Some leaders are quiet achievers. Lance Wheeldon is one of them.
Lance is Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer and Company Secretary of Hunter Valley Private Hospital (HVPH), the only locally owned and the oldest working private hospital in the Hunter. He was a foundation Director of Pacific Smiles Group from 2003 until late 2014. He has recently joined Allambi as a Non-Executive Director.
Since joining HVPH in 1999, it has doubled in capacity through two multi-million re-developments . The Shortland hospital now has 83 beds (up from 40) and has five theatres (up from three).
A “hands on” CEO, Lance took a lead project management role in the redevelopments. An art lover and gardener, he has helped create beautiful gardens and art galleries designed to make the hospital a more pleasant and healing place for patients, staff and visitors.
Lance says organisations and leaders need to value community. The hospital is a long time supporter of the nearby Hunter Wetlands, public school and local sporting teams as well as the Hunter Postgraduate Medical Institute. Wherever it can, it supports local businesses such as the local butcher to supply its meat.
- What path led you to your current role?
I started my career as a scientist in private pathology. The industry grew from using glass test tubes and Bunsen burners in the mid seventies to advanced electromechanical, computing and robotic technologies by the mid nineties. A tremendous and exciting time of growth and opportunity.
The rapid change in the pathology industry led to corporatisation and amalgamations with capital city based head offices. An opportunity arose for me at Hunter Valley Private Hospital where my skills in the health industry, general management and leadership found a new and fruitful challenge.
- If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be?
I’d like to increase people’s understanding of the important role that private hospitals and the private sector plays in the delivery of health services to Australians.
Bipartisan support on our political stage would give more certainty to required capital investments. Private hospitals treat two out of every five patients and account for one third of all “bed days”. Private day surgeries and hospitals perform 66% of all elective surgery, 45% of chemotherapy treatments, 70% of eye surgery, 48% of heart surgery, 70% of rehabilitation programs. They are a major provider of healthcare, supporting the public hospital system and offering world class treatments and choice to the Australian public.
- What values should a leader embrace?
A strong and certain moral compass, creativity, cautious risk taking, teamwork and a conservative/considered approach most of the time.
- What do you believe makes business in the Hunter unique?
Hunter business people greatly value working with each other and contributing to each others’ success wherever possible. They hold a great sense of honour in their roles and feel responsible to this community, wanting to create lasting opportunity for future generations.
- How do you define the difference between a Manager and a Leader?
Leaders work “on” the business rather than “in” the business. They scan the horizon looking out for the storm clouds and attempt to avoid the storms. They plan for the future, in the short and longer term.