WDHS Board Chair, Mr Hugh Macdonald, with staff Above and Beyond Award winner, Hazel Saligari and Chief Executive, Rohan Fitzgerald
Over 130 people attended the Western District Health Service (WDHS) Annual General Meeting (AGM), with Guest Speaker, Dr Stephen Brown from the Ballarat Integrated Cancer Centre (BRICC).
Dr Brown spoke of the benefits of not only maintaining, but expanding regional cancer services, to ensure patients aren’t travelling long distances for quality care.
Dr Brown gave the example of a BRICC patient from west of Horsham, who over a short period travelled more than 5,200km for appointments before even commencing his chemotherapy.
“By the time this patient had completed 20 cycles of chemotherapy, the total distance he had travelled was 7,160km, that’s the equivalent of a trip from Melbourne to Perth and back,” Dr Brown said.
Dr Brown also discussed the exciting new immunotherapy treatments available, using patient scans to demonstrate some impressive results on some cancers.
The AGM provided an overview of the 2016/17 highlights and financial performance of the Health Service. WDHS Board President, Mr Hugh Macdonald spoke in brief about the year and thanked the Board, staff, volunteers and members of the community for their tremendous support of WDHS in 2016/17.
Corporate Services Director, Nick Starkie delivered a snapshot of the financial performance of the Health Service, which achieved a full year operating surplus of $12,000.
Merilyn Grant was made a WDHS Life Governor following her significant contribution over two decades supporting the Executive and Board, often going above and beyond what was required in her role.
Staff and volunteers were also presented with 10 to 40 year service badges, in recognition of their years of service and dedication to the organisation. The staff Above and Beyond Award was presented to Aged Care Practice Development Nurse, Hazel Saligari.
This year the Health Service introduced a ‘Community Award’ category to recognise the significant contribution people in the organisation make to their community. The ‘Community Award’ for 2017 was presented to Coleraine District Health Service for its support of family violence prevention initiatives.
An award for clinical excellence and innovation was presented to staff who collaborated on the Victorian Stroke Telemedicine (VST) program. The program provides a 24 hour a day clinical service, allowing immediate access to a network of Melbourne based neurologists to assist in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients presenting within 4.5 hours of their stroke symptoms. Real time audio-visual communication and viewing of brain imaging is used to rapidly assess patients with acute stroke.
The Non-Clinical Excellence Award went to the National Centre for Farmer Health, Ripple Effect team. The Ripple Effect was developed by the NCFH as an online intervention to investigate what works to reduce the self-stigma and perceived-stigma among males from the farming community, aged between 30-64 years of age, who have been bereaved by suicide, attempted suicide, cared for someone who attempted suicide, have had thoughts of suicide, or been touched by suicide in some other way.