting tool accessible to all staff
  2. increase reporting of hazards and
  3. decrease the upward trend of staff injury and incidence of lost time to injury.

A smartphone/tablet hazard reporting application was developed and deployed to 1800 staff working at SVPHM. After 2015 deployment of the smartphone/tablet hazard reporting application we observed in the following 24 months an increase of 35% in hazard reporting by staff and a 100% improvement in Lost Time Injuries.


St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney - Recovery@Work Program

The Work, Health & Safety Team have implemented a number of initiatives as part of the Recovery@Work Program with the aim of creating a culture where employee safety is valued and employees feel supported in their recovery post injury. Building on past initiatives and achievements, including the use of Occupational Medicine practices, the WHS Team have continued to strive for something greater and, in collaboration with NSW Health, have participated in developing ground-breaking changes which are being rolled out across NSW Health including:

  • identifying high-risk claims within the first week of injury and then implementing a special protocol for those employees who are at high risk of poor outcomes
  • changing our approach by learning from Behavioural Insights theories and utilising them to improve communication and information provided to employees who have sustained an injury at work, thereby demonstrating our commitment to their recovery. Success is evidenced by the outcomes being achieved.


St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney - Aboriginal workforce development and employment

At St Vincent’s Health Network Sydney (SVHNS), the new Aboriginal Employment Strategy demonstrates how our service strives to attract, develop and retain the best people in health and aged care. Aiming to increase the number of skilled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees across all levels of the organisation, the program uses innovative and sustainable methods such as extending recruitment beyond entry-level roles to include all occupational salary levels, engaging with managers, providing flexible employment options, and collaborating with the health sector to develop employee and candidate networks.

The Strategy has increased the percentage of Aboriginal employees across the organisation (0.77% to 1.1% in 12 months), and demonstrated exciting opportunities to attract applicants to a range of positions. Through the program, SVHNS is inspiring best practice in recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, and facilitating an environment for our staff to feel welcomed, valued and safe.

Category: Growth & Sustainability

WINNER: St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne: Standardised Social work care for mental health patients

The Social Work team in the Mental Health Acute Inpatient Service have added significant value for their consumers while eliminating unnecessary variation in practice. The team were striving to create more capacity in the two wards so that consumers waiting to access care in the community and in the Emergency Department could be accommodated without delay.

Countermeasures implemented:

  1. All consumers are reviewed by Social Work between day one and three of admission
  2. All consumers are screened for barriers to discharge
  3. Barriers to discharge are clearly identified in the notes from admission and a plan developed to manage the issues
  4. Priority tasks are agreed and actioned by the consumer’s community Case Manager and Social Work staff.


  1. 100% of consumers have Social Work support versus a baseline of 17%.
  2. The average length of stay has improved from 28 days (n=25) to an average of 9.2 days (n=174).


St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane – St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane Education and Training YouTube Channel

The private health care sector is seeing unprecedented cost pressures due to increasing health care costs, rising salaries and increases in private health care premiums. This, coupled with increasing patient complexities and demands for new technologies, Private health care facilities are being asked to manage all costs as tightly as possible.

Clinical education and training is the cornerstone to excellent health care outcomes, however, education comes at a cost. St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane has implemented an online video education initiative that delivers high-quality content to large amounts of staff at any given time. By utilising the online YouTube platform, there is no cost and minimal impact on current work hour budgets. This strategy ensures the hospital’s growth and sustainability can continue within the current health care environment by ensuring workforce skill and knowledge gaps are enhanced. This is key in driving the hospital’s clinical effectiveness and strategic imperatives.

St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney - Multidisciplinary Patient Assessment with MOSAIQ™

The implementation of the MOSAIQ™ electronic clinical record system has allowed significant efficiencies in patient review in Cancer Services Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) meetings at The Kinghorn Cancer Centre and St Vincent’s Health Network Sydney to be achieved. This integration has led to sustainable meeting preparation and review processes, with higher quality documentation, growth in the number of patients reviewed, analytical capabilities, as well as secure and centralised information management. Most importantly, the cultural shift towards utilisation of electronic methods of patient management, as well as improved communication between teams has driven meaningful collaboration to enhance quality patient care. There is also further potential for data integration and automation to support patient review in MDT meetings, driving further efficiency and sustainability in practice.

Category: Group & Divisional CEO’s Excellence Award for Individuals

PUBLIC: Lisa Jayne Ferguson – Clinical Nurse Consultant, St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney

Lisa is an extremely skilled clinician working in the Alcohol and Drug Service. Dedicated to her profession, she provides up-to-date excellent care, to all clients and patients without discrimination. Generous with her knowledge, she educates and guides her peers and students. Her patience and expertise is appreciated from her own profession – nursing – and from the other professions with whom she works. Our service, our hospital, and our patients are privileged to have her on our team.

PRIVATE: Kolleen Koenen-Weir – HR Manager, St Vincent’s Private Hospital Toowoomba

The past 12 months have seen a significant amount of change and challenges to accountabilities, responsibilities and staff behaviour here in Toowoomba.  Kolleen has provided professional guidance, support to managers and staff alike through this processes and always gives the situations presented sound deliberation.  Many of these situations  have been challenging, ensuring integrity through the processes, has required Kolleen to demonstrate strong and consistent  leadership in addressing these  from a principled and  professionally framework.  Kolleen has been pivotal in these changes. Kolleen works tirelessly to do what it takes to support the direction and growth of staff and service delivery.

AGED CARE: Lara Arnott - National Community Operations Manager, St Vincent’s Care Services

Lara has led a number of improvements to SVCS Community Living, including increased EBITDAR, improved client-focused scheduling and care and strengthening of relationships with hospitals and referrers to help expand community living services - all with a focus on providing exceptional care and support to clients. Lara's passion to provide quality service, aligned with our Mission, has seen a growth in community living services and fosters a positive culture among the community coordinators she manages who are flexible and passionate about their clients and staff.

GROUP OFFICE: Matthew Raynor – Network Engineer, SVHA Group Office
Matthew always goes the “extra mile” and continually displays the SVHA Values. Matthew is well respected by customers, staff and management. Nothing is too difficult, no time is inconvenient for him, night time, weekend, he is always there to assist. Whilst Matthew is already highly skilled and experienced, he demonstrates his passion for excellence by studying to further increase his skills. Matthew is courteous and professional, always respectful and is a strong ambassador for IT and Group Office and he sets a very high standard for performance.

Chairman’s Award - St Vincent’s Care Services:  Eltham Refugee Housing Program

In September 2015, St Vincent’s Care Services answered a call to assist in the resettlement of around 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Australia. The organisation committed to refurbishing 60 unused one-bedroom units at its Eltham aged care and independent living campus in Melbourne, to provide refugees with medium-term rental accommodation.

Despite facing a number of challenges, the refurbishment project was completed in late 2016 and the first refugee residents moved into the units in December 2016.

Through working with SVHA internal divisions, Catholic networks, other not-for-profit organisations, federal, state and local governments and local community support groups, the barriers the project once faced were overcome.

These highly vulnerable refugees have been welcomed by the residents of St Vincent’s Care Services Eltham, and the wider community, and the project has resulted in the strengthening of community links with those living at the facility.

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

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