Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service has released its 2020-2021 Annual Report.
It said it was another positive year with the launch of new services and innovations and planned for future infrastructure.
The achievements, detailed in the WBHHS Annual Report 2020-2021, tabled in Parliament this week, were delivered within the constantly evolving health landscape due to the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 and the unprecedented growth in demand for health care.
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board Chair Peta Jamieson praised WBHHS leadership and staff for their resilience amid the pandemic and for their ongoing collaboration, determination and focus.
“While COVID-19 and an increased demand for health care continue to present challenges, they’ve also brought to the forefront the best qualities of our health service, especially our people,” Ms Jamieson said.
“These achievements would not have been possible without our everyday health heroes and their relentless pursuit to deliver patient-centered, high-quality health care for Wide Bay.
“The annual report highlights the thorough planning and exceptional dedication of our staff and leadership who have been working harder than ever to keep our communities safe and well.
“On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Debbie Carroll, our Chief Executive, for her values-based leadership style and successfully navigating through significant issues to ensure high standards of excellence were achieved under exceptionally challenging circumstances.”
Ms Jamieson said the report also illustrated the many ways in which WBHHS continued to meet the vision of our strategic plan, Care Comes First… Through Patients’ Eyes.
“During the 2020-2021 period, significant progress was made towards the detailed business case for a new hospital in Bundaberg, including the Premier’s announcement of the preferred site,” she said.
Other Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service achievements in 2020-2021:
• increased access for our public patients to cutting-edge radiation therapy treatments and techniques, thanks to our ongoing partnership with GenesisCare Bundaberg and the arrival of a world-class radiation therapy treatment machine. Local cancer patients also have access to other new therapies thanks to our involvement in a range of ground-breaking clinical trials
• delivering the first full year of our Queensland-first Mental Health Hospital in the Home program, providing four virtual beds offering home-based care as an alternative to inpatient admission
• upgrading infrastructure, including but not limited to, switchboard upgrades at Hervey Bay Hospital, roof replacement and repair work at Maryborough Hospital, chiller replacements at Bundaberg Hospital and refurbishment of the Eidsvold Multipurpose Health Service emergency department
• a continued surge in telehealth making it possible for more patients to access care closer to home
• having our WBHHS frontline healthcare workers among the first people in regional Queensland to be given the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine thanks to a significant coordination effort at all levels
• the seventh consecutive year of meeting all elective surgery targets.
WBHHS Chief Executive Debbie Carroll said 2020-2021 had been a year of collaboration, working with staff, colleagues across the sector, local partners and the community.
“To say I am incredibly proud of how our leadership, staff, partners and community have continued to come together to respond COVID-19 and growth in demand is truly an understatement,” Ms Carroll said.
“Throughout this period, our COVID-19 response shifted to vaccination which required an extraordinary planning, preparation and resource effort to staff our fixed and pop-up clinics and our vaccination van to protect our communities against the impacts of COVID-19.
“We also experienced increased demand for acute services, at a higher rate than predicted for our region, which saw us establish emergency department working groups to improve models of care and us partner with private providers, as needed, to address capacity pressures and ensure quality care.
“As always, we remain committed and determined to improving wait times and performance times, with a particular focus on our emergency and specialist outpatient departments.”
Financially, WBHHS finished the 2020-2021 year with a $3.1 million operating surplus, a significant contrast with the $7.6 million operating deficit reported for the previous financial year.
“This is thanks to the ongoing implementation of our sustainability plan which focuses on what we can do better and planning for sustainable service improvements into the future,” Ms Carroll said.
“We are working continually to transform and optimise our services and develop financial sustainability plans, without compromising on quality of care.
“Looking ahead, we’re developing a new health service plan which will evaluate the planning options for WBHHS through increased understanding of community health needs, what this means as the population grows, and prioritising future service and infrastructure needs.
“We’ve also started an exciting body of work to co-design our new four-year strategic plan and are looking forward to engaging and seeking feedback from the community early next year.”
The full report can be viewed here.