The Way We Were - 1992
Anne McCamish, who was Mayor of Shepparton from 2003-2005, joined the Goulburn Valley Base Hospital (GVBH) Board in 1992.
“I was working as the Education and Information Officer at the Centre Against Sexual Assault,” she said. “I’d always had an interest in health issues, so it seemed perfectly natural to move onto the hospital Board.”
At the time, Ms McCamish had served on the school councils at Mooroopna Secondary College and at Goulburn Valley Grammar School.
“I knew how meetings worked, and felt I was as qualified as anyone else, so I accepted the position,” she said.
The early 1990s were difficult times for GVBH.
“The financial situation was stressful during the Kennett years,” she said.
“Previous experience with financial difficulties told me it wasn’t the end of the world, though. If you could hang on, you’d come up with ways and means of making it through.”
Then, as now, the hospital had a range of building programs on the go.
“Graham Hill (see December 28, 2018 feature) was the chair of the building committee,” said Ms McCamish. “I think that was around the time we began the building that houses the Emergency Department, which even when completed wasn’t really adequate to our needs.”
As is often the case, it was a matter of making do when it came to funding priorities.
“Sadly the government of the time was pretty tight,” she said. “We had previously been promised significantly more than we got.”
Ms McCamish became Chair of the GVBH Board at the turn of the millennium.
“A lot of really good initiatives were happening – we introduced a Koori grieving room, and I think the Birthing Unit was put in place during those times,” she said. “It’s a while ago now – 20 years!”
One of the big issues of Ms McCamish’s tenure with the hospital was the training of new nurses.
“The Mooroopna Base Hospital closed as a nursing school around the same time as the government made nursing a university degree,” she said. “LaTrobe University won the right to teach the nursing course.”
Unfortunately, there was no local facility for training, which was an issue that needed to be corrected quickly.
“The Board was very anxious about that, as we needed a constant supply of nurses,” she said. “The late Simon Furphy came up with the idea of running our own program at the hospital.”
The Shepparton Campus of LaTrobe’s health department was established after extended discussions with the Howard Government. Ms McCamish left the GVBH Board when she became Mayor in 2003.
“The new campus occupied a lot of my time as mayor,” she said. “We wanted it to be a really great building, and it is. It’s attracted a lot of great health professionals to town, and does to this day.”
As for the current redevelopment at Graham Street?
“We simply have to have a bigger hospital,” said Ms McCamish. “We have a growing community with diverse needs. There are lots of refugees, migrants and new people here who need top quality healthcare, which is what they get at GV Health!”
Press play on the video in the banner to watch Anne McCamish discuss her time at GV Health.