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Healing the sick

UnitingCare Health Director of Mission Rev Robyn Kidd (right) with St. Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital Intensive Care Unit nurse Julie Goodfruit. Photo courtesy of UCH
EXCELLENCE IN health care and promoting the health of our patients and the good of the community is part of the work of God in the world. I believe that is what we do at UnitingCare Health (UCH).

Having worked in the healthcare system for almost ten years, I am grateful for our standards and access to medical care.

Through insight, wisdom, and the excellent stewardship of previous and current leaders, UnitingCare Health is able to provide acute healthcare services to our community and beyond.

The Uniting Church currently owns and operates five hospitals in South East Queensland through UnitingCare Health – St Stephen’s Hospitals in Maryborough and Hervey Bay, Sunshine Coast Private Hospital at Buderim, St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital in Brisbane, and The Wesley Hospital in Brisbane.

UCH has around 1200 beds (17% of hospital beds in Queensland), employs over 3500 staff, and has around 1000 volunteers. UCH believes that everyone should have access to healthcare and have a choice about where they access that care. It is a false perception that our care is only offered to the wealthy, those who can fund their treatment or afford health insurance.

We need to take the risk of being different, that is having our Gospel as our travel guide, not as an end point. Our theology must inform the care we offer and all of our services must meet missional imperatives.

We work closely with our colleagues in other faith-based, not-for-profit healthcare groups, and are a voice and advocate for healthcare at state and federal levels.

We actively seek ways in which UnitingCare agencies can work together for the benefit of our community, such as the financial counselling Lifeline Community Care provide to our patients and their families within The Wesley Hospital.

We also work with Queensland Health to lift the burden from the overloaded public system, and the University of Queensland to assist with medical student placements. Another exciting project is our participation in organ transplant reform as part of the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority.

UCH actively supports the Helena Goldie Hospital in the Solomon Islands through a relief and development program which provides teaching and training. This program provides a vehicle for the further enhancement of the United Church in the Solomon Island’s mission to provide a healing ministry to its people.

Some of our mission is not easily visible and does not result in direct service delivery, but through advocacy and the support of those who do provide direct services. Chaplaincy is the more visible expression of our mission day-to-day. Our chaplains provide an incredible ministry to those who need our services and their families as well as staff.

Many staff, patients and families have no experience of church and it is a privilege to express the love and compassion of God to them. We should never underestimate the power of active chaplaincy.

Creating stronger links amongst presbyteries, congregations and the hospitals is important to UCH and this year I will endeavour to engage in a more intentional way.

We need to be in conversation with one another because we are all in this ministry together and UnitingCare Health is one part of the Church continuing the healing ministry of Jesus.

All that we provide supports our intention to make our healing God present to the people we care for.

Photo : UnitingCare Health Director of Mission Rev Robyn Kidd (right) with St. Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital Intensive Care Unit nurse Julie Goodfruit. Photo courtesy of UCH