Department of Health

Award winners and finalists

Thank you to all health services that entered the 2022 Victorian Public Healthcare Awards.

The entries we received show that our public healthcare sector, workers and volunteers continue to innovate and deliver exceptional care led with compassion.

Congratulations to all our 2022 winners and finalists! 

General Awards

  • Winner

    The McMonty: finding safe air
    Western Health

    Developed by teams at Western Health and the University of Melbourne, the ‘McMonty’ is an isolation hood device that allows for non-invasive ventilation for patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). This reduces the number of patients who have to undergo invasive ventilation and protects other patients and staff from the spread of COVID-19. The ‘McMonty’ was tested for three months in Western Health’s emergency departments and in the ICUs at the Sunshine and Footscray hospitals. It received positive reviews from staff and patients and, most importantly, rates of healthcare worker infections were very low among staff who had access to it. The ‘McMonty’ is now actively used across Western Health sites and available in more than 100 hospitals across Australia, as well as in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

    Finalists

    Precision medicine for hypertension: screening for primary aldosteronism
    Monash Health; Hudson Institute of Medical Research 

    Primary aldosteronism causes resistant hypertension – high blood pressure that does not respond well to treatment – often at a young age, leading to strokes, heart attacks, and death. It has long been considered a rare disease, however, a pilot screening program introduced by the Hudson Institute across selected general practices has shown primary aldosteronism may in fact be the underlying cause of hypertension in 1 out of 7 cases. This research could improve diagnosis of primary aldosteronism, leading to better care for patients with hypertension. 


    SHINE: a world-first trial helping our sickest babies
    The Royal Women’s Hospital 

    The Royal Women’s Hospital has established a new method of care that can improve outcomes for newborns with breathing difficulties and help train doctors globally. The ‘Stabilisation with nasal high flow during neonatal endotracheal intubation’ or SHINE method uses humified oxygen to improve the safety and success of intubation, gently delivering a blend of air and oxygen through small prongs in the nose. A trial of SHINE at the Women’s involving the intubation of 250 babies showed that SHINE increased the chance of a breathing tube being placed correctly on the first attempt, and that babies’ oxygen levels were more stable during the procedure.

  • Winner

    Barwon Health’s Palliative Care at Home
    Barwon Health 

    Pal at Home (PAH), part of the Barwon Health Palliative Care Program, is giving people more choice on how they spend the end of their life. PAH provides patients with palliative care needs in their homes and offers support and planned visits for both the patient and their carer(s). This is the first model of care of its kind in Australia and has proven very successful. Not only is PAH allowing palliative care patients to remain in the comfort of their own home, it is also freeing up beds at Barwon Health sites. PAH has supported more than 300 patients since commencing in December 2019.

    Finalists

    Western Health’s Integrated COVID-19 Care at Home
    Western Health 

    Western Health’s COVID-19 Positive Pathway (CPP) program supports patients in monitoring their symptoms and safely isolating at home. Initially created in the early stages of the pandemic in 2020, the CPP program evolved in 2021 into a proactive, scalable, and sustainable solution to meet the increasing demand on Hospital in the Home programs. A 24-hour helpline was developed to provide advice to those in the program, and partnerships were established to expand care to obstetrics patients. The program also facilitates medication prescriptions and food package delivery. Patient feedback has been positive and the CPP program has now been embedded within Western Health’s Division of Chronic and Complex Care.


    The Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Cardiac remote device interrogation kiosk project
    Melbourne Health  

    Regular checks of cardiac devices (known as ‘interrogations’) are critical for detecting malfunctions, battery-end-of-life, as well as any new heartbeat irregularities. During the COVID-19 lockdowns, when face-to-face device interrogations could not occur, the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Cardiac Implanted Electronic Device (CIED) team devised a novel way to continue providing patient care and CIED management. The team implemented remote device interrogation in local pharmacies, providing participating pharmacy staff with training and equipment. This allowed patients to visit their local pharmacy for device interrogation, even during lockdowns. The program has already assisted 660 patients and has been of particular benefit to regional patients, who would otherwise need to travel to Melbourne. This world-first system of remote interrogation continues to be used and is now being adopted by other hospitals both in Victoria and interstate.

  • Winner

    The Royal Melbourne Hospital’s From community to community: COVID-19 messages in-language
    Melbourne Health  

    Language barriers proved to be a significant obstacle in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, which is why the Royal Melbourne Hospital emergency department team collaborated with its communications department to produce a series of videos spoken by hospital clinicians in their heritage language. These videos dispelled myths around the COVID-19 vaccines and encouraged people to get them. The videos were very effective in overcoming hesitancy observed among many patients at the hospital. They also helped raise the vaccination rate in the City of Hume through their Arabic translations.

