Please Type

SWH recognised as one of the State’s best health services

Friday, 20 Oct 2023

South West Healthcare has been named as a finalist in the Victorian Healthcare Awards across three categories including the ‘Premier’s Medium-sized Health Service of the Year’ category, the 'Keeping the Community Safe and Well' and 'Creating a Sustainable and Climate Resilient Health System' categories.

Environmentally friendly supplies at South West Healthcare

The Premier’s Health Service of the Year Awards are Victoria’s most prestigious accolade to which a health service can be nominated for.  These awards recognise leadership and excellence in the provision of publicly funded healthcare for the Victorian community.

“We are thrilled to be a finalist in this years awards and recognised alongside Echuca Regional Health and East Grampians Health Service for our overall work as a health service,” says SWH Acting CEO, Jamie Brennan.

“Our service has experienced extraordinary growth in terms of programs and services since we last won this award in 2019 – and our teams continue to work hard everyday to meet the challenges and demands of providing care to our community. ”

“In the last 12-18 months we have established free specialist outpatient clinics and recruited a number of new specialists to our medical teams. So far we have treated more than 10,000 patients through these newly established clinics.

“We have extended some of our programs to work with other regional partners, such as the Hospital Admission Risk Program, which now partners with Timboon and District Health, Terang Mortlake Health Service and Moyne Health Service.

“We have extended our care outside of the hospital with the Hospital in the Home program, the COVID-19 Remote Patient Monitoring Program and the GEM@Home program, which allows people to be cared for within the comfort of their home and avoid unnecessary hospitalisation.

“We are also really pleased that two of our other programs have been recognised as finalists in the awards – our School Readiness Program, which provides allied health support to more than 50 kindergartens, and our Compostable Clinical Consumable Program which has so far removed 1.2 million pieces of single use plastic from landfill, by working with suppliers to create and prototype compostable alternatives,”

South West Healthcare’s (SWH) School Readiness program has been recognised as one of the best programs in the state to keep children and families ‘safe and well in the community’.

The School Readiness Program is run by a multi-disciplinary team at SWH who provide around fifty kindergartens across the south-west with early childhood educator and parent support to help identify pre-school aged children that may benefit from early intervention from allied health professionals. This includes speech pathology, occupational therapy, and social work, via early, fully funded interventions.

By providing kindergarten educators with additional skills and knowledge to be able to identify students who need support, and provide them with extra assistance, it is hoped that that program is able to better set children up to thrive and learn once they start school.

Some of the programs the School Readiness team provide include:

– Parent information nights held online where parents are able to speak with kinder teachers, allied health professionals and experts at the Department of Education to find out how they can best help their child get ready for the transition to school.

– Safe and supportive playgroups for vulnerable families, which connects them to community, to services and provides a safe place for children to play who may be impacted by family violence or other circumstances that make them vulnerable

– Training and professional development sessions for kindergarten and early childhood educators so that they can up-skill and access tools and resources to assist children in their classroom.

The program headed by Occupational Therapist and Team Leader Danili Dwyer has achieved impressive results including increased educator and parent confidence, a rise in referrals to allied health services, meaning that children are able to access more timely and specific access to services and therefore improved health outcomes for young children.

“School Readiness sessions for children attending Foundation/ Prep in 2024 were held on the 29th of May with around 200 local families tuning in. A similar forum for families of children attending kindergarten in 2024 will be held late Term 4. Details of this will be shared via SWH media channels and each area’s local council,” says Ms. Dwyer.

South West Healthcare’s Sustainability and Supply teams have also been recognised for their work in procuring and/or assisting with the development of a range of compostable clinical items that will replace single-use plastic items, and have so far managed to remove more than 1.2 million pieces of plastic from landfill.

South West Healthcare Product Advisor Stephanie Hughes and Environmental Sustainability Project Officer Elvira Hewson have been working steadily on a program of product development to ensure that as many of South West Healthcare’s single-use items are made from compostable materials (such as sugar cane) as possible, in order to cut down on unnecessary plastic waste filling our tips, beaches and natural environment.

“So far the team have worked with product manufacturers to test and design new kidney dishes, injection trays, pill cups, water cups and straws, patient personal item bags, aenesthitic packs among other things, which are all biodegradable and compostable. Through South West Healthcare’s Regional Linen Logistics and Supply arm, these products are also available to our partners – which include other health care services across the state,’ says Ms Hughes.

“This work has been really rewarding, and alongside our new fleet of emissions-free vehicles for district nursing and commitment to solar panels at all campuses, we have been able to make some really big strides towards providing more sustainable healthcare to our community in the

last 12- 18months,” says South West Healthcare Sustainability and Environment Project officer, Elvira Hewson.

“It’s wonderful to be a part of such a large and vibrant organisation that is striving to achieve so many big and ambitious programs to help our community and our environment. Sometimes you need a moment like this to stop and take stock of just how much we have going on, and just how far we have come. I hope everyone who works at SWH is proud of the work they are doing.”

The winners of the 2023 Victorian Healthcare Awards will be announced on 26 November and presented by the Premier and Chief Health Officer in Melbourne. Award categories are peer-reviewed and judged by a panel of healthcare experts and practitioners. For more information about the awards, please visit the Department of Health website.

Page last updated: 30 November 2023

We value feedback from patients, consumers, family members and carers.