Bass Coast Health celebrates its awesome staff


Bass Coast Health’s (BCH) Annual General Meeting for 2021-2022 celebrated the amazing staff who have gone above and beyond to deliver healthcare to the local community in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

BCH CEO Jan Child said all staff – clinical and non-clinical – were the heroes of a trying year in which the health service delivered more services to the community, including COVID testing and vaccination services, while managing the personal challenges of the Pandemic felt by everyone.

“Throughout these extraordinary times, our staff rose to every challenge. Many staff stepped out of their usual roles to support other areas because of our workforce shortages,” she said.

“Most staff worked many additional hours, double shifts/weekend/night duty when it was not their usual routine, all the time in the most restrictive masks, face shields, gowns and other PPE, all while building a new hospital and starting new services.”

Ms Child said watching construction of the new hospital advance throughout the Pandemic helped to buoy the organisation through one of the most challenging chapters of its history.

“Watching construction of the $115m hospital constantly reminded us of the wonderful future our organisation has,” she said.

“Throughout the year, BCH staff maintained their focus on providing the best possible care to their local community. If this Pandemic has proved one thing about Bass Coast Health, it is that our staff are skilled, remarkable and resilient. It’s also really clear that they care immensely for their community. Whilst other services closed capacity, BCH staff stepped up to do more hours, take on new roles and learn new skills to keep the sub-regional service vibrant.

“I’m proud to lead such a dedicated and passionate team. They are agile, expert and committed, and we are grateful for all they have done and continue to do. All BCH staff understand the privileged role we have in caring for our community and we are proud to be in such a positive position today.”

At the Annual General Meeting on Thursday 16 February, BCH was proud to honour long-serving staff, presenting 121 service awards to staff for 10 to 25 years of service.

BCH also commended Judith Street for 45 years of service; Sheryl Mark and Allison Clover for 40 years of service; Elizabeth Luna, Norma Sim, Glenys Bell, Ruth Harvey, Jenny Hayes, Anne Kerr, Patricia Scanlon and Brigette Taylor for 35 years of service; and Melinda Milkins, Suanne Dunston, Allyson Mirtschin, Tracey Jones, Pauline Humbert and Jennifer Buxton for 30 years of service. In total, 2,410 years of dedicated service was celebrated.

The AGM was held later than usual to allow for BCH’s Annual Report to be tabled in State Parliament.

Highlights of 2021-22 included:

• maintaining accreditation of our much-loved and newly renovated care facilities, Kirrak House, by passing the three-yearly accreditation review by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission

• achieving mid-term accreditation from the Post Graduate Medical Council of Victoria for the training of our Junior Medical Staff

• achieving accreditation with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians for a Geriatric Advanced trainee as a seconded site from Alfred Health

• participating in Safer Care Victoria (SCV) ‘A 100,000 Lives initiative’ projects – Aged Care Friendly Systems and Postpartum Haemorrhage Collaborative Charter

• expanding our Emergency Department capacity by temporarily moving into the newly renovated Armitage House, whilst awaiting the new hospital. This enabled a significant increase in the presentation of higher acuity patients presenting to the Emergency Department, with a 19% increase in the number of severely ill patients (Triage Categories 1–3) and a 44% increase in Triage Category 2 (Emergency) patients

• expanding our publicly funded surgeons to bring an even greater range of surgical services to our community. This included expanded Orthopaedic surgery, Ophthalmology, Gynaecology, Gastroenterology, Breast surgery and General surgery

• increasing our publicly funded Specialist Outpatient Clinics to provide more services to our community closer to home. This included more outpatient appointments for cardiology, oncology, radiation and haematology specialists, as well as general endocrinology, nephrology, women’s services and geriatrics. These clinics experienced a 37% increase in the number of services performed relative to 2020–21

• partnering with Alfred Health to establish a public dermatology service and participating in a new melanoma clinical trial to improve surveillance for people at high risk of melanoma

• appointing two specialist cardiac nurses to improve care, support and education for cardiovascular patients and their families, and deliver pilot projects with Safer Care Victoria in collaboration with The Alfred Hospital Cardiology team

• growing our other Acute services with our Acute Ward, Integrated Care Unit, Haemodialysis and Hospital in the Home wards all experiencing growth of between 8 and 13%

• delivering more Meals on Wheels to the community – 51,709 meals for the financial year – which not only supplied nutritious food to our community, but importantly provided social connection • completely renovating Armitage House to transform this treasured building into a contemporary facility.