December 14, 2022

Northern Health staff celebrating years of service

Today, Northern Health celebrated the achievements of our long-serving staff as part of the 2022 Staff Service Awards.

Four hundred and forty-nine staff were recognised for achieving between 10 and 45 years of service, with many of our staff providing dedicated service since the days of PANCH and across our mental health sites. Combined, these staff have contributed over 7,000 years of service to Northern Health, a truly remarkable achievement.

More than 250 staff watched on as their colleagues celebrated significant work milestones, with many staff sending messages of congratulations during the event through the virtual chat. The ceremony also featured a series of throwback videos that highlighted major events of that year.

Michelle Fenwick, Executive Director, People and Culture, opened the virtual ceremony, by acknowledging all staff for their great work.

“Our annual Staff Service Awards provide us with a unique opportunity to thank and celebrate hard working and dedicated staff who are on the front line each and every day, saving lives and keeping our community safe and healthy,” she said.

“We have over 7,500 staff working across Northern Health, with the inclusion of mental health staff who joined us in July this year. It is great to see how our health service has continued to grow – expanding the range of services we provide to the communities of Melbourne’s northern suburbs.”

Five recipients have been with Northern Health the longest, celebrating 40 and 45 years. Susan Short, Rhonda Lark, Freda Kotsios and Jeanette Kamar celebrated an incredible 40 years of service. Helen Milevski celebrated an amazing 45 years of dedicated service.

Belinda Scott, Executive Director, Mental Health, presented Helen with her award and a beautiful bunch of flowers. After accepting her award, Helen spoke on the positive changes mental health has endured over the past 45 years.

“There have been huge changes, and a lot of changes. I am very proud to say I have worked in healthcare, mainly mental health, and the 45 years in mental health have been a rollercoaster,” Helen said.

“When I started in 1977, I remember the stigma of mental health and I have seen the changes, the progress, the facilities that are available now for people to go to get help. I am so grateful to work in a team to provide a great service. We have excellent clinicians, beautiful people and wonderful colleagues. We all have to remember we are a team – we cannot achieve anything and provide proper care to our clients and patients without the support of each other.”

“We have to help each other and take the time and say to ourselves, ‘are we okay?’ before we take care of other people.”

Debra Bourne, Chief Operating Officer, Wanda Stelmach, Chief Medical Officer, Pina Di Donato, Executive Director, Public Affairs and Foundation, Anthony Gust, Executive Director Digital Health, Jason Cirone, Chief Allied Health Officer and Basil Ireland, Chief Finance Officer, together with Belinda and Michelle, presented the awards for the 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40-year recipients.

Michelle closed the ceremony by reading a message on behalf of Siva Sivarajah, Chief Executive.

“I am proud to be part of an organisation with such a rich history, and whose staff are so dedicated, passionate and hard working,” Michelle read.

“I would like to extend an enormous thank you to all of our staff here at Northern Health. As we move towards the end of another year, on behalf of the Board and Executive, I wish you a happy and safe festive season.”

Congratulations to all our recipients today!

To watch the full ceremony, please click here.

Featured imaged: Belinda Scott, Executive Director Mental Health, and Helen Milevski.

Helen with her daughter Meri
Helen and Belinda during the ceremony