February 28, 2023

We Are Northern: This is Support Services

At Northern Health, Support Services is the behind-the-scenes team that keep our health service functioning through cleaning, food service, waste management and so much more.

Support Services has a total of 380 EFT employees across four campuses, with the majority of staff based at Northern Hospital, followed by Broadmeadows Hospital, Bundoora Centre and Craigieburn Centre.

Amongst the hundreds of dedicated Support Services staff across our health service, is Ljuba Vulic.

Ljuba has been with the department for almost 50 years and is a valued member of the team.

“I love working with people, both staff and patients. I am very passionate about helping patients and the support I get from my manager and my colleagues keeps me coming to work every day. We are like one big family here,” she said.

“I first started working at Greenvale Geriatric Centre in 1973. Once Greenvale closed, I got relocated to Broadmeadows Hospital and have been here ever since. I worked for many years in the Palliative Care Unit before they relocated it to Northern Hospital. I used to work half-shifts between the kitchen and the wards, now I just work as a Patient Service Assistant (PSA).”

 The pandemic has had a huge impact on health services across Victoria, and for the Support Services team here at Northern Health, it brought many challenges, as well as achievements.

“We have become experts at flipping wards on very short notice,” said Greg Warman, Director Support Services.

“We transitioned all our cleaners and PSAs to heightened precautions for cleaning, in particular cleaning of high touch wards and public areas, including car parks and pay machines.”

During this time, the team provided ad-hoc COVID-19 cleaning services to all areas 24/7, as well as PPE spotters on each of the COVID wards and ED.

The department also provided staff for the Concierge Service and facilitated night meals to staff, as part of the State Government’s support for the healthcare workforce in recognition of ongoing demand pressures during the pandemic.

“To be honest, there wouldn’t be a hospital if any of the support service functions were to cease. No food delivered, no cleaning, no waste collection, no bed sheets or blankets,” said Greg.

“The Support Service staff are crucial in ensuring the health service provides safe and timely care to our patients.”

With Northern Health’s continuous growth over the years, the Support Services team has been involved in all the changes to date, such as opening the Main Ward Block in 2021 and relocating Day Oncology in 2022. The team assisted with setting up the wards ready to accept patients and moving patients into the wards.

The Support Services team is also working with the design teams for the expanded services at the Craigieburn Centre and the new Whittlesea Community Hospital.

Thank you to all our Support Services staff for all that you do for Northern Health!

Pictured the Support Services Management Team (from left to right): Saj Amerasinghe, Wendy Nicol, Greg Warman, Deb Clark, Steve Carnell, Sandra Molinaro, Miguel Barras