TDHS farewells long-serving board member Josh McKenzie

TDHS farewells long-serving board member Josh McKenzie

One of Timboon and District Healthcare Service’s (TDHS) longest serving board members, Josh McKenzie, has ended his tenure with a heartfelt community message.

“In the ever-increasing world of globalisation and this notion that ‘doing things bigger is doing them better’, we should expect challenges to come for our health service,” he said.

“We need to protect our partnerships, we need to keep partnering for the right reasons and that is our consumer outcomes and our quality of care – not our finances.

“At the core of everything we do – if we have people at heart, we can’t go wrong and TDHS will continue to bat above its average for many, many years to come.”

Mr McKenzie was 29 when he was convinced to join the Board of Directors at Timboon and District Healthcare Service (TDHS). He remained on the board 16 years and was the most recent past chair before handing the reins to Maryanne Puli Vogels in 2017.

In 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services introduced a nine-year maximum tenure on Victorian hospital boards. At the request of Ms Puli Vogels, the Government agreed to two extensions that allowed Mr McKenzie to stay until June 30 this year.

“Josh has been a shining light for the community and was involved in every TDHS committee and was our board chair,” Ms Puli Vogels said.

“We were fortunate to have held onto Josh for so long. The department thankfully saw the value of Josh’s history with TDHS and allowed two extensions.

“He has been in so many roles and continues to mentor others. He is an active member of many other committees and we are grateful he has devoted so much time to represent the community on the TDHS Board.  I have personally experienced his support and mentoring firsthand as I transitioned to board chair in 2017.

“Josh, we are extremely grateful for your dedication and commitment. Thank you from all of us at TDHS – the board, staff and community.”

Mr McKenzie, a chemical engineer and the current general manager at Lochard Energy’s Iona gas plant, said his former teacher Michael Broomhall instigated his time on the board.

“Our families knew each other well and at the time recruitment was all word of mouth. He gave me a cold call…I’d never considered it, or even thought of it for that matter.

“I was working at Glaxo Smith Kline in Port Fairy at the time. Michael was vice president at TDHS, Richard McVilly was chair…there was a lot of wisdom, care and compassion in that group (pictured below) and I suppose I fitted in being a bit younger and heavily tied to the region.”

Mr McKenzie said he thought it would be one term, but the involvement got into his blood, the challenges became personal and he found himself heavily invested.

“I grew up being treated for every cut and bump at the Timboon hospital and two of my kids were born there. Their services are so critical to this region,” he said.

“For me, our ability to flex depending on community needs is a wonderful part of being one of only seven Multi Purpose Services in Victoria. It’s a model we must protect for our community because it works so well for us and to change it would be inappropriate.

“We don’t know what’s around the corner…I don’t think we’ll ever feel like our future is set in stone, so if I could ask one thing it would be for everyone to use the wonderful services at TDHS as much as possible and benefit from all the hard work done to have them.”

Mr McKenzie said GP attraction and retention had always been an issue of concern during his 16 years on the board and he was proud the organisation had moved with the times.

“I think things like mental health have dramatically changed what organisations like TDHS need to offer. All allied health for that matter has been about servicing current community needs, whether that’s speech, dietitians, social work, physios, dental or any number of other current priorities and that’s something we can be very proud of,” he said.

“Our professionalism is much better now, our relationships with the Government and departments are significantly better, especially now with Bek (chief executive officer Rebecca Van Wollingen) and I think our governance in terms of strategic work is spot on.

“But, if I could thank only one group of people it’s the volunteers. They are the heroes, along with the staff, and we would not be here without them.”

  • Sue Wilson
    Posted at 18:44h, 22 July Reply

    Huge thanks to you Josh and your commitment to our Hospital!! So proud of you and all your achievements!!

  • Min Molan
    Posted at 15:16h, 23 July Reply

    Wow, well done Josh ❤️

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