Mary’s ‘trip’ to the beach

New shell 1Laurina Lodge resident Mary Hibbert loved going to the beach when she was young but because of her medical condition, she can’t get there any more.

So staff brought the beach to her.

Diversional Therapist Deidre Lions brought in sand for Mary to feel and sea shells of different shapes to touch. Mary even did some “armchair” travel with staff showing her images of beaches which brought back so many wonderful memories.

But the highlight was when Mary was given a large sea shell to listen to the ocean…there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

 According to Diedre, these moments are why she loves her job.

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Summer fun at Maffra


Residents in the JHF McDonald Wing at Maffra Hospital are enjoying a busy summer with lots of activities.

When Maffra Girl Guides joined residents for activities in December, they left their mascot bear, Tory, for the summer holidays.

Divisional therapist Kirsty Snyder said the residents had great fun including Tory in all their activities including billiards.

“The residents have really enjoyed their interaction with the guides who held camp fire activities on their last visit including a sing-a-long,” Kirsty said. “As a thank you to the guides for leaving Tory, everyone has been busy making posters for the Maffra Guide Hall to show the guides what she got up to on her holidays.”

In other January activities, residents were invited to Opal in Sale for an Old Time Dance. The Sale dance group members demonstrated some dances and encouraged some of the residents to join in.

The McDonald Wing residents look forward to visits from three dogs, courtesy of the Sale Obedience Dog School.

Pictured (from left) the Maffra Girl Guides’ mascot, Tory, joining in a game of billiards at the JHF McDonald Wing at Maffra Hospital; Choc, the newest member of the canine team from the Sale Obedience Dog Club who regularly visits the JHF McDonald Wing; and residents socialising at the Old Time Dance in Sale.


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Praise from patient

 CGH recently received its 50th story on Patient Opinion since it was launched in September 2016.Patient Opinion logo

 CEO Frank Evans said since CGH joined Patient Opinion, many improvements had been implemented based on patients’ feedback.

 “I hope this story (below) is as encouraging to you as it is to me – a timely reminder of how important our work is and the difference we make in people’s lives every day,” Frank said.

 It reads…

 “I was admitted for tests to see what was going on with my breathing. I have to say you have an absolute treasure in the staff of the Critical Care Unit.

I cannot fault them in any way; they were quick off the mark with call buzzers, could not do enough for me, and the ward was always immaculately clean.

When I was leaving I mentioned my feelings to the young nurse, and her response – we all love our jobs here – really explains it. I, as a patient, could feel that love and comradery. This work ethic was noticed in all the staff I came in contact with – X-rays, scans, kitchen, cleaners – they were all wonderful.

If any staff happen to read this it’s a huge pat on the back and hug for you all, you made a stressful time a lot easier to bear. Cheers to you all, wonderfully committed people.”

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New surgeons for CGH

Two new general surgeons, Mr Ruwei Xu and Mr Francis Asomah, are joining Central Gippsland Health.

Mr Francis Asomah

Francis is the new head of the CGH Surgical Unit. Born in Ghana, Francis migrated to Germany to study medicine at the Humboldt University of Berlin, Charite.

He specialised in general surgery in Germany before being recruited to Queensland where he wen through the entire SET training, finishing his Fellowship with the Royal Australian College Of Surgeons in February this year.

Francis is interested in all general surgical cases. This includes colonic resections, cholecystectomies, thyroid surgery, hernias, skin lesions, varicose veins, carpal tunnel release, ingrown toenails, as well minor urological procedures such as circumcisions, hydrocele repair and vasectomies.

He is also interested in adult upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and colonoscopy.

“Together with my colleagues, we will offer a comprehensive surgical service to the community,” Francis said.

Mr Ruwei Xu

Ruwei is no stranger to Sale Hospital, having worked as a registrar for 12 months after training at Monash Health. Prior to joining CGH, Ruwei was Surgical Fellow with Ballarat Base Hospital.

Ruwei has broad surgical skills in gastrointestinal, breast, thyroid and abdominal wall hernia procedures with sub specialties including gall bladder procedures, colorectal cancers and thyroid surgery.

He acquired advanced laparoscopic skills in major abdominal wall hernias, gallbladder and colon cancers. He also performs minor surgical procedures for treatment of skin cancers, vasectomy, carpal tunnel syndrome and varicose veins.

Ruwei also has significant basic and clinical research experience. His interest in research led his completion of a Master’s degree from Department of Surgery, the Royal Melbourne Hospital, The University of Melbourne and a PhD from Monash Medical Centre, Monash University respectively.  His current research interest is in the surgical management of abdominal wall hernias.

His appointment to the general surgical position will not only benefit Sale Hospital but Latrobe Regional Hospital in Traralgon too as his is a joint appointment to support clinical integration of services across both hospitals.

