GSHS Chairman Mark Holmes, left, and CEO Mark Johnson, presented the annual report to the health service’s AGM last Wednesday.

GSHS Chairman Mark Holmes, left, and CEO Mark Johnson, presented the annual report to the health service’s AGM last Wednesday.

HARDLY has the paint dried on the most recent advance in health services for South Gippsland at Leongatha, with the establishment of the new hospital, than a completely new medical project will get underway on the Leongatha hospital site this week.
It’s the new $4 million Leongatha Integrated Primary Care Centre to be co-located on the Leongatha hospital site, providing medical care, in partnership with the Leongatha Medical Group, and a range of other primary health services.
And it was a delighted Gippsland Southern Health Service (GSHS) chairman, Mark Holmes, who addressed this major new development at the health service’s annual general meeting last week, saying that the completion of construction planning had cleared the way to the start of works.
“The project will be built near the entrance to the hospital and provide the opportunity for medical and hospital services to be more closely integrated,” he said.
“The facility will have 12 consulting suites as well, enabling us to better accommodate existing and new medical services in the future.”
The new development was just one of a number of good news stories to come out of the annual meeting in Korumburra, highlighted by a turnaround in the health service’s finances in the past year.
Board Treasurer Peter Siggins provided a glowing financial report to the meeting which detailed how GSHS had followed a financial improvement plan to turn last year’s net result (before capital and specific items) of a $1.363 million loss into small but significant $23,000 surplus.
He said the health service would now be working to consolidate those gains, achieved by higher occupancy rates in its aged care facilities, improved documentation to secure patient funding from government and efficiency gains; to deliver a surplus again in 2016-17.
The health service started to increase theatre procedures as the year progressed and this is expected to improve the financial result as well.
But Mr Holmes also cautioned, after the AGM, that it was a time of change in health services, especially after the tabling of the Duckett report, highlighting not only the quality of care in the State’s hospitals but also the safety of care.
“The Duckett report and several other inquiries have focussed attention on the programs and procedures delivered by the state’s hospitals and we all need to take note.
“What we are already seeing as a result is a higher level of co-operation between health services, and especially locally, we will see more opportunities for shared delivery between South Gippsland, Wonthaggi and ourselves.
“We don’t want to get too risk averse but working within your capabilities is what it’s all about and we’ve got to be prepared to respond to that.”
As well as the chairman’s report and the financial update, there was also a presentation about Advanced Care Planning and some presentations to retiring board members, Gary Austin and Lindsay Powney.
Copies of the health service’s annual report, which has already been tabled in State Parliament and the Quality Account, are available from GSHS.