It has been three years since the amalgamation of Hepburn Health Service and Kyneton District Health to become Central Highlands Rural Health.
Board Chair Phillip Thomson reflects on this milestone, the community benefits, and the growing depth of talent across the health service and at the Board level.
After almost nine years of dedicated service, Central Highlands Rural Board Chair Phillip has achieved many things but, he is most proud of his role in positioning the organisation to better serve the communities of the Hepburn and Macedon Ranges shires.
“This is something of which I am incredibly proud," he says, referring to the amalgamation of Hepburn Health Service and Kyneton District Health almost three years ago on 30 November 2019.
He is also full of admiration and praise for the quality, breadth and depth of services delivered across CHRH’s five campuses of Clunes, Creswick, Daylesford, Kyneton and Trentham, and the capacity and capability of staff to keep patients, residents, and clients safe, especially over past two and a half years.
“I know at times the staff have been incredibly tired, but they have shown great resilience and commitment to the health and well-being of their community,” he said.
“And I hope the staff are as proud of themselves as the Board is of them.”
At the time of the amalgamation, Phillip was the Chair of Hepburn Health Service, having served on its Board for six years.
"The growing burden of compliance and the desire to deliver better services to meet the future healthcare needs of our rural growing townships was the impetus for our decision to amalgamate with Kyneton District Health," he said.
Phillip also acknowledged the commitment, contribution, and service of Peter Matthews, the former Kyneton District Health Board Chair at the time of the amalgamation and the immediate past Chair of CHRH.
“We may have very different personalities and leadership styles, but we were united on the strategic direction to deliver the best rural health service possible for our community,” Phillip said.
He said that despite the challenges of the pandemic, the benefits of amalgamation continued with the larger, more flexible organisation able to work closely across the expanded footprint, sharing resources and spreading best practices across programs and sites.
“We’ve also been fortunate to attract grants to continue the redevelopment of our Creswick Aged Care facility and upgrade theatres at Daylesford during this time.
And according to Phillip, the profile and reputation of Central Highlands Rural Health are on the rise.
“As a larger rural health service, offering acute, community health, and aged care services, we readily attract high calibre clinical and non-clinical staff keen to relocate to the Macedon Ranges and Hepburn shires," Phillip said.
"This depth of talent is reflected across the organisation."
CHRH has also recently recruited three new highly skilled Board Directors.
Professor Pauline Stanton, Ms Sally Kirkright, and Ms Louise Johnson were appointed in July and join an illustrious Board comprising Ms Kate Redwood AM, the Hon. Mary Delahunty, Ms Bronwyn Malignaggi, Ms Karen O’Sullivan, Mr Ken Gray, Professor Alexander Heriot, and Professor Jeffrey Zajac.
Louise Johnson has over 20 years of executive and board-level experience across the government and not-for-profit sectors in the health sector.
Before joining the CHRH Board, Louise was the CEO of the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority, with extensive governance, regulatory, public education, communication and service delivery experience.
She is a current Member of the Embryo Research Licensing Committee with the National Health and Medical Research Council, a Community Member of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine’s Council of Advocacy, Practice and Partnerships, and a Panel Member on the Victorian Government’s Patient Review Panel.
Louise is also a previous member of the Victorian Board of the Medical Board of Australia and the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia and Chair and Board Member of Women’s Health Victoria.
A graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Louise was one of 25 women awarded by Women’s Health Victoria in 2019 as a Champion for Women in recognition of her board and executive work.
Moving to Hepburn Springs in 2021, Louise has become involved with local community groups such as Hepburn Matters, is learning the French Horn and establishing a vegetable garden.
Sally Kirkright is a passionate and commercial senior executive (C-suite) and Non-Executive Director with experience gained within the banking and finance, sports, mental health and wellbeing, family and social services industries.
Skilled in Strategic Development and Implementation, Leadership, Business and Digital Business Transformation, Acquisitions and Growth, Financial Management, Risk Management, and Corporate Governance, Sally has is passionate about helping people to be their best through learning and growth and an aspiration to create thriving cultures in the workplace and boardroom.
Sally has a Bachelor’s Degree (Honours) in Banking and Finance, a Graduate Diploma in Psychology from Monash University, and a Diploma in Financial Planning (Deakin University), and is a Graduate of the AICD.
She is currently a Non-Executive Director with CatholicCare Victoria and a member of the Audit and Risk Committee, and she provides coaching for aspiring leaders.
Sally lives in Kyneton and enjoys golf, yoga, reading, nature, and walks with her Border Collie and calls herself a gardening novice.
Pauline Stanton has a Bachelor of Economics and Social Science from the University of Manchester, a Masters of Employment Studies from the University of Salford and a PhD from La Trobe University. She is also a graduate of the AICD program.
Pauline has 28 years of experience in higher education in Australia and has held leadership positions, including Dean, Deputy Dean, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor Business International, and Head of School in business faculties at RMIT, La Trobe University and Victoria University.
She has taught, researched and consulted with public and private organisations in Australia, China, Mongolia, Singapore and Vietnam. She has published extensively on human resource management and industrial relations with a particular focus on healthcare. She has also had the privilege of working with
First Nations academics on research relating to both economic and political self -determination. She is currently Co-Editor in Chief for Personnel Review, an international human resource management journal.
She has been a board member of Women’s Health Victoria, Strange Fruit Productions and Black Hole theatre and was a member of the Member of Expert Panel Revalidation of Medical Practitioners, Medical Board of Australia 2017-2018.
Pauline has lived in Kyneton since 2013 and has two dogs and two horses. She enjoys riding her horse, doing yoga and catching up with friends.
“Serving on this Board with such esteemed Directors, and now as Chair, has had many rewards,” Phillip said.
“At the end of the day, we are all motivated by giving back to the community and keeping people safe.”
A Daylesford resident for 25 years, Phillip and his wife, Sharee, relocated to Kyneton in late 2020.
When he’s not out walking their pet Schnoodle, Paddy, Phillip enjoys riding his motorcycle along country roads, travelling, cooking, entertaining friends, and catching up with the locals at the Kyneton Hotel.
For more information
Central Highlands Rural Health Communications Manager
0448 505 517