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End of an era for Peter

July 18th, 2022End of an era for Peter

An advert in the local paper - and his wife’s avid reading - led Peter Matthews to the Board of Kyneton District Health. After almost a decade as a board director, including a long stint as board chair, the Woodend local is stepping down from the now Central Highlands Rural Health.

An advert in the local paper – and his wife’s avid reading – led Peter Matthews to the Board of Kyneton District Health. After almost a decade as a board director, including a long stint as board chair, the Woodend local is stepping down from the now Central Highlands Rural Health.
Emeritus Professor Peter Matthews landed an interview for a KDH board position in 2013. At the time, KDH faced significant community engagement challenges. Peter recalled that the health service seemed to have lost its way.
“The level of care was not the problem, it was understanding who we are and what we do. A health service can’t offer everything – it can’t be everything to all people – but if someone turns up unwell, we either need to know how to look after them, or know where they need to go.”
Peter has lived and worked in rural communities most of his life. He’s also forged a leadership career in the arts and academia. But for Peter, the local community context remained front and centre.
“It gave KDH staff such a sense of achievement to have made it through a rough patch and out the other side. There were a couple of community-based events – an open day and tree planting day which had an impact, and the local Treehouse program has had an impact too.
“The amalgamation with Hepburn Health to become CHRH was a big challenge and achievement. We made sure to incorporate the local history of each health service and named each campus after the area – Clunes Health, Creswick Health, Daylesford Health, Kyneton Health and Trentham Health.”
The pandemic hit three months after the amalgamation. And yet the merger was a smooth experience for staff and local people. “The first 100 days after an amalgamation are critical, and the way staff adjusted, and then responded to COVID, was inspirational. The challenge resulted in us working more closely together with other health services. It was a common problem that needed a common solution.
“I have learnt to keep an open mind and to distil ideas, not dilute them. I tried to pull out the core idea from what everyone’s saying, to capture the story – what are we doing, why are we doing it, and who will do what?”
Link: www.chrh.org.au/articles/farewell-and-thank-you-to-peter-matthews-board-chair/



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