Redevelopment creates hundreds of jobs
Published at: 06 Dec 2019
WITH GOULBURN VALLEY HEALTH’S CURRENT REDEVELOPMENT TAKING PLACE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE MATT SHARP HAS HIGHLIGHTED WORKFORCE PROJECTIONS FOR THE HEALTH SERVICE, NOTING CURRENT AND FUTURE CHALLENGES IN RECRUITING AND RETAINING STAFF.
GV Health's huge redevelopment will result in up to an additional 450 staff at the health service.
GV Health Chief Executive Matt Sharp, said GV Health currently employed around 2500 people and during the two to three-year window following the completion of Stage 1, the workforce would need to grow considerably.
“They’ll be a mixture of nursing and midwifery roles, medical positions and allied health roles; but other positions will also be available in terms of support services such as food services and cleaning,” Mr Sharp said
“In terms of nursing staff, we’re projecting approximately 200-220, allied health would be approximately 40-50, doctors will be approximately 50 and the balance will be made up of support staff.”
Mr Sharp said there were already staffing pressures, however, they were not just isolated to GV Health, but rather the entire region.
He said there were 80 full-time equivalent positions at GV Health that were not filled on a permanent basis.
“What that means is that we’re relying on locum doctors, locum allied health professionals, agency nurses as well as all our existing staff working overtime or extra shifts to be able to provide the services that we do,” Mr Sharp said.
“Most of the services where we have those vacancies, and the reason why we have to use temporary staff is because they're services where we do not have the discretion to not operate.
“Unfortunately that’s the situation we’re faced with at the moment.”
Mr Sharp said this resulted in an increased cost base for GV Health.
He highlighted the fact it had cost $6 million more than paying permanent staff for these roles each year for the past two years.
“Moving forward we can’t sustain that as a health service,” Mr Sharp said.
“So, at the moment, it's such a priority for us as we would very much rather spend that money on expanding services in other areas.
“It’s a priority right now, in terms of the services that we already provide primarily here at the Graham St site; but as we become a larger health service it's going to become more of an issue as new services commence.”
REDEVELOPMENT RAMPING UP IN 2020
After services began in the new dialysis unit last month, Mr Sharp said GV Health had already recruited all staff needed for the ward.
He noted the next building to be completed in the Stage 1 redevelopment would be the new emergency department.
Services are expected to start operating at the end of February next year with the current ED then being closed for refurbishment.
Mr Sharp said it was expected that services would start moving into the larger inpatient building in June or July next year.
“There's a series of other moves (that) need to happen following this," he said.
Mr Sharp said the current surgical ward would relocate from its location into the new tower.
“During the next 12 months we’ll be refurbishing our theatre suite,” he said, noting that the current theatre suite would be integrated into Level 1 of the new building which will house new theatres.
“That will require some careful work so we can continue those essential services in theatre while we integrate the new facilities."
The new paediatric unit is being constructed above the new ED building and the current surgical ward will become a special care nursery.
“The current maternity and birthing areas will be integrated with the special care nursery, which will then fl ow onto the new paediatric ward," he said.
“In regard to the current paediatric ward, we’re not 100 per cent sure what we’ll use that for in the longer term; in the meantime, once the current ward has moved to its new location, we'll be using that for decanting current services on a temporary basis."
RECRUITMENT PROJECTS UNDERWAY
Executive Director People & Culture, Stacey Weeks said in order to recruit the current and future positions needed there were some key projects under way.
“In terms of the current workforce issues there are short, medium and long-term initiatives being worked on,” she said.
“Last week we advertised for a talent acquisition manager and we’re hoping to appoint someone to that role as soon as possible.
“Their role is really going to be driving a lot of the things we need to do in regard to recruiting as many people as we can now and then retaining them into the future.”
Ms Weeks said there would be internal changes made to streamline the process for applicants as well as managers recruiting staff for positions.
“In addition to some of the more traditional ways we advertise, such as print media, we’re doing more and more things in terms of other social media platforms,” she said, and added that these were also being used to promote the good work at GV Health.
In lieu of paying high locum labour costs, Ms Weeks said GV Health looked to provide recruitment and retention incentives to prospective staff.
She said that a number of strategies have been identified to support people relocating to the region.
“In addition to doing some of those things within the region, state and the country, there’s no doubt we’ve got to go overseas,” Ms Weeks said, adding that they would begin looking in countries such as the UK and New Zealand next year.
Ms Weeks said they had also strengthened their relationship with local schools, training providers and universities.
“We’re working really hard to improve the way we work with the schools about career opportunities for young people and even the Vocational Education and Training in schools (VETiS) Program,” she said.
"It's not only clinical roles we're going to need, either.
“We've just advertised three gap year programs for young people finishing Year 12 — one Allied Health Assistant, one Health Assistant in Nursing and a health administration role as well.”
Mr Sharp said while it was in its early stages, there were plans afoot in conjunction with La Trobe University and GOTAFE to create a Clinical School for Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health where GV Health could provide postgraduate training. This will compliment medical training programs led by the University of Melbourne.
There is also work being done by GV Health staff members to help new staff transition into community life in the Goulburn Valley.
“When people start a new job, we know it’s not just about the job,” Ms Weeks said.
“We want to help people to settle into the community, whatever their interests might be… so they can build their social and community networks as well.”
Taking a broad approach, Mr Sharp said GV Health had also been working closely with the Committee for Greater Shepparton and Greater Shepparton City Council.
“Our challenges in regard to recruitment and retention of staff is not just isolated to GV Health; it's the same for a number of other professional organisations and industries," he said.
“Our role is also supporting the work of COGS and the council to improve the infrastructure and amenity of the Goulburn Valley region as a place to live.
“We’re really clear on what our current issues are and what our projected workforce needs are and we’ve been putting together a number of initiatives
to address those areas; in the next 12 months it’s going to be all about implementing those initiatives.”