The history of Vimy House Private Hospital goes back for more than a century, from its original premises at 25 Queens Road, Melbourne, to its current location in Kew. It has been 10 years since St Vincent’s Private acquired Vimy House. Prior to its redevelopment by St Vincent’s, Vimy House had 40 beds and 65 staff. Now in 2018, the hospital has 56 beds, a theatre suite with four operating rooms, as well as onsite radiography and pathology services.
To commemorate this 10th anniversary of having Vimy under our stewardship, I got one of our dedicated, long serving staff who has been part of Vimy’s history to share her story. Here’s Joy Miller’s story… enjoy!
I started working at Vimy House in 1983 as a Perioperative Scrub, after I had completed an operating management course. At that time we were a two theatre unit and owned by the Tramway Employees’ Mutual Benefit Society (TBS). Three months later I was offered the role of Associate Nurse Unit Manager.
Vimy House Private Hospital was sold in 2002. Its new owners, Vimy Business Pty Ltd, claimed to have plans for further redevelopment of the facilities. During this time the house next door was purchased, with the intention of becoming consulting rooms.
In my time at Vimy we underwent two renovations, one of which provided a third theatre.
It eventually became more apparent that it was financially very difficult for hospitals that did not have the support of a large organisation to survive. This was a very unsettling time for all the staff. Uncertain if we would stay open, if we could keep our jobs, and where would we go if not. I remember our supplies being at very low levels and often hoping we would have what was required. There were a lot of rumours that we would become a rehab or psych hospital, or worse case, closed for good.
Then the news came through that we were to be purchased by St Vincent’s & Mercy Private Hospital, to become their third campus! This was met with some relief, but also some anxiety as to what this change would mean. I personally was thrilled that we were to become part of a larger organisation, with all the benefits that came with it.
The official date of purchase was the 2nd of June 2008, and the very next day renovation works began, turning us into a four theatre complex.
St Vincent’s management met with all the staff to reassure them that this was a very positive move forward and that everything would remain the same for them. We would have newer, bigger, brand new facilities, with all the opportunities and support of a large organisation. Very quickly Vimy Private was welcomed into the St Vincent’s Private family, with all that was promised and more. We were suddenly able to resource and purchase much needed equipment and were given many opportunities for staff education and very importantly much needed support. It was a very exciting time.
Along the way a name change was decided hence we’re now called St Vincent’s Private Hospital Kew. Although many of the older staff members, including myself, were sad about this change, it enabled us to be instantly recognised as part of the St Vincent’s Private Hospital group.
St Vincent’s Private is a well-known name in the community and is instantly recognised as a catholic hospital which provides excellent patient care. I am very proud to be part of such a well-respected health provider. In particular, being part of an organisation which is not for profit, which reinvests any proceeds to assist in the growth of our facilities.
Today, I’m a Nurse Unit Manager of the Operating Suite at Kew, a role which I very much enjoy. I feel very fortunate to be able to continue to develop my skills through the many opportunities provided by St Vincent’s Private.