    Finalists

    Reducing stillbirth at term in South Asian born mothers
    Hudson Institute of Medical Research – The Ritchie Centre; Monash Women’s; Monash Health Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology; Monash University

    In high income countries around the world like Australia, women of South Asian background experience higher rates of stillbirth when compared to locally born women. Thirteen per cent of all women giving birth in Victoria and 30 per cent of all women giving birth at Monash Health are of South Asian background. Monash Health sought to better understand the drivers of stillbirth in these women and identified that differences in the length of pregnancy may be driving the increased rates of stillbirth. Monash Health now offers fetal monitoring for South Asian women from 39 weeks rather than at 41 weeks. This earlier fetal monitoring for South Asian women has been associated with a 64 per cent reduction in the rate of term stillbirths and has also identified fetal compromise earlier than it otherwise would have been.


    CALD community COVID-19 vaccination program: leave no one behind
    Barwon Health 

    Communicating COVID-19 vaccination information to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities required extra attention to ensure the message struck home. Barwon Health identified that the understanding of this information among CALD communities was not as widespread as it needed to be, and so worked with a multicultural working group to address this issue. One of the health service’s key strategies was to create video and audio content in a range of languages so CALD members who could not read their own language could still receive the information. They organised vaccination pop-up clinics to support CALD people and rough sleepers and deployed a vaccination bus service for door-to-door transport to vaccination sites. They also organised vaccine hesitancy sessions and broader community promotions of the vaccines.

  • Winner

    ‘Predict, prevent, priority: safety’ – an approach to OVA management
    Western Health 

    Western Health has developed an organisation-wide safety campaign to help staff prevent and react to Code Greys. A Code Grey is an emergency response initiated by staff in cases of occupational violence and aggression (OVA) and can be scheduled in advance when an incident is anticipated. Dubbed the ‘Predict, prevent, priority: safety’ strategy, the campaign challenges key beliefs and unsafe practices that frequently expose workers to OVA. Staff created videos of workers sharing their own stories of OVA, and two e-learning packages were made to reinforce a messaging campaign encouraging staff to prioritise and protect each other’s wellbeing and welfare. The campaign was very well received by staff, leading to a significant increase in the use of planned Code Greys, and a decrease in Code Greys overall.

    Finalists

    Self care for healthcare: a Great Ocean Road Health initiative to support staff through the changes brought by the amalgamation of the health services and the COVID pandemic
    Great Ocean Road Health 

    Following the amalgamation of two health services on the Great Ocean Road in early 2020, staff reported that the rapid change and impending pandemic had affected their health and wellbeing. A personalised wellbeing program for each individual staff member was introduced in response to this. A staff health and wellbeing committee was established, and staff wellbeing activities and mental health first aid training sessions were organised. A virtual hike of the Great Ocean Road was also organised, which involved staff walking the length of the road in sections, providing a video of the walk along the way. Staff participation rates in these programs were very high, and the 2021 staff People Matter Survey showed significant gains in all areas of psychological health as well as drops in stress.


    The Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Scrub Choir: caring for the carers so we can care for you
    Melbourne Health 

    To help ease rising stress levels during the pandemic, Melbourne Health staff organised the Scrub Choir, a virtual choir consisting of healthcare workers. Feedback from staff was very positive, and the program was expanded in 2021. The success of the program inspired responses to other staff request for stress support, such as playing music in the Royal Melbourne Hospital Children’s vaccination hub and to sing at peak testing times outside of the hospital.

  • Winner

    Pharmacist-led pharmacogenetics program for safer chemotherapy
    Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

    The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre implemented a pharmacist-led pharmacogenetics (PGx) program to minimise life-threatening toxicities from anticancer therapies. PGx refers to the interaction between an inherited gene and response to a medicine. The program focuses on optimising anticancer agents used to treat a range of tumour types to immediately improve patient safety and quality of care whilst also providing for future expansion. The program was first implemented locally and was then expanded to three regional hospitals as part of a pilot phase. Early results have been promising and there are plans to implement the program as a permanent care pathway.

    Finalists

    COVID Monitor Network: innovations in digital development for COVID-19
    Austin Health  

    The demands of the COVID-19 pandemic on the healthcare workforce inspired Austin Health to create the first operational remote monitoring program for COVID-19 patients in Australia. This digital program enabled patients to self-report their symptoms and made remote real-time escalation to clinicians possible. The team worked with Arden Street Labs to design a software called COVID Monitor to manage the data from patients, providing valuable clinical and operational advice and allowing for real-time user feedback. The initial deployment of COVID Monitor enabled access to care for over 100,000 COVID-positive patients. There was a 90 per cent reduction in emergency department presentations and hospital admissions for patients using COVID Monitor. A disease-agnostic version of COVID Monitor is now being developed for a pilot with non-COVID patients.


    Keeping maternity care safe during COVID-19: have we changed the antenatal model of care forever?
    Monash Health 

    As the pandemic spread globally, the Monash Women’s and Newborn team considered how best to deliver care safely to protect pregnant women and its maternity workforce from unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. In just 10 days, a team of obstetric, midwifery, and general practice providers established a world-first approach to care by integrating telehealth to replace up to two thirds of in-person antenatal consultations. In one year, it was able to deliver 31,537 telehealth consultations. Evaluation has shown replacing 50 per cent of in-person antenatal consultations with telehealth visits has not increased the risk of pregnancy complications compared with conventional antenatal care. The majority of women surveyed who had been pregnant more than once also said they would recommend the ongoing use of telehealth appointments for antenatal care. The use of telehealth has prevented overcrowding in waiting rooms, enabled greater flexibility in care delivery, and ensured Monash Health was able to meet the community’s care needs. 

