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We have been part of life within our communities from the time our founding Sisters of St John of God arrived from Ireland in the late nineteenth century. To this day we extend the same compassion and support the Sisters brought to the vulnerable and marginalised within the cities and towns around Australia. Our people reach out to help in dealing with the new challenges of a modern, rapidly changing world.

We remain as committed to strengthening relationships and partnerships with our communities and extending our ministry to provide hope and dignity to all those we serve.

By pursuing a deeper partnership with community groups we can continue to deliver on our commitment to the highest quality of healthcare.

Social Justice


A new Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan was launched during the year. The new plan will support the creation of a model of employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, which will be culturally sensitive and supportive. When adopted by the whole organisation it will increase capacity to become an employer of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In addition, it will contribute to greater engagement with their communities in health, culture and service provision.

Disability Access and Inclusion Plan

The current Disability and Access Inclusion Plan is 80% complete, with the Disability Reference Group working on the next phase of the plan. This year, highlights have included the introduction of Mental Health First Aid and further collaboration with local disability services. The plan is further highlighted in the People section of this report.

Asylum Seeker Settlement Program

St John of God Health Care has signed a four-year Collaboration Agreement with Catholic Care, the social service agency of the Archdiocese of Melbourne and the Diocese of Sale to support them in doubling the capacity of their successful Asylum Seeker Settlement Program.

The program seeks to support individuals and families released from immigration detention centres into short-term housing within the Archdiocese of Melbourne. More stable and long-term accommodation is then identified through the program, in order to support individuals and families successfully settling into the community and building strong local relationships.

Social Outreach

In February, following an external review of all services delivered by Social Outreach and our hospitals, changes were announced to the structure and governance of these services.
All Social Outreach activities now come under a single point of governance within a newly formed Social Outreach division. As part of this change, nine existing hospital-managed outreach initiatives were transferred to Social Outreach.

Social Outreach comprises services that would not otherwise operate without funding from St John of God Health Care. They aim to meet the needs of disadvantaged people within our communities, with a focus on areas of unmet need in health and wellbeing.

Social Outreach now consists of Youth and Accommodation Services (Horizon House and Casa Venegas), Early Years (Raphael Services), Community Mental Health Services (three services operating in Warrnambool, Ballarat and Fremantle) and International Health (Timor-Leste).

Over the past year, we invested $26.2 million delivering services to vulnerable and disadvantaged communities across three states along with Timor-Leste, in 36 separate locations. 

As of 1 July 2017, Social Outreach employed 209 caregivers, including over 60 clinicians, who provided care and support to more than 3,800 clients.

Collectively Horizon House and Casa Venegas have 138 beds supporting infants, young people and adults at risk of homelessness. Over the past year these services provided almost 40,000 bed nights.

In addition, we delivered almost 33,000 counselling sessions through our community-based mental health services, including Raphael Services.

Social Justice Expenditure


Expenditure $

SJGHC Contribution $






Social Outreach (includes Accord & NZ)





Community Responsibility





Patient Concessions





Caregivers Facing Hardship










Community Responsibility

We have a strong commitment to our community responsibility role of seeking to relieve disadvantage and hardship. We are motivated to identify and respond where there is unmet social justice need.

This includes support for community meals programs, educational support, provision of meeting places for community groups, donations to emergency funds for humanitarian assistance and financial support for agencies supporting disadvantaged people.

Patient concessions

Our Social Justice Patient Concessions Policy ensures we can respond to requests from caregivers, benevolent agencies, international aid agencies or hospital clinicians and management who have assessed a patient needs treatment not available elsewhere.

Caregivers facing hardships

We provide support for our caregivers during periods of personal crisis. Our Caregiver Hardship Policy allows us to offer many styles of support, including practical responses such as financial support or additional leave.

Caregiver participation

Our caregivers are encouraged to participate in social justice activities through fundraising and volunteering. Caregivers can apply for Community Support Leave of four hours a month or one week a year to match equivalent personal leave to volunteer to help organisations addressing disadvantage.


Our sites continued to implement initiatives to help reduce our impact on the environment.

These initiatives included:

  • Recycling programs for materials such as PVC (oxygen masks, tubes, IV packs etc.), theatre plastics, printer cartridges, batteries, cardboard and commingled products.
  • Electronic waste recycling was added this year at some sites, and staff at St John of God Burwood and Richmond Hospitals brought in personal e-waste for recycling.
  • St John of God Ballarat Hospital rolled out approximately 2,500 LED lights as part of the Energy Efficient Light replacement project.
  • Toilet flushes at St John of God Murdoch Hospital were replaced with an efficiency model.
  • Energy-efficient shower heads were installed in patient ensuites at Ballarat Hospital.
  • Introduction of Living Skills Program for St John of God Accord clients included composting and recycling.
  • Theatre cup holders were collected and donated to the Red Cross in East Perth for their soup patrols in Perth.
  • Kitchen waste is now being processed into fertilizer at St John of God Murdoch Hospital for hospital use or to be sold.

