Getting better all the time

Professor Sue O’Neill
Professor Sue O’Neill

ALBURY Wodonga Health’s new boss wants “the best of care” for Border residents by fostering an environment of continuous improvement.

Adjunct Professor Sue O’Neill’s appointment was announced yesterday by board of directors’ chairman Ulf Ericson.

She comes to the job from Melbourne, where she has been the executive director of nursing at Cabrini Health.

Professor O’Neill will take over from Dr Stuart Spring in about three months.

Professor O’Neill said her strong philosophy was to “always respect people”.

“I have wanted to be in a position where I can lead an organisation that wants to give the best of care,” she said.

Professor O’Neill said that fitted with Albury Wodonga Health’s goals.

“The focus for Albury Wodonga Health has really been on the whole-of-patient experience,” she said.

“It’s not only interested in the two major hospitals but in the community, in sub-acute care, whether someone has just been born or is dying — it takes on all of the ages.

“I’ve worked during my career as a nurse and as an executive director to build those skills.

“I think we’ve come together at the right time, so it felt right.”

Professor O’Neill said she and her husband, Michael, were keen to become part of the Border community.

Mr Ericson said Professor O’Neill had extensive public health experience and had held senior management roles in South Australia.

That included working as director of acute services at the Flinders Medical Centre and as executive director of nursing, midwifery and redesigning care at the Southern Adelaide Health Service.

“Sue is well known throughout Australian Health Care as a regular keynote speaker on quality and safety in healthcare,” Mr Ericson said.

“We look forward to welcoming Sue as we take the next steps on the path to building one of the finest regional health services in Australia, bringing online the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer and Cardiology Centres, among the many other positive developments.”

Professor O’Neill said the cancer centre was an exciting project, given her extensive clinical and research background in medical oncology.

“It makes it interesting knowing that there’s always a closeness in your heart about your clinical background,” she said.

“The important thing with a comprehensive cancer centre is it is trying to give patients all the pieces of cancer care.”

That included the treatment process and support.

“I just see that as so important, so it’s a fantastic initiative that’s happening,” she said.

“And knowing that once we get the right scanners and the right diagnostic equipment, the medical staff can do their best job.

“That’s what you want the system to be able to do.”