Growing stronger together

In 2019, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of St John of God Health Care Inc which involved the transfer of the Sisters of St John of God hospitals, pathology and radiology operations to the new, single entity.

St John of God Health Care Foundation Day

3 October 2019

St John of God Health Care has built upon the foundations entrusted by the Sisters to future leaders and responded to a rapidly changing world, while remaining focused on our Mission – to continue the healing mission of Jesus.

Each year, on Foundation Day (7 October), we celebrate the vision and work of the Sisters of St John of God. We look to the future, inspired by their example and by the words of Jesus, “Go and do likewise.”

St John of God Health Care Group Chief Executive Officer Dr Shane Kelly said: “I am amazed by the Sisters’ dedicated journey, coming to Australia in incredibly difficult circumstances to care for those suffering cholera and typhoid amongst other illnesses in the Goldfields. What they achieved subsequently is remarkable and is a testament to their enduring focus on the mission.”

St John of God Health Care Board Chair Hon Kerry Sanderson AC said the Sisters’ energy and drive set the platform for the success of the organisation.

“They have set a huge example to us of what can be achieved by people working together with a strong sense of mission, vision and values,” she said.

In 1989, the services, then run as individual ministries by the Sisters of St John of God, were transferred to the new, single entity St John of God Health Care, in response to major changes in medical science, government policies and Catholic Church thinking. 

“At the time they had nine hospitals which were separately operated and governed, and they realised there were going to be pressures emerging which meant they would be stronger together,” Dr Kelly said.

“That is one of the key reasons why St John of God Health Care was formed, so that there were economies of scale and an ability to work together to be a stronger organisation than individual hospitals working independently.”

Mrs Sanderson said the decisions the Sisters took to transition the operations of St John of God Health Care to the laity were very carefully discerned and implemented.

“To me that shows leadership and vision to develop a way to preserve what they had done but importantly to give it a basis to grow and continue servicing the community needs,” she said.

St John of God Health Care Chair of Trustees Eva Skira AM said: “The Sisters gave their name and their essence to St John of God Health Care. They have given us their prayers every day, but I think they have also done a marvellous job of handing their ministries over to lay people.”

Since the establishment of St John of God Health Care, the organisation has doubled its number of hospitals, including expanding into public healthcare, commenced disability care and formalised social outreach initiatives, increased the number of patients cared for each year to more than 200,000 and grown from 2,500 caregivers to about 14,000.

Ms Skira said growth was just one of the demonstrations of the organisation’s achievements over the past 30 years.

“I think the other thing that we have done, and continue to do, is to strive to provide the very best contemporary care that addresses the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs of our patients and clients,” she said.

“Our caregivers strive to achieve that every day. I think that is part of our DNA.”