We also continue to benefit from the Energy Efficient Light Replacement project that was rolled out from 2012 to 2015 in which 32,353 light units were replaced with LED equivalents at a cost of $3.25 million to reduce electricity consumption. This project has resulted in reducing CO2 emissions by 2,775 tonnes per annum - equivalent to taking 1,114 cars off the road or the energy consumption of 231 houses.


St John of God Health Care reported our Green House Gas emissions, energy consumption and energy production to the Commonwealth Government under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act of 2007 (NGER Act) for the seventh time in October 2016. For each site, over which we have operational control, there are 12 activities to report against.

These activities include consumption of Natural Gas, fuel, petroleum based greases, electricity, emissions from chiller plants and emissions from other gases. This information must be gathered and reported to the Clean Energy Regulator by 31 October each year.

Key reportable emissions data 2015-16:

  • Energy consumption – 557 terajoules.
  • Carbon emissions – 80,710 tonnes.

Final emissions data for 2016-17 is not yet available.


The St John of God Health Care Heritage Collection is a permanent, non-profit collection established to acquire, conserve, research, communicate and exhibit our tangible and intangible heritage.

Key achievements:

  • An electronic collection management system (CMS) has been implemented and piloted at St John of God Mt Lawley and Bendigo Hospitals, with more than 200 items now fully documented into the database.
  • Caregivers will be able to access the Heritage Collection through the CMS and the next stage (scheduled for 2018-19) is to make the collection accessible to the wider community through the internet.
  • The Sisters of St John of God reviewed their own heritage collection and divested a substantial collection of health-related items to St John of God Health Care. The collection contains a significant number of items representing aspects of healthcare and hospital life, including silverware and crockery, nurses’ uniforms, medical and surgical equipment, as well as photographs, documents and ledgers.
  • The Group Heritage Coordinator has continued to support the organisation, the Mission directorate, Trustees and Marketing and Corporate Affairs by sharing aspects of our history and heritage.
  • St John of God Bendigo Hospital celebrated the 55th anniversary of its opening and 50th anniversary of the establishment of the hospital auxiliary with activities around the hospital and the creation of a short film of interviews with auxiliary members, local clergy and long-term caregivers. The film aired on the hospital’s internal television channel in patient rooms.
  • Mt Lawley Hospital’s 80th anniversary was celebrated over three days in April 2017 with displays and pop-up exhibitions around the hospital.

Arts and Health

Music has become an important contributor to patient and caregiver wellbeing. St John of God Burwood, Frankston Rehabilitation and Richmond Hospitals offer participative music workshops comprising singing, song writing and drumming. St John of God Accord and Berwick, Bendigo and Warrnambool Hospitals now employ registered music therapists. Community choirs regularly sing on wards at St John of God Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Geraldton, Mt Lawley and Subiaco Hospitals. All hospitals regularly engage local musicians to perform.

Collaboration with the University of Melbourne and Western Sydney University has enabled music therapy masters students to carry out their final three-month placement within St John of God Health Care facilities.

St John of God Health Care was gifted a Steinway grand piano through the Musica Viva Instrument Gifting Program, and this piano is now housed within the atrium of St John of God Midland Public and Private Hospitals. Weekly recitals are being held through the collaboration of Musica Viva and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University, along with a community program with musicians from the hospital and broader community.

When St John of God Health Care appointed an Art Curator in 2012, the art database totalled 103 works. There are now more than 700 pieces in the organisation’s Art Collection, mostly by emerging and established Western Australian artists.

Acquisition of pieces of art occurs through purchase, commission, donation/gift or loan – however the number and value of donated works now far outweighs purchases.
Future focus will seek inclusion of artists from local communities in the eastern region.

Art commissions were completed for St John of God Accord’s Chapel, Waipuna’s entrance, St John of God Murdoch Hospital’s main entry, and St John of God Bendigo Hospital’s atrium. St John of God Bendigo and Geraldton Hospitals and Hawkesbury District Health Service have established healing gardens and courtyards, providing spaces for reflection, relaxation and connection to nature.

Hawkesbury District Health Service launched an Art Gallery with works by artists from the local Aboriginal community. Exhibitions in other Eastern hospitals included: Stations of the Cross at Halswell, Annual Art Award at Bendigo Hospital and the Annual Veterans Day Art and Craft Exhibition at Richmond Hospital. Exhibitions were held in Western Australian metropolitan hospitals throughout the year.

St John of God Health Care continues to encourage other organisations to take up their leadership in arts and health. Recommendations from the WA Arts and Health Consortium are leading to the Western Australian Government establishing an Arts and Health Reference committee to develop policy and direction for arts and health in WA. The Consortium is also contributing to the Institute for Creative Health’s Health Arts Action Leadership Project (HAALP) that will focus on inspiring, fostering and skilling new leaders in arts and health across Australia.


