New chief brings 'fresh perspective' to Albury Wodonga Health

The new chief executive at Albury Wodonga Health Sue O’Neill ponders her new job outside Albury hospital yesterday. Picture: DAVID THORPE

The new chief executive at Albury Wodonga Health Sue O’Neill ponders her new job outside Albury hospital yesterday. Picture: DAVID THORPE

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THE new chief executive of Albury Wodonga Health says keeping up with the high demand for the Border’s health services will be her number one priority as she takes the helm.

Sue O’Neill began her new role yesterday and is already making plans for improvements to cross border health services.

“One of the key things I will be doing is looking at the information available and looking at the data from a different perspective with fresh eyes,” Mrs O’Neill said.

Although she only arrived in Albury on Friday night, Mrs O’Neill said she had been in contact with the Albury Wodonga Health board and management and felt like she already knew the service well.

“My number one priority is to improve capacity to meet demand,” she said.

“Healthcare has always had financial pressures, so it’s about being diligent in those areas; you’ve really got to understand where things are at and what you can do.”

Mrs O’Neill had been the executive director of nursing at Cabrini Health in Melbourne since 2009.

Prior to that she held several senior management positions in South Australia, including director of acute services at the Flinders Medical Centre and executive director of nursing, midwifery and redesigning care at the Southern Adelaide Health Service.

She said she hoped her move to a regional area would inspire other health professionals to follow.

“A lot of people from the cities are cynical about working in a regional area, but it’s one of those things where you don’t know how good it is until you try it,” she said.

“I’m hoping I can be an advocate for health professionals to move from metro to regional areas.”

Albury Wodonga Health is the first cross border public health service to exist in Australia and was established in 2009.

It has more than 1700 staff and 200 volunteers, all of whom Mrs O’Neill said were of “good calibre and quality”.

She said she hoped to focus on the quality and safety of health services in order to save people from travelling to cities.

“The main difference between the metro and regional environment is that there are other options in metro areas where there aren’t any other places to go in Albury-Wodonga,” she said.

“So what we are trying to do is provide all the services people need so they don’t leave and go to the city for treatment.”

The outgoing inaugural chief executive, Stuart Spring, had held the position with Albury Wodonga Health for the past five years.

He will leave on Friday.

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