Camperdown Chronicle
South West Health named best in the state

SOUTH West Healthcare (SWH) staff and supporters are still celebrating after beating 21 other similar sized health care agencies to be named ‘Victorian Health Service of the Year’.

Taking in the Warrnambool Base Hospital, Camperdown hospital, Merindah Lodge, Lismore Community Centre and McArthur Community Centre, the health service topped the awards for ‘medium’ sized healthcare providers.

The awards are staged by the Department of Health and Human Services and are now in their 15th year.

Four categories are awarded, being for primary, small, medium and large health care providers, with each judged against stringent assessment criteria.

SWH chief executive officer Craig Fraser says the recognition is the result of a total team effort, where 1550 employees, 332 registered volunteers, the board of directors, the executive team and the health service’s auxiliaries, donors and supporters committed to providing the best consumer experiences possible.

“It is fantastic acknowledgement for the entire South West Healthcare team to be recognised against 21 other health care agencies,” he said.

“It highlights the dedication and commitment of our entire workforce to achieving the ultimate goal of improving the health and health care outcomes of communities in our south west region.

“I’m very proud of the care our teams provide, particularly given the challenges experienced in recent years due to increasing levels of service demand.”

He said the health service aimed to provide high quality care “close to home” while expanding the services it offered.

“We provide more specialist medical services than any other region our size in Australia,” Mr Fraser said.

“This ensures more people access care when they need it.

“We’re humbled to receive this prestigious award and we won’t rest on our laurels.”

South West Healthcare notched up a busy 2018/19, with highlights including:

  • 14th consecutive year of record patient throughput;
  • A 7.2 per cent increase in in-patients;
  • A 6.4 per cent increase in ambulance arrivals;
  • A 12.3 per cent increase in surgeries performed;
  • Exceeded activity targets;
  • Reduced elective surgery wait lists;
  • Continued strong financial performance;
  • Completion of a business case for a Warrnambool Base Hospital redevelopment;
  • Securing $1.49m in funding to build a new Portland Community Mental Health facility;
  • Installation of 1300 solar panels to reduce electricity usage by eight per cent;
  • Starting a $460,000 refurbishment of Merindah Lodge; and
  • Achieving the highest influenza-vaccinated workforce (95.5 per cent) of all Victorian health services employing 800-3000 staff.

“We will continue to improve in providing great care whilst also ensuring our consumers and patients have a very positive experience,” Mr Fraser said.