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21 Barclay Street, Heywood, VIC, 3304


Heywood Rural Health (HRH) held its 2022 Annual General Meeting on Friday 17th February 2023, with the Board of Directors presenting a strong position in terms of finance and services, with plenty of growth and projects for the coming year.

Board Chair, Karyn Cook and CEO, Leigh Parker gave their reports on the 2021/2022 financial year to around 50 residents, clients, community members and local healthcare industry representatives in the Community Health Moorayt room, which was added to the facility at the end of the 2021.

Deputy Chair, Lauren Easson will be leaving the Board at the end of June after a three year term, with annual Board interviews underway and awaiting Ministerial announcement in June 2023.

In the Chairs report, Karyn Cook said the previous financial year had been very challenging with the pandemic restrictions and staffing issues and was a relief to move on from, but promised a “very rewarding year ahead”.

With the completion of a master plan and hopes of submitting a business case to government for funding of a new 45 bed residential aged care facility. There is plenty of land at Heywood Rural Health, but we’ve never had a master plan in the past which was commissioned to focus on addressing our infrastructure shortfalls and making sure that we have got a good submissions for grants and funding opportunities.

Leigh Parker, CEO spoke about the expansion of the services beyond the Heywood site itself, including district nursing partnerships and the possibility of expanding the Home Care Packages program, after demand increased threefold over the period the 2021-2022 financial year.

HRH currently services clients in Heywood, Nelson, Dartmoor, Tyrendarra and Portland under the Home Care Packages program and with changes to the healthcare system to work through the pandemic with remote work have “opened a world of possibilities”.

After the meeting Karyn thanked the staff for their dedication in getting HRH through the difficult times through the pandemic, and said there was plenty of work ahead to improve the facilities and recognise that HRH need to put a lot of emphasis into the aging infrastructure.

There has been some refurbishments of some of the residential aged care facilities, but the original hospital is not fit for purpose, and we need to become more contemporary.

Karyn said HRH had an appetite to expand the Home Care Packages, with a number of local clients looking for a new provider following the Glenelg Shire Council’s expected decision to stop providing the services.

Karyn believes HRH has an opportunity to become a leader in the region….geographically we’ve already got a big reach and I think we are really becoming the organisation of choice.

HRH were extremely honoured to have Melissa (Milly) Tapper as guest speaker who shared her journey as a world renowned table tennis athlete.

Milly is a local to this region growing up in Hamilton with her family and now resides in Melbourne with her husband.

Milly is a 2 x Olympian, making history in 2016 as the first Australian athlete to qualify for both the Olympics and Paralympics in the same year.

Some of her impressive accolades also include:

  • 3 x Paralympian and silver medallist at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics Games.
  • 2 x Commonwealth Games representative, winning bronze in 2014 and gold in 2018.
  • 2 x World championship bronze medallist.

In 2019 Milly was named the Victorian Female Athlete of the year alongside the likes of Cathy Freeman, Kim Brennan and Kirstie Marshall.

Last year, Milly began working at Ernst & Young as a consultant in the People Advisory Services, and is now in the process of creating her own athletic everyday wear brand with a percentage of every sale going towards equipment for children living with a disability.

Milly inspired us all to follow our dreams regardless of the hurdles ahead and never give up your goals.

Heywood Rural Health also presented two new Life Governorships to Max Oberlander and Phil Saunders, congratulations to both very deserving recipients.

The 2021-2022 Annual Report is available on our Website:

To watch the recording of the Annual General Meeting please go to link: