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30 years of Monash Medical Centre

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Current staff and those of yesteryears came together to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Monash Medical Centre on Thursday, 14 September.

Memories and stories of the hospital’s past were shared between the 200 guests over refreshments, before they were invited into the lecture theatre to hear from some very special guests.

Monash Health Chief Executive Andrew Stripp led the celebration of the hospital’s 30-year journey, recounting the history of the amalgamation of three distinct health services into one cohesive whole.

“The vision was to offer a truly integrated healthcare system for the people of the south east,” Mr Stripp said.

“Along the way, that vision strengthened and grew, adapting to major changes in the external environment.”

The event reunited the delivering doctor of the first baby at Monash Medical Centre, Dr Paul Shekleton, with Jessica Bailey and her parents Susan and Michael. According to the family and doctor there was some competition with other families and clinicians for the mantle of ‘first baby born’, however Jessica proved the most eager to meet the world.

In the lead up to this auspicious anniversary, many people have come forward with stories and relics from the past. Rowena Ferguson from Monash Newborn located an old VHS tape which captured some events from the past. This, along with photos and other footage from our archives, were turned into a short video shown during the event.

Jennine Harbrow has worked at Monash Medical Centre for the last 30 years, and is now Director Hospital in the Community. She offered a fascinating account of the past 30 years at Monash Medical Centre through the lens of nursing and midwifery. Ms Harbrow spoke of her training as a nurse in 1983, the politically charged nurses strike of 1986, the transformation of the health system through advances in technology, and opportunities for the future of healthcare.

“As young nurses we endured the meaning of life, love, compassion, empathy, pain, suffering and tragedy,” Ms Harbrow said. Reflecting on some of the life-long skills she’s gained through nursing: “to this day every bed I make has mitred corners!”

Professor Richard Harper, interim Director MonashHeart and Emeritus Director of Cardiology, then took the audience through the somewhat tumultuous journey of creating a cardiology service for the south east.

“It was obvious that there was going to be increased demand for cardiology services,” Professor Harper stated. “The challenge was to plan for this increased demand.”

MonashHeart is now the largest cardiovascular service provider in Victoria.

After reflecting on the past 30 years, the event drew to a close with a look to the future.

Already in our near future we can see exciting developments such as our electronic medical record, the Victorian Heart Hospital Project, expansion of Casey Hospital and our response to the ever increasing role of technology and digital platforms in the delivery of healthcare and the experience of our staff, patients and families.

Since its inception Monash Medical Centre has:

  • Cared for more than two million people.
  • Helped close to 120,000 babies be delivered into the world,
  • Saved countless thousands of lives, and
  • Supported hundreds of thousands of Victorian families through difficult times.

We look forward to the next 30 years with a renewed vision.

An exhibition combining these memories and historical archives has been installed in the Art Space. Staff, patients and visitors can wander through the decades, reflecting on the growth and achievements of the hospital since 1987. The exhibition can be viewed until 5 October.

Watch the '30 years of Monash Medical Centre' video below:

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