In 2016-17, St John of God Health Care continued to invest in expanding our services and facilities for the benefit of the communities we serve. As expected and foreshadowed in last year’s report, this was against a challenging financial backdrop.
An election and change of government in Western Australia, slower growth rates within the healthcare industry, increasing competition, and reduced price increases from health funds made 2016-17 a challenging year. While revenue growth was strong this was mostly in our low margin public hospitals, and we achieved lower than budgeted earnings at year-end.
Our response to this challenging outlook is to ensure disciplined cost management while continuing to invest prudently in services, technology and facilities that will allow us to deliver the high quality care expected of us.
St John of God Health Care has an ongoing growth strategy based on responding to community need and continually invests in the upgrade and redevelopment of our facilities in the regions we serve.
In 2016-17, the Board was delighted with the progress of the group’s capital projects. These included the completion of a $41 million redevelopment at our Bendigo Hospital, a $21 million redevelopment at our Geelong hospital that will provide enhanced intensive care and cardiac services, an upgrade of facilities at our Mt Lawley hospital, and the completion of ward refurbishment at St John of God Murdoch hospital.
We are particularly pleased that the 190 bed greenfield development at the new St John of God Berwick Hospital in partnership with Generation Healthcare REIT is progressing on time and to budget. This facility, which is co-located with Casey Hospital, will bring significant additional services to the rapidly growing corridor of southeast Melbourne and will open in January 2018.
St John of God Health Care has two Public Private Partnerships with government, St John of God Midland Public Hospital (WA) and the other at Hawkesbury District Health Service (NSW). While St John of God Health Care has a long history of partnering with state and federal governments to provide health and disability services, 2016-17 was our first full year of operation for these two significant hospital contracts.
A review of our social outreach program governance framework was completed in the first half of 2016-17 and led to the establishment of a directorate of Community Services bringing together St John of God Health Care’s disability and Social Outreach services, and reporting directly to the Group CEO.
The report also recommended changes to our social outreach model that will result in greater transparency and reporting, improved management and governance of social outreach with centralised oversight, and better funding allocation and budgeting processes in line with strategy.
The Board is also pleased to see the expansion of activity in the disability sector with the transfer of Marillac Services from the Daughters of Charity to St John of God Health Care in May.
We are committed to continuing this ministry and expanding it into the future. St John of God Health Care is now one of the largest disability service providers in Victoria, and has the scale, capability and financial strength to operate successfully under the National Disability Insurance Scheme through the provision of high quality, individualised support to our clients.
Our current Disability Access and Inclusion Plan (DAIP) is 80% completed, with the Disability Reference Group working on the next phase of the plan. Greater integration of people with a disability into our workforce continues to be a priority at St John of God Health Care and we made good progress in 2016-17.
In August 2016, we entered into a three-year partnership with Reconciliation WA, with a view to them supporting our WA divisions to achieve the required outcomes of our Reconciliation Action Plan.
We followed this in June 2017 with the launch of a new three-year Innovate Reconciliation Plan, which supports the creation of a culturally sensitive and supportive model of employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This plan will increase divisional capacity over time to become an employer of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and contribute to greater engagement with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in health, culture and service provision.
Changes to Board
During the year we were delighted to welcome back Jack de Groot to the St John of God Health Care Board. Jack has outstanding experience in Catholic leadership and governance across a range of sectors.
As befits an organisation with more than 125 years of caring for the community, we have a long-term outlook and our focus is on the future and ensuring our ongoing sustainability while we respond to the immediate challenges of the changing external environment, and community demand.
Our goals for the year ahead include successful completion and opening of the new St John of God Berwick Hospital, overseeing the optimal operation of our public hospitals and ensuring that we continue to develop strong partnerships with all our stakeholders.
I would like to thank our Group CEO Dr Michael Stanford, my fellow Board members and all the caregivers, doctors, allied health professionals and volunteers for their dedication and hard work in continuing the Ministry of St John of God Health Care.