Ramsay Health Care Australia have appointed their first female CEO, but for Carmel Monaghan it’s not about breaking through the glass ceiling.
In fact, the keen runner and mother of two said there was nothing to break through at all.
“Healthcare is a fairly female orientated industry,” she said.
“We have a large number of female leaders, so I’ve never felt like I was in a boys club. I’ve had good mentors and great opportunities to learn from female leaders along the way.
“So, while being the first Australian female CEO for Ramsay is lovely, it’s not something that has ever really driven me in my work.”
Ms Monaghan took over the role from Danny Sims at the beginning of October. She said her focus was on continuing to deliver world-class services, particularly during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“One of the main challenges facing healthcare is delivering our services in new ways and COVID has really accelerated that,” she said.
“We’re moving towards more care in the community and newer models of care, particularly for mental health.
“Australia has an amazing, well-balanced health system that I think needs to be protected.
“We really need to rise up against any suggestion of an American-style managed care system, and at the same time, less private involvement would also not be ideal, because then you run into some of the problems that they have in some European countries.
“We have a great system here, it’s successful – we’re number one or two in the world when it comes to five-year cancer survival rates and that’s because of the access we have here to diagnosis and treatment, it’s world class.”
While 2020 has undoubtedly been challenging, Ms Monaghan said there were a number of positives to come out of the COVID pandemic.
“In the private sector, we now have a better relationship with governments at all levels and that’s been an excellent outcome,” she said.
“We’re looking to deliver more jobs in health care, new innovation including telehealth processes – really, I think COVID has brought us together more.
“For Ramsay, we have been able to protect our patients and our people, no-one has lost their jobs and overall, we’ve really been able to keep it together.”
Ramsay Health Care managing director and CEO, Craig McNally, said Ms Monaghan, who had been with the company since 1998, was the perfect choice for the role.
“Carmel has worked across hospital, corporate and global positions for more than two decades, playing a key role in the company’s successful growth during this time,” Mr McNally said.
“She has extensive experience and a comprehensive understanding of health care operations and strategy, both in Australia and overseas.
“Coming from a marketing and communications background, Carmel has had a strong focus on delivering results through focusing on our customers and developing strong doctor relationships.
“She is a respected leader with the ability to build an experienced and loyal team and her collaborative style and people focused approach is closely aligned with the Ramsay Way. Having worked with our founder, Paul Ramsay, for many years, she has a strong belief in our organisational culture of people caring for people.”
She was also welcomed to the role by Australian Private Hospitals Association CEO Michael Roff.
“We have worked closely with Carmel for many years through her roles at Ramsay and recognise her commitment to the private hospital industry. I’m sure Carmel will make an excellent contribution to the industry and Ramsay Australia in her new role. I look forward to continuing our good work together,” he said.
In the future, Ms Monaghan said she hoped to continue to steer Ramsay to greater success and build on the work that had been so beneficial to healthcare in 2020.
“We hope to be able to have more public contracts, and build on that relationship with governments,” she said.
“Our aim is always to deliver better outcomes, particularly for mental health and those further mental health challenges that are to come as a result of this year. And to progress health in regional areas as well.
“We have a small and growing home care business, we want to grow that – more and more people don’t want to be in a nursing home or in hospital. At the same time we want to ensure we continue to have excellent facilities for cancer and cardiac treatment.”
Outside the office, Ms Monaghan is keen on keeping fit and spending time with her family.
“I’m a runner and a cyclist, I run marathons – although not this year!,” she said.
“I like to get up early and have a run or a cycle to start the day, so I like to exercise and I’m a mother of two children.
“I’m a people person, you know, I just really enjoy talking to people and I want to continue to drive home that Ramsay Way culture and deliver that to all our people.”