JIM BIRCH AM, BOARD DIRECTOR | Little Company of Mary Health Care Ltd

headshot of man with glasses and bald head in front of blue background

When reflecting on the past year of governing the work of Calvary Health Care, I am struck by how our people have continued to deliver high quality care to those we serve in communities across Australia in hospitals, aged care, home care and virtually, while facing various external challenges that have forever altered how our organisation operates on a daily basis.

The healthcare sector has been confronting an obvious headwind for the last three years with the COVID-19 pandemic directly impacting our day-to-day operations. However, that single global crisis has manifested into a series of challenges putting multiple pressures on the delivery of health services. In our short-term and long-term decision-making we are not alone in having to continuously consider and resolve workforce shortages, funding models, regulatory governance, cyber security, artificial intelligence applications, rising infrastructure costs, and the demands from an ageing population for complex and coordinated health services.

All of these external factors have a significant impact on how we continue to sustain our mission of being for others. Our focus is on making strategic decisions to positively enable high quality, integrated care, underpinned by an innovative and dedicated workforce, supported by essential, contemporary and resilient infrastructure and technology. When managing uncontrollable influences our priorities sometimes shift, but even when considering budgetary constraints and regulatory frameworks we are emboldened by those who make up our organisation and remain committed to our Strategic Intent.

The Board has proudly supported the ongoing investment into our facilities, and it was truly wonderful to see the official opening of Calvary Kooyong, a brand new home to Calvary Bethlehem’s specialised hospital care alongside residential aged care and independent living.  The Kooyong Precinct embodies our commitment to the ageing population and enabling them to age in place. We also continue to work with partners in South Australia and Tasmania on proposed private hospital infrastructure.

The Board is also mindful of the workforce shortage and funding model challenges associated with implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Calvary is doing an outstanding job to meet these changes.

Of course, it is impossible for the Board to not be saddened by the end of our 44-year history of delivering care at the Calvary Public Hospital Bruce, and subsequently Clare Holland House. The ACT Government’s decision to acquire the hospital, its operations and land, to build a new hospital without us; despite our open and transparent commitment to delivering and operating the future service, has been difficult to accept.

The public discourse that preceded and followed that announcement sparked controversial debates about the role of faith-based organisations in the delivery of public health care. We are cognisant of the sentiments shared by some flowing into other areas of the health landscape and across our services; particularly reproductive choice and voluntary assisted dying. We will continue to be actively engaged in defending the role of faith-based organisations in contemporary health settings, and supporting our people while staying true to our vision and values.

I thank our patients, residents and clients, and their families and carers, for continuing to put their trust in Calvary to provide them care at their most vulnerable moments in life. The Board has an unwavering appreciation for our people who continually strive to deliver care in our hospitals, residential age care centres, and also within peoples’ own homes. The letters and feedback of gratitude are heart-warming, and consistently reveal the strong connection Calvary people have with those they serve.

We also thank those who support our people. This includes the committed volunteers and auxiliaries, the inspiring leaders across the organisation, and the outstanding guidance of the National Executive Leadership Team and in National Chief Executive Officer, Martin Bowles.

Finally, I wish to acknowledge the counsel of the Calvary Ministries Trustees, led by the Honourable Michael Lee, as well as my fellow Board members for another year of commitment to the important work of the Little Company of Mary Health Care.


Jim Birch AM


Little Company of Mary Health Care Limited


The LCMHC Board of Directors is accountable to Calvary Ministries Trustee Board. Meet Calvary’s Board of Directors here.