Our origins go back to 1974 when local doctors in the Hughesdale area saw a need for a Community Health Service incorporating a social worker, community nursing support service and physiotherapist to assist elderly people living in the Chadstone, Oakleigh and Malvern areas. The Chadstone Paramedical Community Health Centre which was established at that time, and later became known as the Chadstone Community Health Centre.
Waverley Community Health Service commenced in 1975 and also provided support services to the community. In 1996 it merged with the Chadstone Community Health Service to form MonashLink Community Health Service.
In 1997 the Board amalgamated MonashLink with the newly formed Southern Health Care Network. Yet another major change impacted on MonashLink when, following the Duckett Review in May 2000, MonashLink was disaggregated from Southern Health and became the newly independent stand-alone MonashLink Community Health Service. Since that time, MonashLink has experienced significant growth with an increase in revenue of more than 80% since 2001.
In 1976 the Chadstone Paramedical Centre was one of the original parts of what is now known as MonashLink Community Health Service. There were 28 staff employed in the first year and the annual salary budget was $85,000.
Our first Community Health Centre was located on the first floor of the Chadstone Shopping Centre. The establishment of the service was a result of lobbying from the Chadstone Medical Group who required ancillary services for their patients such as physiotherapy, nursing and social work.
The first staff member was receptionist (and later Welfare Worker) Shirley Clarkson. The first manager who served for 10 years was Bob Nash. One of the earlier nursing staff was Anne Leonard, who is currently our diabetes educator.
Services provided grew to include community health nursing, physiotherapy, social work services, adding a family planning clinic (which later became the women's health clinic), volunteer services, occupational therapy and dietetics.
Eventually the number of staff outgrew the premises and plans were made to move to an old two storey building on the corner of Poath Road and Neerim Road in Hughesdale.
The need for a health care centre for the purpose of counselling became apparent to a number of individuals in the Waverley community, and in early 1974 a meeting took place at the home of John and Clarissa O'Meara. Those present saw the need for a Centre where a person in a stressful situation could walk in off the street and receive attention and counselling from experienced professional staff. The meeting resolved to work on the idea of setting up a Social Health Centre.
To this end, after consultation with people associated with community health programs, research was undertaken to verify that such needs did exist in the community.
Following this research a joint application was made in May 1975 to the Hospitals and Health Services Commission, and to the Hospitals and Charities Commission. Funding was sought for one full time, and one part time social worker, a community health nurse and a receptionist for the Waverley Social Health Centre. Funding did not eventuate.
A public meeting of 100 people at Glen Waverley High School on 15th October 1975, unanimously supported the proposal to form the Waverley Social Health Centre, and elected a provisional committee of 16 people. After adoption of a constitution and appointment of trustees, the Hospitals and Charities Commission granted registration of the Waverley Social Health Services Society in December 1975.
During this time, approaches were made to the Waverley City Council regarding accommodation, and the Centre was granted, rent free, use of part of a council house situated at 47 Montclair Avenue, Glen Waverley, next to the Kingsway shops in Glen Waverley and close to Glen Waverley railway station. The house was to be shared with the Waverley Citizens Advice Bureau.
Due to the lack of funding the service opened initially staffed purely by volunteers. Those volunteers, trained Nurses and Social Workers, enabled the centre to open its doors from 9.30am to 3.30pm, weekdays. Volunteers manned the centre from early 1977 until February 1978.
A further approach to the Hospitals and Charities Commission supported by Chadstone Community Health Centre was made in November 1977. This application for a community health nurse, a social worker and a receptionist/typist was approved.
The advent of paid staff did not signal the end of volunteer work at the Social Health Centre. From telephone answering to volunteer driving, they were and still are needed to provide services to those in need.
During 1978, the centre evolved as staff settled in and got to know the community in which it is set. Accurate records of Centre clients were begun.
Groups using the centre began to evolve at this time. The first example of such a group was the formation of "Share", a group of parents of developmentally delayed children.
The setting up of the Centre was made easier by access to Chadstone Community Health Centre's expertise. This included experience in medical records, knowledge of problems in the area and ready access to Chadstone staff members. Chadstone's manager, Robert Nash also took on the role of managing the Waverley Social Health Centre.
