AGM reports break even financial result despite challenging year

West Gippsland Healthcare Group (WGHG) has held its Annual General Meeting reporting a break even financial year despite a second challenging year dominated by COVID-19.

WGHG Board Chair, Christine Holland, said the year was marked by continual changes to health services and practices to respond to the threat of a viral outbreak.

“For most parts of the year, the hospital and aged care facilities were largely locked down, with visitors restricted and staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

“The health service established new services to support community safety during the pandemic, establishing the COVID vaccination centre at the Warragul Goods Shed and community COVID testing sites in partnership with the Gippsland Region Public Health Unit (GRPHU).”

Christine Holland said while COVID-19 was ever present and provided many challenges, it did not prevent the health service from focussing on meeting the health needs of the community.

The number of hospital admissions increased by 17% compared to the previous year to 17,385.

With hospital inpatient bed numbers limited and operating at capacity, there was much focus on managing patients on a same day basis or in the community. There was 31% growth in the Hospital in the Home program as more patients were supported in their home.

Elective surgery was increased from last year but slightly below target, reflecting the impact of the COVID outbreaks on non-urgent elective surgery.

The Emergency Department had periods of both high and low activity, and finished with slightly more presentations than last year but lower than would
be expected without the presence of COVID-19.

Birth numbers increased by 95 babies to a total of 974 for the year, still within the 1,000 birth cap we imposed in 2014 for safety reasons and to ensure access for our local community.

WGHG Deputy Chair, JoAnne Moorfoot, presented a report on achievements in Quality and Safety highlighting the health services Child Safety re-accreditation, community engagement, and innovations in community health services in telehealth and virtual appointments.

The health service’s residential aged care facilities of Cooinda Lodge and Andrews House worked to keep vulnerable residents safe from COVID-19, and continued to meet accreditation for quality of care and services against the Aged Care Quality Standards.

Presenting the financial report, WGHG Board Treasurer, Jayman Prestidge, was pleased to report a breakeven result for the year.

“This reflects very strong support from the Department of Health, which recognised and responded to the growth in demand with record funding.”

The Department also fully funded WGHG’s role in supporting the Victorian Government’s response to COVID-19.

Total revenue from transactions for the year grew by 6.2% to $133.9m. The majority of this growth related to increased State Government operational revenue of $9.5m to $98.9m, including COVID funding.

The AGM recognised 73 staff members and doctors for long service for 15 years to 45 years of service. Four volunteers were awarded medals for achieving ten years of service each.

Maria Kraszewski from Corporate Services and Judith Darcy from Central Sterile Supply Department achieved 45 year and 40 year awards respectively.

Receiving her award for 45 years of service, Maria Kraszewski reflected on her career beginnings as a cleaner working in the kitchen washing pots.

‘I then moved into cleaning on the wards and in theatre for 13 years, then became a trainer and then a manger of the Environmental Services team which employs 47 cleaning staff and hospital attendants.’

“My mother worked at the hospital for 26 years and I always wanted to beat that record. I just love the place. I take great pride in making sure everything is running smoothly.”

The AGM also acknowledged retiring Board Directors Leanne Williams and Susan Lloyd for their work over a turbulent three-year period.

Chief Executive Officer, Dan Weeks, thanked the community for its generosity in donations received during the financial year.

“The Opportunity Shop Auxiliaries at Drouin and Trafalgar continue to thrive and provide much needed support and there are many fundraising groups whose efforts enabled us to purchase medical equipment not covered by government funding.”

“None of what we have achieved throughout the year would have been possible without the outstanding contribution of our Board, executive team, staff, contractors, volunteers, auxiliaries and our donors.”

“We also acknowledge and thank our many community partners, including our local members of Parliament, Victorian Department of Health, health providers, regional organisations and those within West Gippsland including Baw Baw Shire Council.”

The 2020-21 Annual Report is on the West Gippsland Healthcare website under the Publications tab.

For media enquiries, please contact Karyn O’Brien, Public Relations Manager at WGHG on 03 5623 0600 or at: