A message from the Chair

Responding to back-to-back crises, including an unparalleled bushfire season and the emergence of a global pandemic, has stretched the Victorian health system beyond what many could ever have imagined possible. The health sector has put in tremendous efforts to respond to these challenges. I am proud to be part of a sector delivering above and beyond in these challenging times and I am equally as proud, as the leader of a Victorian health service, to be part of our peak body, the Victorian Healthcare Association (VHA).

In line with our strategy and vision for the Victorian health system, the VHA has stood side-by-side with the sector through the highs and lows of the past 12 months. We have supported the sector to meet the evolving needs of Victorians, represented sector needs with key stakeholders and government, advocated on behalf of the sector and leveraged the strength of the membership to create a stronger, more resilient system for the future.

Just as the pandemic has accelerated bold steps forward in the reform and redesign of a health system under pressure, the VHA has undergone significant transformation throughout 2019-20 to continue to respond and meet the needs of the sector. Evolving traditional methods of engagement to virtual platforms has not only expanded our reach and interaction with the sector but strengthened our role as a catalyst for sector collaboration.

Arguably there has never been a more important time to build the capacity of the sector to respond to change and reform. Throughout 2019-20, we have continued our work with the sector to deliver integrated capacity building programs aligned to significant reform areas including aged care. We have also worked more closely than ever with boards to increase their capability to respond to crises; ensuring strong governance across the sector.

Our first Mental Health Sector Forum in December 2019

I am proud of what the VHA has achieved over the past year. In particular, the dedication of its leadership and the team over recent months to continue to meet the changing needs of the sector, while maintaining focus on the potential to transform crisis into opportunity. On behalf of the VHA board, I would like to thank the VHA team for their ongoing efforts and for helping the sector to respond to the relentless demands being placed on the system. Never has it been more important to have such a strong voice for the sector.

Like the health and community health services we represent, our financial position has been impacted by the challenges of COVID-19, particularly the instability of global financial markets and the decrease in revenue from partnerships and events. As a result of prudent financial management, the board and our leadership have been able to contain losses within an acceptable amount already planned for by the VHA board in preparation for our ongoing growth. While the impact will continue to be felt for several years to come, and prolong our growth period, the VHA remains in a strong financial position.

The VHA is also using this period to refine our programs and prepare for the future – taking learnings from new ways of working, member feedback and new approaches to sector engagement to inform its work and continue to strengthen and build on our objectives.

I would also like to thank all our members and our stakeholders, including our corporate partners and government, for their continued support of the VHA.