In response to public demand for the services provided, the centre expanded. An additional community health nurse was employed at the end of January 1979. Additional funds were received from the Social Welfare Department, to employ a part-time social worker co-ordinator and two part time family aides.
At this time the name changed from Waverley Social Health Centre to Waverley Community Health Centre, to give the public a better idea of the work of the centre.
The concept for this centre started in 1973 when a group of local General Practitioners identified a large number of elderly persons with a variety of unmet needs residing in the Chadstone, Oakleigh and Malvern areas.
Chadstone-Oakleigh Paramedical Community Health Services Centre, the first of a number of designations, was established in May 1975 following a successful submission to the Hospitals and Health Services Commission, Canberra to fund an individual paramedical centre. Contact with private business organisations and approaches to a local municipality had previously been unsuccessful in obtaining funds.
The Caulfield Hospital acted as the centre's 'structural umbrella' with a local General Practitioner having a Medical Advisory role. Centre sub-committees with elected staff members assisted the manager in various capacities during this period.
On 25 July 1978 a Steering Committee was formed for the purpose of having the centre become autonomous and registered in its own right under the Hospital and Charities Act as a Benevolent Society. This Committee worked toward setting realistic goals and objectives and the drawing up of a constitution.
On 30 September 1980 an inaugural meeting was called at which a Constitution was adopted and a provisional Committee of Management was elected. The centre was formally incorporated in June 1983 under the Hospital and Charities Act 1958 and a Committee of Management elected according to the requirements of the Act.
In 1983 the corporate name of the centre became the Chadstone Paramedical Community Health Centre Incorporated.
The centre was initially located in the Chadstone Shopping Centre Professional Suites. However the lack of adequate space in those premises, together with the large geographical area served by the Centre resulted in many services and programs being outreach in character. Over the years these services were conducted in a number of different venues throughout the community including church halls, scout halls, community centres, and an old theatre. The Centre expanded this method of service delivery to meet the developing needs of its communities.
Efforts to obtain premises adjacent to the shopping centre or in the surrounding areas of Malvern were unsuccessful and the Centre moved to Neerim Road, Hughesdale in 1981. This moved was delayed for two years following a fire, which destroyed a large part of the just-refurbished building.
The Centre was at this stage, auspicing the Prince Henry's Hospital Dialysis Unit. The Dialysis unit was transferred to Caulfield Community Care Centre's management at this juncture and the Centre re-grouped in the cramped shopping centre premises until the Neerim Road site was re-built.
In 1987 a $250,000 'Buy a Brick' appeal was launched to raise funds to purchase the adjacent property in Poath Road, to relieve the need for space to conduct programs. This property was eventually purchased in 1989.
Between 1985 and 1987 the centre assisted in the establishment and auspiced Foster Care South East which was located at the Centre until June 1990. The catchment area until July 1993 incorporated parts of five municipalities, Caulfield, Oakleigh, Malvern, Waverley and Camberwell. Formal notification was received in November 1993 advising that from 1 July 1994 the gazetted catchment area of Monash Community Health Centre would be the municipality of Oakleigh.
Following the local government amalgamations in June 1995, Monash Community Health Centre, was included in the Eastern Metropolitan Region in line with the redrawing of the Regional Health and Community Services boundaries.
In August 1995 Monash Community Health Centre was formally approached by the Eastern Metropolitan Region of the Department of Health and Community Services to participate in the redevelopment of community health services in the cities of Monash and Knox in conjunction with Waverley Community Health Centre.
A Steering Committee was established in October 1995 with representation from Monash and Waverley Community Health Centres. In October 1995, the Steering Committee commenced the task of ensuring the establishment of a new reconstituted community health centre for the City of Monash and a new community health centre for the City of Knox.
This was achieved and the new Knox Community Health Service was established in 1996, with the service located in the City of Monash becoming MonashLink Community Health Service.
During 1997, as part of the aggregation of Health Services, MonashLink Community Health Service, along with other services in the catchment became part of the Southern Health Care Network.
Following the election of the Bracks Labor Government in 1999, the existing health care networks were reviewed. This review was led by Professor Stephen Duckett. One result of this review saw the rebirth of MonashLink Community Health Service in July 2000 as a stand alone community health service.
Since this date the service has prospered as it strives to provide high quality services, and can truly celebrate many years of service to the community!