27 October 2022

Griffith Base Hospital welcomes sixth general manager in four years

| Oliver Jacques
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Griffith Base Hospital sign

Griffith Base Hospital has had a high turnover of general managers. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Another day, another boss at Griffith Base Hospital.

On 21 October, the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) announced experienced health leader Joanne Garlick will be the new permanent general manager of the health facility that services about 80,000 people in the region.

The former cluster manager for the Young, Harden, Boorowa and West Wyalong Health Services had been acting in the Griffith role since June 2022.

“I’m delighted to announce this appointment as it promises a strong and experienced leader and a secure future for Griffith Base Hospital,” MLHD chief executive Jill Ludford said.

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“Ms Garlick is an experienced health leader who has operationally managed our Hilltops cluster for some years. She has demonstrated strong skills in operationalising strategic directions for the MLHD to improve patient experience and patient outcomes.”

Joanne Garlick

New GM Joanne Garlick. Photo: Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

The newcomer will be the sixth person to lead the hospital in less than four years, during which time a major redevelopment has been taking place.

In February 2019, Liz Harford suddenly resigned from the position and was quickly succeeded by interim manager Marianne Warren, who took the reins for two months.

In May 2019, Greg Brylski was made the permanent GM but by January 2021 he had resigned, later taking up a new position at Calvary Riverina Hospital in Wagga. He was replaced temporarily by Beck Hudson, who acted in the role for two months.

In July 2021, Suchit Handa was announced as the new permanent boss, but he lasted less than a year, resigning in June 2022, when Ms Garlick took over.

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Local health advocate Brendan Catanzariti welcomed the new leader to the role and his town. But with hospital bosses lasting about as long as British prime ministers, he also called for some stability.

“I hope this is not a short-term solution to a long-term problem,” he said.

“We’ve had a carousel of general managers. I hope they’re also going to address the issues that caused the previous four to resign … our community deserves better.”

Griffith Base Hospital construction work

Work is underway to redevelop the hospital. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Ms Ludford said the new boss would focus on restoring the hospital’s broken-bones services, which had not been provided for several years.

“Ms Garlick has also progressed the formal arrangements for ophthalmology and orthopaedic surgeries to be ongoing at Griffith Base Hospital,” she said.

An MLHD press release states Ms Garlick began work with the MLHD in 2014 and has an excellent understanding of the Murrumbidgee region and the priorities of the organisation. She has held a range of senior-level management positions and holds formal qualifications in nursing, health science and management.

The redevelopment of Griffith Base Hospital was first announced by the NSW Government in 2017. The project includes a new three-storey clinical services building featuring an emergency department, aged-care and rehabilitation beds, operating theatres and medical imaging. It is expected to be complete by 2025.

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