Hands-on approach from new CEO

Sharon Kemp | Bendigo Weekly | 20-Dec-2017

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THE first thing new Bendigo Health chief executive Peter Faulkner will tell you is that he doesn’t spend much time in his office.

“Come in and do a quick few emails and then nick off and do something else,” Mr Faulkner said just days into his new role.

“I get out and about and interact with staff and patients and I certainly have tried to make myself very available and accessible to staff and some of the ways to do that is to go to where they are rather than expect them to come to you.”

Mr Faulkner is already a familiar presence in the position, having acted as chief executive since February when his predecessor stood aside pending the results of a Bendigo Health board investigation. The public got some insight into the ways of doing things at the hospital, particularly associated with the building of the new $630 million facility.

In March, the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission released a report focussing on the behaviour of Mr Mulder and construction manager Adam Hardinge, who had already fronted court.

Mr Mulder was never charged with profiting from Bendigo Health resources that IBAC accused him of.

Mr Faulkner certainly was aware of the fall out for the organisation’s staff.

“There is always that kind of reflection on everybody and we all felt that, including myself,” he said.

But the government and the board had confidence in the leadership of the organisation to get on with it (after Mr Mulder stood aside).

“I think that was a very important step in demonstrating confidence.”

The solution, according to Mr Faulkner, is to make himself accessible enough for staff to tell him anything.

“The need for our staff to believe that the organisation they are working for is an organisation of integrity is just so vitally important,” he said.

“Our staff represent three to four per cent of the population in Bendigo, so they are important ambassadors for us as well as representatives of the community.

“I think we have seen a shift and we have also done some very formal things about improving our structures and processes and providing a strong framework to prevent any fraudulent or corrupt activity.

“But it really comes down to the people in the first instance, and the culture, and if we have that right, that will be transparent to the community and our community will have confidence and faith in us.

“The reality is that most people who touch our services, patients and visitors, have a positive experience, in the main, and we see many tens of thousands of people every year.”

With brand new infrastructure, there are major changes ahead for Bendigo which includes adjusting its scope out to the broader region that comprises its catchment area.

 

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