Southern Highlands Private Hospital – a community success story

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Working in a regional private hospital is something special, says Southern Highlands Private Hospital CEO Jenny Harper.

“It is very much a community hospital. It’s very clear it is ‘their’ private hospital. The community is actively involved in it and they are central to the work we do here,” Ms Harper says.

Ms Harper has been part of making Southern Highlands Private such a community focussed hospital, having joined the staff as it was being built. She celebrated 20 years’ of service along with the hospital’s platinum commemorations recently. The celebrations also marked 34 staff receiving 10, 15 and 20 year service awards, amounting to 575 years in total.

“The community has contributed hugely to the success of the hospital. Generations of families, whether it be as patients, employees, doctors, volunteers or visitors, all have some connection with the hospital,” Ms Harper said.

She joined the hospital team when the building was “just bricks on the ground’’, had to purchase all the office equipment (a fax machine, it was 1996) and fitted out the hospital, adding interior design to her skill set in a career that started with nursing and moved into hospital management.

The success of the hospital has always been its community engagement, she says.

“It’s a lovely thing about a regional hospital. Everything comes from our community. I had never come across that before with a hospital, being a city girl, how much when you live and work in a regional area you become so much more integrated into the community. It’s lovely.”

In the early days, Jenny Harper’s job could entail anything from staff management to a night time call out to refill gas bottles for oxygen. She took it all in her stride.

She says close links with the local public hospital has resulted in better health outcomes for Southern Highlanders.

The hospital has also given back to the community, donating $150,000 over the past three years to the Cancer Trust Fund,

“The money is donated to provide in-home services for terminally-ill patients and to provide respite relief for carers. It is important to give back to our community,” Ms Harper said.

This work has continued after the hospital became part of Ramsay Health Care in 2001.

“They are excellent hospital operators and have always put quality and patients first.

Ramsay has a saying, ‘people caring for people’, and this is very important to us at the Southern Highlands Private Hospital & Cancer Centre- we are people-focused in all ways, be it patients, doctors, our employees, volunteers and the community.” Ms Harper said.

 

Growth of Southern Highlands private:

1996:

  • 60 beds
  • 2 operating theatres
  • 1 hydrotherapy pool
  • 1 gym
  • 7 surgeons
  • 3 anaesthetists
  • 3 physicians,
  • 9 GPs
  • 40 staff

On the first day, four patients came through the doors.

2016:

  • 72 beds,
  • 4 operating theatres
  • 1 procedure room
  • 1 day surgery unit
  • 4 bed high-dependency unit
  • 31 specialist surgeons
  • 14 anaesthetists
  • 7 specialist physicians
  • 24-hour medical cover
  • 255 employees, including an allied health team

 

 

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