Austin takes the cake at major health awards
A four million dollar turnaround in the fortunes of Austin Health has helped deliver a $1 million surplus and an award as the State’s top metropolitan health service. Premier Steve Bracks said a series of innovative business practices and excellent patient care programs also secured Austin Health the Premier’s award for Metropolitan health service of the year at last night’s annual Victorian Public Healthcare Awards in Melbourne. “Austin Health has made a remarkable contribution to metropolitan health care and has had an equally remarkable turnaround in improving financial and patient access targets in the past year,” Mr Bracks said. “One huge improvement came in the number of patients waiting more than 24-hours in emergency, which improved by 94 per cent from 176 in 2004-05 to just 10 patients in 2005-06. “And Austin Health has given 1500 patients their surgery this year, cutting the elective surgery waiting list from 2441 in 2005 to 1874. “Austin Health has a strong culture of innovation and excellence across all services, highlighted by its Psychiatric Nursing Development and Education Centre (PNDEC) and its Infectious Diseases Electronic Antibiotic Advice and Approval System (IDEAS).” Mr Bracks said PNDEC had been crucial to the professional development of mental health staff while IDEAS has improved the prescription of antibiotics in hospitals. “The outstanding performance by Austin Health this year is reflected by it’s strong showing tonight, also winning the categories of Excellence in continuity of care and Excellence in consumer and carer participation,” Mr Bracks said. “Austin Health had an outstanding night, also winning the categories of Excellence in continuity of care for a diabetes program and Excellence in consumer and carer participation for its aged care work. Austin Health – which includes the Austin Hospital, Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital and the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre – was also highly commended in three other categories including the Minister for Health’s team and individual awards. Ms Pike said the 2006 Victorian Public Healthcare Awards showcased an outstanding range of programs and initiatives highlighting Victoria’s world-class hospital and health system. “The quality of entrants for this annual award event set the bar at a new level this year, with many deserving entries unable to be recognised, really emphasising the strength of the Victorian public health system,” she said.