St John of God Health Care is an active community participant in the suburbs, towns and cities in which we operate. We partner with oganisations with similar aspirations and strategic goals. In 2016-17, we contributed $876,978 to support a broad range of initiatives and organisations across a range of sectors.

Arts sponsorships

As part of our commitment and recognition of the value the arts play in enhancing the wellbeing of individuals and communities, we continue to support the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra, Black Swan State Theatre, WA Youth Orchestras, Musica Viva and the Catholic Arts Office. We also sponsor the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture and are proud to be a major sponsor of The Mandorla Art Award, Australia’s most significant thematic Christian art prize, for more than a decade.

Awards and leadership programs

St John of God Health Care continue to support the WA Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards, which is an opportunity for the community to commend and celebrate the exceptional care provided by nurses and midwives in the public and private sectors in Western Australia.

Our partnership with Leadership WA reflects our internal leadership ethos with a shared vision of enhancing leadership excellence and a respect for diversity, community service and commitment to ethical leadership.


In this year 1,135 volunteers worked with us to ensure our patients and visitors were as comfortable as possible in our care. Volunteers generously give of their time and effort to support our services and our hospital auxiliaries that raise funds to purchase new hospital equipment.

St John of God Foundation

St John of God Foundation is a not-for-profit registered charity that for the past 22 years, through community support, has provided funding to assist with clinical research, social outreach programs, purchasing sophisticated medical equipment and developing hospital infrastructure.

Last year, St John of God Health Care provided life-changing outcomes to more than 324,000 people across the country. With Australia’s changing health environment and ageing population, demand for lifesaving healthcare continues to grow exponentially. As a result, service providers need to build capacity, refine best practices and boost proven programs to serve more people.

Clinical research plays a crucial role in delivering improved health outcomes, and St John of God Health Care is well positioned to spearhead this movement through the Foundation.

As a leader in the Australian health sector, St John of God Foundation contributes to translational research projects and clinical trials in more than 25 key health areas, focusing on projects with the greatest potential to improve patient healthcare.

In the past 12 months, we have supported clinical research and sophisticated oncology trials that help our researchers discover revolutionary new treatments to improve outcomes for people with some of the most common cancers such as breast, melanoma, prostate, pancreas, colorectal and lung.

The St John of God Foundation’s $5 million capital campaign for the South West Coronary and Cancer Centre is delivering high quality cardiac and cancer investigation and treatment services for public and private patients in the South West, at one location. These services have and will continue to expand the hospital’s capacity to meet the demands of our rapidly growing community and the healthcare needs of future generations.

St John of God Berwick Hospital provides healthcare services to the Casey Cardinia community and surrounding areas. Due to an increase in population, St John of God Foundation launched a capital campaign to raise $5 million for a Comprehensive Cancer and Cardiac Care Centre that will give patients and their families access to specialised services, ensuring better health outcomes and quality of life.

In the last financial year, St John of God Foundation received over $3 million through philanthropic donations and pledges toward revolutionary medical research, contemporary hospital infrastructure, clinical equipment and the delivery of critical social services.

The St John of God Foundation thanks our generous donors who have enabled us to continue providing the best possible care to patients and the community. A special thank you to the following supporters: 

  • Michael & Irene Ajani
  • Berwick Mazda
  • Alan & Kylie Brierty
  • Geoff & Jan Brown
  • Brown Property Group
  • Bunbury Car Dealers
  • Carcione Group of Companies
  • John & Carmel Carney
  • Joseph & Caroline Caruso
  • City of Bunbury
  • City of Busselton
  • Collie Community Bank
  • Connie Craig
  • Donegal Nominees Pty Ltd
  • Harmon Family Trust
  • Iannello Family
  • Paul & Delane Kane
  • Jim Litis
  • Arthur & Elizabeth Makin
  • Charlie & Nan Martella
  • Massey Charitable Foundation
  • McCusker Charitable Foundation
  • Don Moyes
  • Nick Baldi Construction Pty Ltd
  • Nicholas O'Donohue
  • Walter & Vicki Pisciotta
  • Rosemary Norman Foundation
  • Tom & Therese Schreurs
  • Shire of Augusta Margaret River
  • Shire of Collie
  • Chris & Anthea Somas
  • Stocker Preston Real Estate
  • The Jack Family Charitable Trust
  • The Kailis Foundation
  • Lena & Brian Topp
  • Peter & Heather Tulloch
  • Wheatley Family Foundation


Play Video

Patients with Parkinson's disease and other chronic illnesses are benefiting greatly from the St John of God Frankston Rehabilitation Hospital's Music for Wellness program.