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News from Mackay

14 November, 2023
L to R. Vic Camilleri, Fr Raju, Chris Junge, JarredRaffael, Fr Anthony,Kevin McEvoy, and Peter Sheedy

Peter Sheedy our chairman welcomed everyone, the guest speakers, and especially the ladies. Matt distributed the Patron’s Prayer which we recited together.

Rex brought a reflection;    We need Connection.

At Creation, God noticed man was lonely, unfulfilled, and incomplete. “It is not good for the man to be alone,” so He made Eve. None of us can develop our highest potential without nurturing, life-giving relationships. For example, twelve-step recovery programs have the counsellor contributing 10% while the group challenge, comfort and strengthen each other through 90% of the recovery process. The truth is – we’re shaped by people! The right people help you become your best, they cheer you on but also “get in your face” when you ‘drift’.

Scripture calls the highest form of relationship as ‘fellowship of the Spirit’ and it’s much more than social, relational, or intellectual connections. It’s a deep spiritual link that drives us to thrive. God gave David the gift of Jonathan, he gave Naomi the gift of Ruth. God loves us and he has people he would like you to connect with. His gift is a spouse, a friend, or a colleague. Thank God today for connections in your life.

Father Anthony said Grace and dinner was served. Our guest speakers were Chris Junge and Jared Raffael from the Mater Private Hospital Mackay. Graham thanked the ladies for coming to hear about Mackay’s health system and the high-quality care available here and said Chris is the General Manager, experienced in hospital administration and Jared is the Finance Operations Manager and also an experienced chartered accountant.

Chris said he is very impressed with the 440 staff at the Mater where the Patient is the key. QLD’s Mater hospitals were started in Rockhampton by Irish nuns, namely the Sisters of Mercy, and are run on Catholic values and church principles. Both he and Jared find the Mater ethos aligns with their values for a positive future in health care. That said, Chris then stated that there is “no mercy without margin”, so quality administration supports the 3 keys of Patient – People – Community. The goal is for Mackay to love the Mater experience as it fulfills, ‘the right thing to do’.

Chris Junge General Manager Mater Mackay explaining all about the Robotics tool which will benefit The Mater and Mackay

Mater Incorporated has 4 sectors; Health, Mission, Foundation, and Education, and these sectors align to honour and promote the dignity of human life. Mater strives for excellence acting with compassion and integrity inspired by Sister Catherine McAuley’s motto: “Be good today but better tomorrow.” In this fast-paced, changing world, there are many challenges to traditional values but Foundations are vital for progress. The Da Vinci surgical robot is an example where investing in Mackay means surgery is local, not at Brisbane or Townsville and the patient can stay close to family. The guiding principles are; Patient is central, Compassion is essential, Ask the difficult questions, and Embrace change so that at the Mater we, “do the ordinary extraordinarily well!”

The mission is a major pillar to keep Catholic heritage alive at the Mater. With 85% of patients very happy with their experience, the general manager’s focus is on the 15%. Engaging the family of patients is important and our ‘Sunflower Tool’ wonderfully creates a comfortable environment for all. Sometimes the simplest things make a huge impact. Education plays a big part in operations and brings benefits to Mackay. The Da Vinci robot allows extra training and is a local resource impacting doctor retention and attraction to our city.

The Mater’s people are so essential to success. There are 5 senior leaders and a Leadership Team of 12. Each department is highly valued with supportive leadership courses available. Much support is required concerning the ethics of Voluntary Assisted Dying and the Palliative Care Team offers an excellent service. Co-operative teamwork allows members to bring ideas to the table and the Mater Awards Night celebrates the successes.

Community connections through events like RUOk Day highlight the mental health aspects impacting staff and patients while injecting fun when possible to promote resilience. Breast Cancer Month, Foundation fundraising, and Mercy Day are some of the community engagement opportunities the Mater Auxillary and Volunteers excel in.  Supporting new mums, karaoke, and market stalls all play a role in the Mater Mackay experience.

Chris thanked our group for the dinner as an opportunity to speak, concluding that the future is bright for both the Mater and Mackay as we continue to ‘strive for excellence’. Chris and Jared then answered questions.

Des thanked Chris and Jared for their insights into our Mater Hospital where he was born, his kids were born, and where he might end his earthly run. Thank you for keeping us healthy. He presented a gift and a donation to the group’s applause.

The presentation was excellent, the crowd went home with a better knowledge and understanding of what the Mater now provides.