A Hunter business celebrated a half a century of caring for local people last week. Hunter Valley Private Hospital (HVPH) has been in existence for 30 years and hospital care has been provided on its Shortland site for 50 years.
Current and former doctors and staff, patients and hospital suppliers marked the occasion at a low key BBQ lunch on Thursday, 5 March 2015.
One staff member who has worked at the hospital for 39 years is nurse Dee Gerler who retired only recently.
She helped to unveil a new permanent, commemorative, 1.8m high sculpture by Newcastle artist Peter Tilley, titled In search of the sea, on the front lawn of the hospital.
Nursing staff also modelled most of the uniforms worn by HVPH nursing staff over the 30 years, which Dee had kept.
Children from the local Shortland Primary School band performed at the event. After the performance, HVPH CEO Lance Wheeldon announced the hospital had increased its annual music scholarship to the school from $1,000 to $3,000.
Dee is not the only long standing member of the HVPH team. Chairman Dr William (Bill) Straughan and other current directors Drs Alan Lewis (also currently a visiting medical officer), Bob Sillar and Michael Steyn worked as visiting medical officers at the hospital run by the Masons before and after it became HVPH.
Dr Straughan said the hospital has grown over the years from a cottage hospital to a modern centre of excellence in healthcare. With two multi-million dollar redevelopments undertaken in the past 10 years, the hospital now boasts 83 beds, five operating theatres, private medical suites as well as landscaped garden and art galleries to help patients to heal. The redevelopments were designed and built by local firms, creating local jobs.
He said the hospital may be tucked away in Shortland but it was leading the way in many aspects of healthcare at a local and national level. Two recent examples were it being the first hospital in NSW to use a surgical guidance system to enable real time eye tracking during cataract surgery and the first in Australia to successfully complete a new procedure to help reduce vision loss in glaucoma patients.
“The most important aspect of a hospital is patient care and what hasn’t changed is our approach of making the hospital a place where caring comes naturally,” Dr Straughan said.
In 30 years HVPH has:
- cared for more than 175,000 patients
- performed more than 145,000 operations
- served more than 875,000 meals
- used more than two million needles.
HVPH is the region’s only locally owned and independent private hospital. Its team of more than 100 doctors and 300 staff provide range of surgery and rehabilitation services to more than 14,000 people each year.
History of HVPH
- 1965 | Masonic Hospital built
- 1985 | Purchased by Hunter Valley Private Limited and renamed
- 1996 | New private wards, same day surgery complex, hydrotherapy pool and allied health wing opened.
- 2005 | $4M redevelopment doubles hospital floor size. Eight extra beds, new independent living centre and high dependency unit.
- 2007 | First Hunter hospital to have purpose built outdoor therapy area
- 2011 | $20M redevelopment opened with two new operating theatres, 35 more beds and additional consulting suites.
Image | HVPH nurse Dee Gerler with Newcastle artist Peter Tilley, in front of his sculpture purchased to commemorate HVPH’s 30 and 50 year business milestones
Hunter Valley Private Hospital is the oldest working private hospital in the Hunter area. It was established by the Masons in 1965, purchased by the Hunter Valley Private Hospital in 1985 and remains locally owned and operated and completely independent.