  • Winner

    iCanEAT: implementation of the iCanEAT pathway for people with cancer, carers and health professionals
    Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre; Goulburn Valley Health; Eastern Health; St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne; Deepdene Surgery; healthAbility; Access Health and Community  

    Good nutrition is essential for all people with cancer, and 3 out of 5 people with cancer have a nutrition symptom that impacts eating. During 2018–19, the Victorian Cancer Malnutrition Collaborative developed a freely available cancer nutrition care pathway, the CanEAT pathway, to guide the nutritional care of cancer patients. Patients and carers with a lived experience of cancer were integral to all stages of the project. Forty-six new resources were created based on identified cancer nutrition information gaps and priority areas, including managing weight gain, finding a dietitian, and busting cancer nutrition myths. Analysis revealed 83 per cent of consumers saw benefit in using the CanEAT pathway while 74 per cent of health practitioners noted increased consumer confidence in nutritional care and information.

    Finalist (highly commended)

    Goulburn Valley Health’s Vaccination Buses
    Goulburn Valley Health  

    Recognising that people living in rural and regional areas often have less access to health services, Goulburn Valley Health was keen to ensure that geographical distance did not act as a barrier to COVID-19 vaccination. The health service’s mobile vaccination hubs, better known as ‘Jabba the Bus’ and ‘Maxine Vaccine’, visited 160 locations and provided a number of priority groups – those living in high-risk accommodation, culturally and linguistically diverse populations, aged and disability care residents, and those living in geographically isolated postcodes – with access to the vaccine.

    Finalist

    Culturally adapted patient information: healthy eating for gestational diabetes
    Mercy Health  

    Many people with limited English proficiency (LEP), especially among migrant and refugee communities, face significant difficulties when accessing health services and information; despite translations being widely available, they still often contain unfamiliar Western concepts. To help LEP patients to navigate the system better, Mercy Health co-designed a range of culturally adapted materials for women with gestational diabetes. By interviewing patients to learn about their food and culture and investigating the nutritional compositions of culturally appropriate foods, Mercy Health were able to develop more culturally appropriate and relevant patient information sheets and group education classes. LEP consumers have said these changes have reduced their anxiety and increased their confidence, while empowering them to make the appropriate food and portion choices during pregnancy.

  • Winner

    Active outreach vaccination clinics: providing equity of vaccine to all
    Sunraysia Community Health Service 

    In the face of an outbreak of the COVID-19 Delta variant in the Mildura community in October 2021, parts of the community were found to be experiencing barriers in accessing testing and vaccination services, including culturally and linguistically diverse community members, single parents, people experiencing homelessness and family violence. Working alongside community groups and engaging local leaders, the Sunraysia Community Health Service’s Active Outreach Clinics were tailored to specific communities that are traditionally complex to engage due to systemic inequities relating to transport, disability and racism. Taking vaccinations and testing into specific communities saw the delivery of almost 1300 doses of the vaccine across 35 sites over a six-week period.

    Finalist (highly commended)

    binGO MOVE: helping older adults stay active and healthy
    IPC Health 

    binGO MOVE is an innovative program from IPC Health aimed at increasing physical activity in older adults which, in turn, reduces the incidence and impact of chronic health conditions. The program is an active version of traditional bingo run by a multidisciplinary team of health professionals. Approximately three-quarters of older adults do not reach the daily recommended levels of physical activity. In binGO MOVE, each time a number is called it triggers an exercise, movement or dance, as designed by IPC Health’s team, which includes a cardiac rehabilitation nurse, exercise physiologist, and physiotherapist. Participants spoke highly of the ‘fun’ nature of the activity as well as improvements in their movement and overall physical and mental health, with many recommending the program to their friends.

    Finalist

    Monash Health’s South East Public Health Unit
    Monash Health

    Monash Health led the South East Public Health Unit (SEPHU) during the COVID-19 pandemic to respond to outbreaks, develop public health strategies, and deliver more than 1.4 million vaccinations to support and protect Melbourne’s diverse southeast and Mornington Peninsula. SEPHU achieved Melbourne’s fastest and highest vaccination rate, and ensured no group was left behind. It served Dandenong’s high proportion of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and socioeconomically disadvantaged residents with a highly visible walk-up clinic in the Dandenong Market carpark, which offered clinical and/or bicultural workers, interpreters, and private cubicles for cultural sensitivity. Targeted promotion achieved more than 31,000 vaccinations, of which more than 81 per cent came from a CALD background. SEPHU also delivered better health outcomes through education, expert voices, and case studies in local, state and national media, including press conferences and print and digital articles. This led to greater confidence in vaccination and resulted in increased demand at vaccination clinics.

