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Shifting Health

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Shifting Health

Mater Health CEO Sean Hubbard shares how Mater is focusing its future on shifting health from illness towards wellness:

“As part of the Springfield community, through Mater Private Hospital Springfield, we have the privilege of engaging in discussion about the future of the communities we serve.

At Mater we benefit from a service delivering quality care to the community over 500 000 times a year and birthing 1 in 7 Queenslanders in our Mater Mothers’ Hospitals and we are still enormously proud of our heritage and the legacy left by the Sisters of Mercy who established the first Mater Private Hospital in 1906 to care for the sick and needy.

The Sisters Mission to meet unmet community need, is still Mater’s Mission today.  Amongst the high volume of patient admissions, we strive to meet unmet community needs and the needs of each individual patient as we know every patient has their own story to tell.

Take Robyn, a former patient of Mater Private Hospital Springfield – Robyn’s story demonstrates the ways in which Mater has shifted health in the community.


There are many elements of Robyn’s story that had an impact on me, and it was only when I spoke to a patient about the Paxman Scalp Cooling System that I understood just how much technology can shift a patient’s experience.

The patient told me that despite the Scalp Cooler feeling like a three hour ‘brain freeze’, it provided her with control in one area of life, in the form of reduced hair loss, when so many other parts of her life were being turned upside-down during cancer treatment.

Similarly, providing a service such as Mater Cancer Care Centre Springfield (MCCCS) provides patients with a local treatment option, reducing travel and significantly reducing the impact of illness on their everyday life.  While this is incredibly important, the feedback we receive from our patients at Springfield identifies that it is Mater’s value of ‘care’ that leaves a lasting impression on our patients:  


“Mater Springfield was different than most medical experiences because they look at the whole person—not just diagnosis and treatment. They are very patient and understanding and treat you like a feeling person not just a body to be processed.  When I talk to people about my journey with MCCCS and my cancer diagnosis I talk about the friends I made. They are no longer a radiation oncologist, nurse or radiation tech – I will continue to drop in and see my wonderful friends. They are an incredible group of people and I'm so very appreciative of their help in my cancer journey” - Walter

“As you know, cancer and cancer treatment is an incredibly trying time for patients both physically and mentally. You and your staff have made the gruelling process almost enjoyable. You have listened to me, spent time with me, and made me feel like I was your only patient. Your “bedside manner” is so intelligent and compassionate….. I applaud you and thank you. You and your staff have made a difference in my life. To have chemo, I cannot imagine a better facility than Mater Cancer Care Springfield. The private chemo suites with comfortable chairs and pillows and warm blankets only added to my positive experience, and a free car parking only few minutes from home. From scheduling to injections, vitals to excellent nursing care – you have a five star facility to be proud of for certain. Thank you for all of your loving care.” - Jennifer


So how do we develop Mater so that we can continue to meet the needs of the community into the next decade and shift health by design?

Through clinical services planning we have a good understanding of the services required in all communities in which we participate: women’s health is a cornerstone of what we do; we have a growing neuroscience service; our age-friendly services will continue to allow us to deliver age-relevant care; and lastly, we are committed to a greater focus on healthy living. 

Facilities are one thing, but we are looking to redefine the experience of our patients, their loved ones and Mater People in delivering this care.

As in Robyn’s experience, we need to understand our patient’s individual story, ideally combining this with precision medicine informed by Artificial Intelligence, where appropriate.

We hope to engage with the community in moments of health need while also working towards keeping a community well, through health education.

On a personal note, I often reflect on the story of my own father who developed colon cancer and passed away at age 67.  My father wasn’t being screened and I often reflect on this: how do we ensure that we educate and treat our community wherever they are and whenever they are in need?   Mater is striving to answer these questions, and many more, in order to continue Mater’s Mission to meet community need.”

Sean Hubbard
Chief Executive Officer