Leading the way in innovation and excellence

St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne has excelled in the St Vincent’s Health Australia Innovation & Excellence Awards, claiming four awards, including the inaugural ‘Deadly’ Award for excellence by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander staff member.  

The Awards were announced at a gala dinner on 8 October, with representatives from across SVHA’s 27 facilities and 20,000 staff. St Vincent’s Melbourne had the most number of award winners and the most number of finalists of any facility in the SVHA group. Melbourne was also the only health service across SVHA to have a finalist in each award category.

CEO Angela Nolan was full of praise for the award winners. ‘It was a great source of pride to see the acknowledgement of all the great work that is being done here,’ she said. ‘I would like to congratulate each of the people involved in these projects and acknowledge their willingness to challenge our traditional way of doing things.’

SVHA Innovation & Excellence Award winners

Transformation Inspired by our Mission

Safe Haven Café – A Safe Haven For All 

SVHA Awards 2019 (3)

The Safe Haven Café, located in the St Vincent’s Art Gallery, represents an alternative to attending the Emergency Department for anyone who may be experiencing difficulties, isolation or loneliness. With 12 months of operation and a doubling in attendance, the café has provided coffee and support to over 1,000 customers, an average of 24 per

Data supports that customers have gained from the experience with many reporting that they would have had to use ED if the café was not available. Others felt an improved sense of social connectedness and a better hospital experience as a result of attending the café.

The SHC model directly influences the power of vulnerable, marginalised, lonely and isolated individuals to direct their own care, find solutions that are related to their needs, whilst building a sense of community connectedness. This allows them to take risks to join their communities and improve their sense of wellbeing.


Clinical Improvement and Innovation

Prescription Opioid Practice Improvement

SVHA Awards 2019 (2)

Reports of prescription opioids causing addiction and overdose deaths feature regularly in the media. The Prescription Opioid Practice Improvement (POPI) project aimed to improve our practice as a hospital when discharging patients with these medications, by developing and implementing an Opioid Prescribing Guideline and education program, as well as improving supportive links between St Vincent’s Addiction Medicine team and primary care.

Audits have shown significant improvements in opioid prescribing practice, including a 50% reduction in the number of opioid tablets prescribed on discharge, improved opioid selection, and improved communication with GP’s on discharge. Following the release of the new guideline in 2019, Stage 2 POPI is applying evidence-based methods to embed this better practice into daily routine to improve safety and health outcomes for patients.


Digital Innovation

Enkey: Australia’s first hospital-wide electronic drugs of dependence management system

SVHA Awards 2019 (4)

This project successfully implemented Australia’s first electronic Drugs of Dependence (including opioids such as oxycodone) management system within a tertiary teaching hospital environment. Paper-based records commonly used to track these drugs are inadequate to meet contemporary management, audit and security needs within a busy complex health environment

The system was developed by end users, making it easy to use, while still fulfilling the strict legislative requirements for handling drugs of dependence. It was first piloted on a surgical ward and is now being progressively deployed across the health service. Enkey was developed collaboratively by Pharmacy, Decision Support Unit and nursing staff and has now been adopted across the majority of the health service and has received strong interest from national and international organisations.


The ‘Deadly’ Award

Andy Brigham

SVHA Awards 2019 (1)

This year an additional award has been added in this category to recognise the inspiring story of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander staff member whose contribution to the community and work of SVHA has been an exemplar of our mission and values. Andy is an outstanding performer and a greatly valued member of the Aboriginal Health team. He is sought after across the hospital for his advocacy, knowledge and support in service of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and their families.