  • Winner

    Supporting LGBTIQ+ health: general approach and focus to safety
    cohealth

    cohealth recognises that the LGBTIQ+ community faces additional barriers when it comes to accessing inclusive healthcare and support services. To improve LGBTIQ+ health and wellbeing, cohealth embarked on a foundational, whole-organisation effort to advance LGBTIQ+ inclusion and safety for its employees and clients. cohealth implemented a series of interconnected programs and policies to enhance cultural safety and inclusion for LGBTIQ+ individuals. As a result of its inclusivity and diversity efforts, cohealth achieved significant increases in LGBTIQ+ inclusion and cultural safety from March 2021–March 2022. cohealth received its Rainbow Tick accreditation in late 2021 and was named Service Provider of the Year at the 2022 Australian Pride in Health+Wellbeing Awards. Most importantly, LGBTIQ+ staff in cohealth’s peer support group reported that the measures taken enabled them to feel safe. 

    Finalists

    Alfred Health’s HIV Service Advisory Group: future of HIV services co-design
    Alfred Health  

    Great healthcare is about more than clinical care. It is about involvement and partnership between clinicians, organisations and community. Alfred Health’s HIV Service Advisory Group (HSAG) conducted a sensitive, powerful and public discussion with the HIV-affected community to co-design the next generation of HIV care. The result was a clear articulation of the community’s priorities and healthcare needs that will now guide the development of the statewide HIV service. More importantly, it initiated a genuine approach to service co-design, with the HIV community becoming an active participant in creating the services they require for the best health outcome.


    LGBTIQ+ journey at DPV Health
    DPV Health

    The DPV Health ‘You Are Who You Say You Are’ needs analysis was the first of its kind to focus on the needs of LGBTIQ+ people in outer northern Melbourne. One hundred and fifty-one people took part and provided an understanding of the LGBTIQ+ population’s views, preferences, and support needs. The report – recognised as ground-breaking by former Victorian Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality – made 23 recommendations across 4 categories: broad cultural change; education, awareness, and training; support and services; and Rainbow Tick Accreditation. This work has established meaningful partnerships, led to improved LGBTIQ+ healthcare in Melbourne’s north, and influenced significant change in organisations. 

  • Winner

    SAFE audit: transforming health services to address family violence
    The Royal Women’s Hospital – Centre for Family Violence Prevention; University of Melbourne 

    The System Audit Family Violence Evaluation (SAFE) Project was established to evaluate the Victorian Government’s Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence (SHRFV) program in public hospitals and health services. In evaluating the SHRFV program, the SAFE project provides an evidence-based assessment to inform future work concerning family violence. The project worked with 18 Victorian health services to evaluate the SHRFV program. Results were given to sites to improve system change within their organisations to address family violence at the patient, staff and organisation levels. It is currently part of a pilot by the New South Wales Ministry of Health, highlighting its value as a measure system in relation to family violence work in hospitals and health services to enable sustainable change.

    Finalists

    Family violence program
    Peninsula Health  

    Peninsula Health’s family violence program provides an evidence-led identification and risk assessment of children, young people and older people impacted by family violence. Through internal and external organisational collaboration, the safety of victim survivors is placed at the forefront. In 2021, Peninsula Health participated in the System Audit Family Violence Evaluation project led by the University of Melbourne and the Royal Women’s Hospital. This tool assessed health services against 10 domains evaluating the implementation of system change to address family violence. Peninsula Health’s overall score was benchmarked as the second highest in the state. In particular, the ‘Collaboration and Service Integration’ and ‘Governance and Leadership’ domains both received a score of 100%.


    The Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Family Safety Team
    Melbourne Health

    As a major tier 1 adult trauma service, the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) regularly identifies high rates of family violence presentations. To ensure that RMH provides an effective response to the thousands of patients cared for at the hospital each year who are experiencing family violence, RMH rolled out a transformational whole-of-hospital initiative to improve staff readiness and confidence when dealing with family violence situations. The establishment of a specialist multidisciplinary Family Safety Team has seen nearly 5000 staff receive training in how to safely support disclosures of violence, more than 300 staff members have been trained as Family Safety Advocates, standardised family violence screening has been built into the hospital’s new electronic medical record, deeper links have been made with family violence service partners and police to facilitate safe patient discharge, and a support program has been set up for staff experiencing family violence. Given the success of this initiative, RMH has provided permanent funding to support the ongoing operation of the Family Safety Team.

  • Winner

    Building sensory bridges in dementia care
    Bairnsdale Regional Health Service – Maddocks Gardens 

    Residents living with dementia at Maddocks Garden are seeing improved physical and emotional wellbeing thanks to sensory bridges which have been built at the Bairnsdale aged-cared facility. Using an approach that is respectful and responsive to the needs and values of each resident, the initiative incorporates sensory gardens with cultural connections and mixed reality experiences, which has resulted in improved engagement between staff, residents, and their families.

