As Dr Jill Wilson steps down as the current Chairperson of the UnitingCare Board, she encouraged the Synod to continue reflecting on the changing nature of UnitingCare.
“This church has an enormous amount to be proud of. The issue now is how we take it forward and what we do with it next.”
Dr Wilson urged the church to think about how it can remain relevant within the community and how health care has and will change in the future.
“How will the services of the future be different to today?” she said as she drew attention to the dedicated UnitingCare staff.
In the last year Blue Care made an average of 5000 community support visits a day to frail elderly people and people with disabilities every day last year.
Lifeline Community Care had over 98 000 calls to their telephone counseling services. The Centre for Social Justice has worked tirelessly in areas including prison release work.
There have been numerous initiatives in palliative care, support for older people, young people and the marginalised.
With countless staff and 6000 volunteers, UnitingCare Director Anne Cross said staff fell a part of more than just a care organisation. “The challenge is having staff able to respond to people on a local level as well as being part of something bigger – the church,” she said.
Ms Cross said work needs to be done on more publicly linking UnitingCare to the Uniting Church.
“We are working to increase visible sings within the community that this is the work of the church. The community doesn’t always associate strong brand names, such as Lifeline and Blue Care, with the work of the church.”
The changing nature of health care in Australia has forced UnitingCare to continue to be at the forefront of innovative care.
“Competition in funding makes it hard to remain a reliable provider of holistic healthcare in the community,” Ms Cross said. “The presence on the church and other not for profit organisations is increasingly important in the market.”
Photo : Dr Jill Wilson