Married with two children, Ruwei was born in China and speaks fluent Mandarin.


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Meet our new Board Chair

New chair.jpgTony Anderson has a strong link to Central Gippsland Health and feels privileged to be taking over leadership of its board. He is pictured above with outgoing Chair, Glenn Stagg.

Born in the Sale Hospital, growing up on a Denison dairy farm with strong connections to Heyfield and Maffra, Tony knows only too well the importance of the health service to its local community and is excited about the year ahead.

“The service is the heart of the community, looking after its citizens from birth, right through to old age,” he said. “And we are very fortunate to have such a highly regarded and professional health service.

“Apart from being on the board, my family has spent a fair bit of time here in recent years with three active children, aged 11, 13 and 15, having their fair share of broken bones!”

Tony left the area to further his education but returned 15 years ago to establish a branch of Rabobank at Sale.

Immersed in the community as president of the Sale Swimming Club and previously treasurer (and player) of the Bundalaguah Cricket Club, he joined the CGH Board in 2013, becoming deputy chair the following year. In December, he took over from chair Glenn Stagg whose tenure is up after more than 11 years on the board, the last five as chair.

Tony said CGH had achieved a great deal in the past year and 2018 would bring “exciting new challenges”.


“The new theatre development at Sale Hospital will greatly benefit our community,” he said. “The project will enable CGH, supported by our regional hospital, to provide improved access to high quality and safe orthopaedic surgery, including local access to joint replacements and rehabilitation.

“We have two new surgeons joining us in February who have a range of expertise in their field.”

One of the highlights of the last year for Tony was the official opening of the Oncology Redevelopment which he said meant patients could have treatment locally, close to family and friends.

“The provision of online feedback through Patient Opinion has been a great initiative,” he said. “We must keep as many channels of communication open as possible.

“The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with Stretton Park in Maffra and Heyfield Hospital was an important part of this project.

“This triggered our rebranding was also significant and important. This was not just a changing of a logo – in fact it included a complete restructure which sees four entities under one management team.

Tony said all members of the board brought different strengths which was vital in overseeing a diverse business with a $93 million budget and a staff of more than 1200.

“It is important that at board level we can maintain that local connection. We need good local people who are suitably experienced and qualified. They bring (to the board) their community knowledge and passion for the area.

“It is easy at board level to get caught up with the dollars and cents but we should never forget to maintain a close eye on what it is we are here for … our patients.”

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Master Plan approved

Health and aged care services in Maffra are set to get a major boost with the State Government announcing approval for a Maffra Hospital Master Plan.

 Central Gippsland Health Chief Executive, Dr Frank Evans, said this was a major step towards a proposed rebuilding of the hospital to keep pace with the changing needs of the community.

 “The Maffra Hospital has served its community well but it needs to undergo significant redevelopment,” Frank said.

 “We have been working on this process for some years and are thrilled we can now move to the planning stage.

 “A Project Group will be set up comprising the Department of Health and Human Services, our staff and our consumers. We want the local community to be involved and have input.”

 Meanwhile in another significant development for the Maffra community, the Maffra Hospital will have its own allied health staff on site f to work with the community and aged care residents.

 A physiotherapist will be based at the hospital from this week and an occupational therapist care coordinator is currently being recruited.

 Maffra Hospital Director of Nursing and Aged Care, Paul Head, said the area once used for operating theatres in the hospital would be refurbished to accommodate a physiotherapy gym and an occupational therapy room.

This is a great initiative for the Maffra community as it means residents no longer have to travel to Sale for these allied health services,” Paul said. “Local GPs can refer their patients here.”

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Top honour for volunteers

New Oz Day 2 Maffra Hospital volunteers were honoured with an award on Australia Day.

 The ‘Quiet Achiever’ award was presented at an Australia Day ceremony held in Victoria Park and hosted by Maffra Rotary and The Gippsland Times.

 Maffra Girl Guides raised the flag before Wellington councillor, Malcolm Hole, presented the special award to the Friends of McDonald Wing.

 The award, sponsored by the Rotary club and The Times, praised the volunteers “for their continued support and volunteer time at Maffra Hospital and McDonald Wing. Their time and energy are always greatly appreciated and it empowers the residents to lead fulfilling lives”.

 Their practical support is invaluable; providing helping hands with transport and listening ears for the many stories residents have to share.

 Volunteers bring dogs to visit the facility as many residents have had pets in the past and love to see animals.

 Some of the volunteers help staff with outings, such as going out to lunch and shows. One volunteer evened assisted a resident to fulfil his bucket-list dream of seeing Led Zeppelin play when the tribute show performed in Sale!

 CGH thanked Rotary and The Times for their acknowledging volunteers and “their selfless gift of time”.


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