    Finalist (highly commended)

    Enhancing resident engagement through technology
    Tallangatta Health Service 

    Tallangatta Health Service (THS) services the Tallangatta township and surrounding district, providing the only residential aged care in this area to residents with varying levels of cognitive ability and mobility. To maintain quality of life and satisfaction for residents, THS identified several technological solutions that could be introduced to improve communication for residents with their families and provide more meaningful and engaging activities for residents, with particular emphasis on those residents with the highest care needs. This enhanced the quality of life for residents through improved management of emotions, an increased ability to interact socially for people with dementia, and greater community and social cohesion as residents remained connected to their loved ones during the pandemic.

    Finalist

    Goulburn Valley Health’s Community kitchen project
    Goulburn Valley Health – Grutzner House, Waranga Aged Care/Hostel, Tatura Parkvilla Aged Care

    The establishment of a kitchen garden at all three of Goulburn Valley Health’s residential aged care facilities – Grutzner House, Waranga Aged Care/Hostel and Tatura Parkvilla Aged Care – where residents can be involved in growing and cooking their own produce is encouraging residents to be more active, improving their nutrition, enhancing models of care, and reducing social isolation. By consulting residents during the planning and purchasing phase for the kitchen gardens, many of them feel a greater sense of ownership and connection over the kitchen garden now that it is up and running. Providing greater social connection and food choice through the kitchen garden project is just one example of the power of person-centred care within aged care.

  • Winner

    Mental Health: Hospital in the Home
    Barwon Health 

    In response to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System and the need to develop innovative, person-centred models of care, Barwon Health’s Mental Health Hospital in the Home is allowing more people to receive mental health care and treatment within their own home. After one year of operating, 178 consumers had received care in the home, preventing up to 1780 days of hospital-based admission. Not only have carers said they feel more involved in the care of their family member, consumers have reported a great sense of empowerment and feel more hopeful about their future recovery. It is also giving Barwon Health greater capacity to respond to increased demand for mental health services from what is a growing community.

    Finalist (highly commended)

    The Autism Project
    Barwon Health – Adult Autism Consultation and Evaluation service   

    The Adult Autism Consultation and Evaluation service, as part of the larger Mindful: Autism Assessment Capability and Capacity project, has paved the way for specialist neuro-diverse services within public mental health services by supporting Area Mental Health Services (AMHS) to increase its capacity to support autistic adults. Autistic consumers have unique mental health needs and benefit from tailored mental health care, and the objectives of this project were designed to improve mental health outcomes of autistic consumers by targeting workforce capacity, service delivery and service experience. These objectives were achieved through the concurrent offering of workforce capacity-building opportunities and specialist assessment and intervention that has helped improve uptake and support for the program. The project enabled six Victorian AMHSs to recruit an adult autism specialist clinician with the aim of upskilling the mental health workforce to identify autism and adapt interventions to better serve the neuro-diverse consumer group.

    Finalist

    Grampians Health's Rural outreach program
    Grampians Health   

    Acknowledging the impact that remoteness can have on its community, Grampians Health established the Rural Outreach program to address growing mental health presentations, increase community resilience through preventive care, and decrease associated stigma through education. Rural Outreach team members are from diverse backgrounds with varied lived experiences and work with a range of partners so they can ensure culturally appropriate care and deliver a nuanced, tailored response to individual client needs. Covering 28,000 square kilometres and four local government areas, the state-funded program offers a range of care and treatment options, including telehealth and face-to-face appointments. In its first year of operation, the program supported close to 1000 clients and has contributed to a better understanding within the local community of the importance of maintaining good mental health.


     

  • Winner

    Young people's cervical cancer screening campaign
    Cancer Council Victoria 

    Cancer Council Australia is helping Victoria eliminate cervical cancer in the state by 2030 through the Young People’s Cervical Cancer Screening Campaign. The campaign drove engagement with under-screened groups such as young women and people with a cervix aged 25–34 to increase participation in the National Cervical Screening Program. Using social media and radio to reach its audience, the campaign addressed barriers of fear and embarrassment for young women while providing information about cervical cancer. The campaign achieved excellent reach, with surveyed respondents reporting improved understanding and an increase in screenings following the campaign.

  • Winner

    Connected, caring and culturally safe
    Western Health 

    Western Health's innovative Aboriginal Outpatient Clinic has boosted outpatient appointment attendance at Western Health from 65 per cent to almost 88 per cent since its new care model was introduced. Western Health used data from Aboriginal patients and carers and healthcare professionals working with the community, as well as input from its Aboriginal Health Steering Committee to develop the culturally sensitive and responsive service. Commencing in mid-2021 and running weekly out of Sunshine Hospital, the new clinic is providing tailored care, offering emotional and cultural supports, improving appointment scheduling and reducing wait times, and providing transport assistance such as taxi vouchers and free parking.

