CEO Report

CEO’s Report: Sue Andrews

Gurriny Yealamucka is a local Gungganghi name which means “Good Healing”. 

Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service is located on the lands of Traditional Owners, the Gunggandji People of Yarrabah & pays its respect to the elders past & present. It is because of the vision of the Elders to see a Community Control Health Service that is responsive to the desires of the Yarrabah people that Gurriny is still thriving today. I am proud of the Gurriny teams not only have they worked hard this year but we have the health data to show this as well. Key to these great achievements is two things: 

  1. Good staff who take the time to develop relationships with the patients; and,
  2. A Community of people who are open and trusting of the service to look after and care for them. 

This year’s Annual Report already includes some of our health data but I would like to highlight the huge increases in health checks – over 50% of kids have had their annual health check and 70% of adults. This is a great achievement and an important part of taking responsibility for the health of ourselves, our children, families and community – WELL DONE. We continue to be savvy using social media such a Twitter and FaceBook to keep the community informed of Gurriny’s business as well as producing our bi-monthly newsletter, ‘Gurriny News’. 

This year The Board of Directors recognised the importance of setting up a health scholarship to financially support Yarrabah people who are already studying or thinking of taking up studies in the health field. The annual scholarship is to the value of $15,000. For more information about this, contact Gurriny. 

It is evident that through our programs we are seeing our Model of Care improve coordination between clinic and social health as well as an increase in allied health services. It is because of this multidisciplinary team that Gurriny is able to achieve outstanding health data results as well as address the burden of disease in Yarrabah. 

There are National Key Performance Indicators (nKPI’s) that Gurriny has to report against every year. All the Community Controlled Health Servicer’s are required to complete these reports. I am very proud to inform you that Gurriny’s hard work is paying off with most of the nKPI’s already being met. The areas we do need to improve on are around helping people to quit smoking, better manage their health around lifestyle change and helping people with high blood pressure to reduce their levels. Workforce development is ongoing and a very important part of the business of Gurriny. 

We are undergoing a workforce development strategy that will support service delivery and growth of the organisation. This included a number of new positions and the splitting up of some areas. A strategic direction of Gurriny is staff development across all program areas and this year Clinical Educator and Social & Emotional Wellbeing Educator positions were designed into our new structure. These roles provide mentoring, professional support and ongoing supervision (if required) to our staff to build capacity, and carry out their duties accordingly. 

One key area of focus is to help staff to incorporate the skills they learn from attending and completing courses. A number of our staff this year have benefited from training and successfully completed courses at Certificate, Diploma and Bachelor levels and I congratulate them for their efforts. Earlier this year our Strategic Plan was reviewed and updated following two workshops in March with the Board of Directors and the Senior Management Team. At the workshops, the inclusion of an additional Strategic Intent was discussed and approved. “Gurriny is a community-led organisation that will engage and communicate in a way that is guided by the principles of the Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples”. 

The key objectives for this Strategic Intent were Compensation Benefits & Training, Culture & Diversity, Culture Mentoring, Understanding Community Control and Aboriginal Holistic Health Care. Our Senior Management Team have taken all of our Strategic Intents and developed an Annual Operational Business Plan to continue to progress these directions set by the Board. It was a busy year of audits to maintain our accreditations, keeping everyone busy and I offer full credit to the team at Gurriny for successfully achieving these outcomes. Gurriny has now been re-accredited for both Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited (AGPAL) and the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organisation. Accreditation is a very important requirement of our funders and the best way to make sure we have best practice systems and processes within the organisation. There are always challenges and this year high on that list is the governments focus on funding services to deliver programs regionally. 

Yarrabah has been included in the “southern catchment” area, which means that we are bunched together with places like Woree, White Rock, Edmonton, Mt Sheridan, Gordonvale etc. Our community is large and it is not always appropriate for service providers that are not from Yarrabah coming in to deliver services here. 

I am continuing to advocate on behalf of our community, in the health area, the need to recognise Yarrabah on its own and not as part of a region because we have unique needs and many of our local solutions do not fit into the way outside organisations work. Gurriny continues to navigate through health reforms for primary health, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and aged care and the impacts it has on our people here in Yarrabah. We will continue to work together with other service providers such as Phams and Mutkin to make sure we have the best services available for our mob. 

This year also saw Gurriny celebrate its formal 25 year gala dinner and it was exciting to see everyone who were part of the journey join us to mark this significant milestone & remember those who were part of the struggle and have now passed on. 

It is important I formally recognise and appreciate the people of Yarrabah, who are our consumers. Thank you for having the trust and confidence in our health service and our staff. I would also like to congratulate Dr Kingsley Pearson on being award Doctor of the year by the North Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN). What amazing recognition for his commitment to Indigenous health as well as Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services and the community of Yarrabah itself. Lastly, I want to thank the Chair and our Board of Directors for having the confidence in myself as the CEO and our Senior Management Team and staff for their hard work, dedication and support over the past year.