IN the midst of a global pandemic that transformed the way health services were delivered, while continuing to expand and build new services, the directors of nursing of four health services remained connected to strengthen our region’s health and wellbeing.

And with Victoria now COVID free, they were able to meet in person at Bass Coast Health in Wonthaggi recently.

The four health services work together as part of the South Coast Gippsland Partnership (SCGP).

The SCGP has patient care and improved services front and centre of its agenda.

Examples of its joint effort include an integrated health promotion effort, defining capability in maternity services, allied health educator partnerships, collaborating on flexible local patient transport programs and a joint Disability Action Plan and support for local engagement and action.

The directors of nursing took the time to talk face-to-face about the role of Bass Coast Health as the sub-regional service and improvements to coordination to ensure patients receive care closer to home, in their home hospital, when appropriate.

Bass Coast Health deputy CEO Louise Sparkes reflected on the importance of the network “sharing experiences and helping to support each other during a tumultuous time led to better ways of working”.

Louise showed her colleagues around the changes at the Wonthaggi Hospital, talking through the ongoing improvements to the site and services, and COVID-safe measures that were described as ‘outstanding’ by DHHS auditors who visited recently.

“It is helpful to be able to show and share with each other the practical changes we have made throughout our health services,” she said.

“The SCGP supported the sub-region to provide a coordinated and innovative response to COVID which saw meaningful service delineation and collaboration in responding to COVID in 2020.”