    Finalist (highly commended)

    First Nations Dermatology Clinic
    Melbourne Health  

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations have a high burden of skin disease which, if left untreated, can result in long-term health conditions. In response to this, the Royal Melbourne Hospital established the First Nations Dermatology Clinic. Developed and staffed by Aboriginal clinicians, the service not only provides culturally safe care to patients with in-person and telehealth services, but helps to educate and upskill clinicians. The RMH Dermatology team identified that First Nations patients had variable, and often poor experiences with outpatient dermatology clinics – of the 550 dermatologists practising in Australia, only four identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Since opening in 2021, the clinic has cared for more than 100 patients. Due to popular demand, it has expanded to include communities in New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.

    Finalist

    Possum skin cloaks
    Goulburn Valley Health 

    The community project ‘Wrapped in Culture, with Love’ in 2021 saw the gifting of two possum skin cloaks to the Goulburn Valley Health oncology department. Possum skin cloaks were once an everyday item for Aboriginal people in south-eastern Australia. These cloaks were worn for warmth, used as baby carriers, coverings at night, drums in ceremony and for burial. Incised and painted with ochre, possum skin cloaks also mapped the identity of their owner, holding stories of clan and Country. Possum skin cloaks provide spiritual protection and comfort when embarking on a significant health journey such as fighting cancer. Planned and co-ordinated by Yorta Yorta woman and breast cancer survivor Leah Lindrea-Morrison, the cloaks were gifted on Closing the Gap day in 2021 to Goulburn Valley Health’s Peter Copulos Cancer and Wellness Centre for use by Aboriginal patients receiving cancer treatment.

  • Winner

    A stepped care approach to development care
    The Royal Children’s Hospital

    Over the past two decades, data has consistently shown that one in five Australian children begin school with a developmental vulnerability. The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) investigated how it could address barriers preventing families from accessing developmental care and developed the Stepped Care model. The initiative was co-designed with key RCH departments offering developmental care, aiming to deliver a consistent mechanism of triage to ensure children would be seen by the right person in the right place at the right time. The model also aims to educate and empower families and referrers to access other community developmental services, ensuring that time on a waiting list is not wasted time. Stepped Care is effective, adaptable, and cost effective, and in just 18 months has assisted 4,499 children, young people and families in accessing the most appropriate care.

    Finalists

    Monash Women's COVID streaming hospital for obstetric services
    Monash Health  

    As the COVID-19 Delta wave spread in mid-2021, Monash Health developed a world-first centre of excellence for COVID-19 in pregnancy, providing expert multidisciplinary care, including intensive care for mothers and their babies. The outcomes achieved in this program were exceptional: no maternal mortality, a low rate of invasive ventilation and a very low rate of perinatal loss (1.5 per cent). The measures implemented were used to inform the development of guidelines used nationally. Working with Safer Care Victoria’s Maternity Expert Working Group, Monash Health developed detailed transfer and clinical guidelines for COVID-positive pregnant women, which provided pathways for safe emergency transfer and admission of pregnant women with COVID-19 across Victoria to be cared for by experts under a world-first interdisciplinary model. 


    Providing essential, engaging and accessible communications and health messages to families
    The Royal Children’s Hospital  

    The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) has a long history of caring for Victoria’s sickest children while also working to improve paediatric care everywhere. It is a trusted and evidence-based source of information and education for families, health professionals and researchers. Over the past year, the RCH worked closely with world-renowned health professionals, drawing on their extensive expertise to create compelling communications and content for families and children. Information, tips and tools were shared through a diverse range of channels to help empower and guide families through what they needed to know and answer any queries they had. To ensure the RCH supported families from diverse backgrounds, vital information and resources were translated into various languages including Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Punjabi, Somali and Vietnamese. Across all social channels, the RCH reached over 26 million people with its health information posts and its website received over 26.9 million page views.

Premier's Health Service of the Year Awards

  • Winner

    The Queen Elizabeth Centre

    The Queen Elizabeth Centre’s (QEC) Early Parenting Services offer programs for families with children from birth up to the age of four, supporting families on a range of challenges – from sleeping and feeding, to mental health and family violence. QEC supports 3000 families every year with a workforce that comes from a range of professions: nursing, social work, psychology, early parenting, child development. QEC works closely with families with home visits for the first 12 weeks, to ensure that the environment is welcoming and that parents and children learn at the pace they want to learn. Some of QEC’s collaborative programs include partnerships with the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, Ramahyuck Wanjana Lidj Family Service, and local government maternal and child health referral pathways.

    Finalists

    Alpine Health 

    Alpine Health (AH) is a multi-purpose service located in Alpine Shire, at the heart of Victoria's high country and ski fields in northeast Victoria. AH services approximately 12,700 people, with a median age of 49 years; the Alpine Shire population is older and growing older than the rest of regional Victoria. More than 380 staff and 265 volunteers provide acute health, residential aged care, community home support, early intervention and health promotion, and education and training. AH believes the best community health is served through local, decentralised service models, and that this creates better experiences for patients and consumers. Some key projects for AH include partnering with local GPs to provide COVID-19 testing capacity across the region, collaborating with the Local Public Health Unit to provide vaccination sub hubs, and the Roll Up for our Region campaign.

