Evolving vision for regional health
GV Health Chief Executive Matt Sharp explains the plan for GV Health in 2019 and beyond.
“The really nice thing about returning to the Goulburn Valley region is the longstanding family connections we have in and around Shepparton,” said Mr Sharp, who started at GV Health in the interim Chief Executive (CE) role in June last year. “I grew up just out of Wangaratta, so am reasonably familiar with the northern Victoria region.”
Mr Sharp was formally appointed to the position of Chief Executive last October.
Prior to arriving at GV Health, the husband and father of two, who is a keen cyclist, had packed plenty of health service experience into his career to date.
“I had over four years as an Executive Director overseeing Clinical Operations at Eastern Health in Melbourne,” said Mr Sharp. “Prior to that I was the CEO at Rochester and Elmore District Health Service for three years, and for one year before that in a Clinical Operations role.”
Over the Christmas and New Year period Mr Sharp and his family relocated to Shepparton where they have spent the break settling in to the community they all now call home.
Mr Sharp and his family lived in Echuca for nine years before moving to Melbourne, where he had an Executive role at Echuca Regional Health for five years, and said that he is happy to be reminded of the differences between regional and metropolitan health services now that he’s back in a country setting.
“You don’t quite have the same level of connection in the metro health services,” he said. “There’s a really close relationship with the community across all of the GV Health sites, whether it’s Tatura, Rushworth or Shepparton. That sense of pride and ownership the local communities have with their health services has been very refreshing to me.”
Mr Sharp said he is pleased to have taken the reins with a committed group of staff in all positions who are passionate and proud of GV Health and the services it provides.
“We provide a really broad range of services to the community, from antenatal, maternity and birthing services to end of life care,” he said. “One of GV Health’s real strengths is our integrated health services, including community and mental health, and we plan on building on those into the future.”
Mr Sharp concedes that there are areas in which GV Health can improve. In recognition, GV Health’s Strategic Plan will be released in the first quarter of 2019 and he said he is looking forward to sharing this with staff, volunteers and the community more widely.
“At its essence our plan is to keep our focus on improving community wellbeing,” said Mr Sharp. “We’re going to do that by providing higher quality health care services and focusing on better outcomes for patients. Patients and their loved ones will be at the centre of everything we do.”
Mr Sharp said GV Health will continue to focus on its CREATE values while building on its culture and working in partnership with patients, their families, across all staff groups and other regional healthcare organisations.
‘CREATE. Outstanding. ‘is a key slogan that will become well known as GV Health strives to be outstanding in every way. CREATE is an acronym standing for Compassion, Respect, Excellence, Accountability, Teamwork and Ethical Behaviour and represents the daily working culture adopted by all GV Health staff.
An organisation’s culture is key to the wellbeing of its staff and patients. This year, Mr Sharp said GV Health has committed to building its culture and incorporating organisational systems designed to improve patient experience.
“For example, this would enable a patient in the Emergency Department (ED) to be seen more quickly and be admitted or discharged home if possible,” he said. “For patients in a hospital bed, we want to help them get well and return home as quickly as possible.”
“We sometimes don’t get the quality patient experiences and outcomes we’d like to see,” he said. “Those are challenges that we’re working very hard to improve. We’ll continue to excel at what we do well and there are many things we do well. But we’re also looking for opportunities to improve as we evolve into a larger regional health service.” The Shepparton Hospital redevelopment project is another key focus for Mr Sharp. “We’re on track, working hard and progressing to plan,” he said. “The Rushworth redevelopment is due to be complete in April – everything, including residential Aged Care and acute services and GP services will now be in one place, which is terrific for the community.”
Stage One of the Shepparton redevelopment accounts for around 50 per cent of the overall infrastructure upgrades needed at the Graham Street site. Mr Sharp said that Stage Two is currently in the Master Planning stage and due to be completed in coming months. The focus of this stage will be working with the state government and local stakeholders on expanding the range of community, mental health and hospital services. In particular, expanding the cancer services that GV Health provides in Shepparton for people in the Goulburn Valley including radiotherapy is a priority.
“We’re really focused on expanding and bringing those services to Shepparton, as at the moment people need to travel to Bendigo, Melbourne or sometimes Albury, depending on where they live,” said Mr Sharp.
With increased capacity in the ED, dialysis, theatre and wards to occur in the next 12-18 months as the current redevelopment progresses, Mr Sharp said there will be significant growth in the hospital’s workforce.
“We’re going to be growing our clinical workforce - our nursing, medical and allied health staff, but also our support services, cleaning and catering staff as well,” he said.
GV Health is currently projecting future workforce requirements, focusing on the range of people and qualifications that will be needed to staff the health services. These are anticipated to grow in the order of 50 per cent in size and capacity in terms of services provided.
Mr Sharp said that GV Health’s Strategic Plan provides a platform that will allow the service to move into the 2020s and beyond.
“We’ll continue to go from strength to strength,” he said. “It’s a really positive time for GV Health. It’s important to acknowledge that we can do better, and we’re working hard to improve as quickly as we can, but we also have to remember that we already have many great people here doing wonderful things which we really value.”
Visit jobs.gvhealth.org.au to register your interest in a current or future role at GV Health.