2021: it’s been a heck of a year
As we move towards our 47th year of serving the East Gippsland community, healthcare provided at the local level has never been more important.
With the ongoing effects of drought, bushfire recovery, a strained economy, rolling COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, mounting family and relationship stress, the physical, mental and financial health of many East Gippsland residents has taken a battering in 2021.
Presenting the 2021 Annual Report at last week’s virtual Annual General Meeting, Board Chair Carol Ross said COVID-19 continued to present a challenging environment and congratulated management, staff, volunteers and clients on their resilience and flexibility to implement change during trying times.
“The provision of COVID vaccination clinics and pop-up testing sites when necessary has been a tremendous effort,” she said.
Ms Ross also noted the retirement of CEO Sue Medson in July, after 10 years of dedicated service to GLCH, and welcomed our new CEO Anne-Maree Kaser, who brings a wealth of experience in the community health and social services sector.
Glenn Hodges was re-elected and Bruce Hurley was elected to the Board, both for a three-year term. John Miller ended his Board term and was thanked for his contribution over the past two years.
So, amidst organisational growth and a rapidly changing healthcare environment, what has GLCH done for you lately?
Here’s a snapshot of what we as an organisation have achieved in the past 12 months:
- The Bushfire Recovery Support Program continued to support fire-affected areas with more than 800 clients.
- The annual Walk to Change the Story – part of the 16 Days of Activism campaign against gender-based violence – became a virtual event as Hands Up to Change the Story to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.
- The GLCH commitment to inclusive practice was recognised with Rainbow Tick Accreditation in early 2021.
- Expanded the general practitioner workforce to seven GPs and four registrars.
- Clinical and environmental services teams supported a COVID-19 pop-up testing clinic in January alongside Bairnsdale Regional Health Service (BRHS) and the Gippsland Primary Health Network.
- The creation and launch of Clinic 281 – a sexual health and wellbeing hub in Bairnsdale staffed by a nurse consultant and two part-time GPs.
- The STEP Unit was named the winner of the “Improved Access to Health Services” category at the 2020 Gippsland Primary Health Awards for its quick service remodelling in response to the pandemic.
- Thanks to a $378,000 grant from the Department of Education, we installed a relocatable building at our Children’s Centre in Lakes Entrance, enabling us to offer Three-Year-Old Kindergarten for the first time, and to create 22 new kindergarten places for East Gippsland children.
- Our NDIS team experienced an increase Support Coordination (up 38 per cent) and our Home Care Package team celebrated their 500th client.
- Weekly COVID-19 vaccination clinic (AstraZeneca) ongoing from the end of March this year – about 150 people have gone through the clinic each week.
Internally, a number of changes and improvements to the way we do business were also put in place:
- The Finance team moved from a paper-based accounts payable system to paperless invoices. Accounts payable now saves around 500 invoices a week in printing and associated paperwork.
- Preparing for changes to family violence services in Outer Gippsland due to The Orange Door (TOD) roll-out. Human Resources has supported Orange Door recruitment, which has resulted in numerous rounds of advertising and marketing, and movement of staff from within the FYCS team to TOD, thus creating further vacancies.
- Our allied health team created new service models to enhance service access during lockdowns. This includes an occupational therapy virtual care model and phone triage with support staff.
- We began the roll-out of MARAM family violence staff training to align with the Family Violence Royal Commission findings and the Road-map to Reform.
- Our Family, Youth and Children’s Services Unit partnered with Federation University to provide student placements.
- A redesign of the paediatric allied health service model has delivered several efficiencies including the recruitment of an administration officer that has allowed our allied health assistants to increase service delivery.
- We provided graduate nurses with primary care experience via the Graduate Nurse Program in collaboration with the Bairnsdale Regional Health Service (BRHS).
- Parkinson’s registered nurse collaboration with neurologist via Telehealth provides us with weekly access to specialist care.
- The Quality and Governance team supported the preparation of various accreditation processes including Quality Innovation Performance (QIP), Human Services Standards (HSS), the review of NDIS services, Aged Care Quality review and Rainbow Tick Accreditation.
- Business Development Officer, Leanne MacTaggart, helped secure state funding for a $500,000 solar panel array in Lakes Entrance.
- We had a growth spurt, employing xx new staff.
Staff scholarships are also an integral part of how we improve practice and maintain continuous improvement. Our program is designed to allow staff to gain knowledge and skills in the form of recognised qualifications that will boost individual, professional and organisational growth.
The following staff have furthered their qualifications in the 2020-21 year:
- Rachael Johnson: Diploma in Leadership and Management
- Deanne McKendry: Diploma of Human Resources Management
- Chloe Watson: Digital Finance: Risk Management, Governance and Regulation and Data Interpretation and Visualisation
- Amanda Hack: Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
- Jessica Oliver: Certificate IV in Project Management Practice
- Marnie Graham: Diversity and Inclusion Certificate
- Janie Dent: Pain Care Yoga Certification Course
- Kim Woolan: Women’s Coaching Specialist Certificate
- Jessica James: Enhancing Skills in Paediatric Physiotherapy Course
- Nicole Dennison: Bachelor of Business (Accounting)
- Louise Hobson: Governance and Risk Management Certificate
- Tamara Wood: Post Graduate Certificate in Psychology of Business and Management.
GLCH now has more than 500 staff and several have been with the organisation for a decade or more.
The following staff members have achieved milestone anniversaries with GLCH in the 2020-21 year:
- 10 Years: Susan Bristow, Chris Carroll, Rachel Clulow, Carol Culpitt, Tracey Dear, Amanda Hack, Natalie Hannington, Sherryn Hewett, Susan Jones, Sue Medson, Lyn Nicol, Janine Pratt, Emma Raeburn, Sarah Smith, Sue Smith and Kathleen Wigg.
- 15 Years: Wendy Brownrigg, Kaitlin Clegg, Vanessa Mair, Carolyn Phillips, Jennifer Schmidt, Janine St John and Anthony Staff.
- 20 Years: Pam Dibben and Fiona Rawson.
- 25 Years: Helen Gibson, Marjorie Answer, Carol Keighran and Carol Blandford.