    South Gippsland Hospital 

    South Gippsland Hospital (SGH) is a small rural health service of 164 staff. It provides acute and community care to residents and visitors to the Corner Inlet region, which has an estimated permanent population of 7000. Person-centred care underpins safe, high-quality healthcare at SGH, and its approach is based on clear purpose, strategy and strong leadership. SGH’s key achievements over the last year include collaboration with Latrobe Regional Hospital to reduce elective surgery waitlists; the introduction and growth of innovative centre, community and home-based respite care; and successful COVID-19 planning and response to meet local, subregional and regional needs. SGH focuses on great outcomes that support the individual needs and choices of patients, clients and staff.

  • Winner

    Latrobe Regional Hospital 

    Latrobe Regional Hospital (LRH) is located 150 km east of Melbourne at Traralgon and is the regional provider of specialist health services in Gippsland. LRH cares for a population of more than 290,000, with a catchment covering about 42,000 square kilometres from Phillip Island to Mallacoota in the far east. Services offered include cardiac care, surgery, medical care, dialysis, emergency care, aged care, obstetrics, allied health, rehabilitation, and pharmacy services. Medical and radiation oncology are offered on site. LRH is the main provider of acute mental health services in Gippsland with inpatient care at the hospital and community mental health teams in the Latrobe Valley, Sale, Bairnsdale, Yarram, Orbost, Warragul and Wonthaggi. LRH is the largest employer in Gippsland with a workforce of 2,450. In the past 12 months, LRH has provided programs including the innovative Call Don’t Fall campaign, a mobile communication triage service, and a stroke medical emergency team.

    Finalists

    East Grampians Health Service 

    East Grampians Health Service (EGHS) is a rural health service that delivers a wide range of services, including inpatient, urgent care, GP-led obstetrics, allied health, residential aged care, home and community based care. There are 564 staff and over 150 volunteers from the local community employed by EGHS. Staff numbers have expanded by 10 per cent over the last three years to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and increased provision of service delivery, including increased surgical capacity, a COVID-19 swab clinic, a community vaccination clinic, COVID-19 screening of staff and visitors, increased presentations through the urgent care centre, preparations for increased throughput through perioperative services, and local clinical services for the Hopkins and Langi Kal Kal Correctional Centres. EGHS is a collaborative, innovative and progressive health service and a leader in safe, high-quality, integrated acute, residential and primary health care to meet the health needs of the community.

    Maryborough District Health Service

    Maryborough District Health Service (MDHS) is a leading rural health service embarking on a program of social capital reform, cultural reform, service enhancement, and physical infrastructure enhancement. MDHS has 475 staff, 3 campuses, a service catchment of 15,000, 94 aged care beds, 30 acute beds, integrated community health, and maintains full accreditation across all clinical areas. The demographic of the region includes an ageing population with enormous socioeconomic/health disadvantage. MDHS provides services including acute care, paediatrics, dialysis, oncology, palliative care both in hospital and community, maternity services and urgent care centre treating 7000 people per year. In the last 12 months, it provided initiatives including a new maternity model of care, a partnership with Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Service, a statewide elective surgery blitz, and a fever clinic conducting PCR and rapid antigen testing.

  • Winner

    Melbourne Health – The Royal Melbourne Hospital

    The Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) is Victoria’s first public hospital, opening its doors as a 10-bed hospital in 1848. Today, RMH is one of the largest healthcare providers in the state and the leading healthcare provider within the eminent Melbourne Biomedical Precinct. The health service provides a comprehensive range of specialist medical, surgical and mental health services, including statewide trauma services and infectious diseases, as well as rehabilitation, aged care, outpatient and community programs. With more than 11,000 employees and 1,350 beds across 32 sites, the RMH has strong partnerships the world-renowned Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, the University of Melbourne, and the West Metro Health Service. Over the past 12 months, the RMH has provided services such as the RMH Flying Squad, RMH@Home and the statewide Palliative Care Advice Service.

    Finalists

    Alfred Health 

    Alfred Health provides care for 700,000 Victorians who live in inner-southern Melbourne with complex, acute or chronic conditions. It has a workforce of 11,000 staff and 323 volunteers across 16 statewide services. The three hospital campuses – The Alfred, Caulfield Hospital and Sandringham Hospital – and community-based clinics provide care spanning life-saving treatments, specialist and rehabilitation care, as well as mental health services for all ages and the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre. Alfred Health serves a diverse community with a large multicultural population and consumers across the range of socioeconomic levels. Alfred’s intensive care unit (ICU) has expanded to become the largest and most acute ICU in the country. Programs delivered this year by Alfred Health include the ICU Nursing Expansion Program, the PPE PPL campaign and the Hotel Support Services program.

    Monash Health 

    Monash Health is Victoria’s largest and most comprehensive public health service. Its workforce of 22,000 people provides safe, high-quality care to 25 per cent of Melbourne’s population across the entire lifespan, from pre-birth to end-of-life. Monash cares for local government areas in Melbourne’s southeast, which includes some of Victoria’s most disadvantaged communities. Its secondary and tertiary catchments span Bayside, the Mornington Peninsula and east to Gippsland. Monash delivers care at over 40 care locations, via telehealth and in people’s communities and homes, offering a full spectrum of health services, research and education. Over the past year, Monash Health has introduced care-focused programs including a high acuity discharge clinic for non-COVID patients, a virtual emergency department (ED) that diverted 75 per cent of patients from the in-person ED, and a COVID-19 infusion clinic that reduced the likelihood of hospitalisation and death by as much as 85 per cent.

  • Winner

    cohealth  

    cohealth is one of Victoria’s largest community health services, with more than 1,200 staff delivering health services from 30 locations across the inner, west and north of Melbourne. It delivers 500,000 health services to Melbourne’s most disadvantaged people and manages the most complex client cohort of any community health agency in Victoria. cohealth provides integrated medical (general practice and medical specialists), nursing, dental, allied health, counselling, alcohol and other drug, mental health and community support services. It delivers outcomes through the social model of health and invests in creating a safe environment for its clients and staff. cohealth has worked with major partners to deliver programs such as COVID Positive Pathways, From Homeless to Home, and Homeless Outreach Mental Health Service.

    Finalists

    EACH 

    EACH is a community-based health and wellbeing service in Melbourne’s east and south, which delivers more than 170 programs across medical, allied health, dental, disability, aged care, and mental health recovery services. EACH has a workforce of 1,750 staff and 60 volunteers and uses the social model of health to deliver services to its consumers of hidden disadvantage and complex needs. EACH launched its strategic plan ‘Health. Hope. Opportunity.’ in 2021, and some of its recent initiatives include providing critical surge capacity to the health system by rapidly scaling up to deliver more than $31 million of COVID-19 services and boosting its telehealth-based service delivery. EACH was a community health participant in the Smile Squad program, helped promote mental health care outside hospital via the Early Intervention Psychosocial Response program, and was also an early community health participant in the now-statewide COVID Positive Pathways program.

    Merri Health 

    Merri Health is one of Victoria’s largest not-for-profit community health organisations. It provides over 70 health and wellbeing services across child and aged care, disability, allied health, mental health, dental, chronic conditions and population health to support people at every age and stage of life. Merri Health manages 430 staff and 45 volunteers across 10 sites, delivering responsive integrated services in ways that meet community needs. It has recently expanded programs to regional Victoria while still servicing the Moreland area, and is now a statewide provider of carer services. Some of Merri Health’s recent initiatives include delivering over 4700 COVID-19 vaccinations at a pop-up hub, setting up the High-Risk Accommodation Response (HRAR) team to support COVID-19 safety in high-risk, high-density community accommodation, and launching Kinder Partnerships, Homelessness to a Home, and Merri Mates disability volunteer services.

Volunteer Awards

  • Winner

    Bruce Young
    Solve-TAD 

    Bruce has been a technical volunteer with the Melbourne branch of Solve-TAD since 2004, designing, making and modifying equipment for clients living with a disability. A retired mechanic, Bruce is an ‘everything’ handyman who creates highly complex projects for his clients, alongside an occupational therapist, to promote their independence and quality of life. Bruce ensures every project is highly customised, working with the client from day one to ensure it fits their exact specifications – his projects have included wheelchairs, kitchen aids, fishing rods, garden beds, ramps and many more. The ‘go-to’ volunteer when a project is very complicated, Bruce loves volunteering as it keeps his mind active and brings a convenience and ease to his clients’ lives.

    Finalist

    Amanda Mandie OAM
    Koala Kids Foundation   

    Amanda (Mandy) Mandie OAM is the founder and full-time volunteer executive director of children's cancer charity Koala Kids Foundation, which provides support and activities to children with cancer and their families – the small things that make a difference to their treatment journey. In just the last 18 months, Mandy has delivered exciting and valued programs to more than 1,700 children and young people undergoing cancer treatment, including fun activities, meal deliveries, birthday cakes and parties. Mandy ensured these programs continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – when hospitals restricted visitors, Mandy ensured activities were delivered to children by the healthcare teams; when larger fundraising events were not permitted, Mandy pivoted to private catered lunches. Mandy has made a huge difference to the lives of many families going through the traumatic cancer journey.

  • Inductee

    Dorothy Davis
    South West Healthcare  

    Dorothy is an 83-year-old volunteer at South West Healthcare. She is the health service’s longest standing volunteer, having delivered Meals on Wheels to the Camperdown community for 57 years. Dorothy found time in her busy life to volunteer, with seven children of her own and running a beef cattle farm with her husband. As well as Meals on Wheels, she has assisted with transporting patients for medical appointments, and for many years, she read newspapers on recorded tapes that were distributed to people with low vision. She has helped countless people stay connected, independent and living in their own homes for as long as possible. Dorothy’s genuine, thoughtful and caring manner as a volunteer has brought sunshine to her community for nearly six decades – her clients look forward to Dorothy’s friendship and chats as much as her meal deliveries. She has made a deep and profound difference to thousands of lives.

Reviewed 17 October 2022

Health.vic

Contact details

Victorian Public Healthcare Awards Awards Secretariat

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