Mr John Smith

John Smith

John gained a Graduate Diploma in Health Services Management and a Master in Health Administration at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

Prior to joining the health industry he gained business experience in banking, a stock and station agency and with a Trustee company.

John was Chief Executive Officer of the Nhill Hospital for thirty years and was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the West Wimmera Health Service when the Jeparit, Kaniva and Nhill Hospitals merged to form the West Wimmera Health Service and was been reappointed to that position at each subsequent merger.

He was elected to the Division 4 Council of The Victorian Hospitals’ Association in 1974. The beginning of a long and beneficial partnership. He was Chairman of that Council, now Division 3 Council from 1988 to 2002.

In December 1993, John was elected Chairman of The Victorian Hospitals’ Association Honorary Board of Directors, the first district hospital Chief Executive Officer to hold that position.

He led the Association through a dramatic restructure and was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Victorian Healthcare Association in November 1995 and continued in that position until November 1997. He remains on the Board of Directors as one of two representatives of Division 3 Council and of its Finance Trading Sub Committee.

John was appointed President of AHHA from 1997 to 2000.

He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Victorian Hospitals Industrial Association to which he was appointed in 1993.

His rural expertise gained him a place on the Executive Committee of the Co-ordinating Unit for Rural Health Education Victoria from 1995 – 97.

This group honoured John by awarding him the inaugural Rural Health Award for Significant Achievement in May 1999.

John has gained enormous experience serving on many State and Federal Committees. His knowledge of the health industry and in particular rural health issues has earned him a place on working parties to advise the Government of the time.

John has been a surveyor for the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards since 1982 and as such has surveyed hospitals Australia wide and also in New Zealand.

In 1991 John was one of four Victorians awarded a Public Service Medal in the Australia Day Honors – a proud achievement.

He has a wealth of knowledge he willingly shares with those who seek his counsel and his determination for rural communities to have equitable access to quality health services is unarguable. Working and living in the Wimmera, a four hour drive to Melbourne has never deterred him from accepting positions on committees and working groups to further the cause of rural health services.

In this light he has taken every opportunity to represent the views and the needs of communities to peak bodies and government representatives and in doing so has gained the utmost respect of his adversaries as well as his allies.

Outside the health industry, John is a Past President of the Nhill Golf Club.

He led the club through the massive project of transforming the Nhill Golf Course from a sandscrape course to a course with eighteen superb undulating greens – a project undertaken by the club members and completed in two summers! Golfers will appreciate that feat.   

He was a Councillor of the Shire of Lowan until the restructure of Local Government in Victoria in 1994.

In August 1985 John was awarded a Commerce and Industry Award by the Lowan Shire Council in recognition of his contribution to the community.

A cricket enthusiast, he was a Wimmera Cricket Zone delegate to the Victorian Country Cricket League.

He is a member of the Committee of the Nhill Football Club and has worked tirelessly to support the Club in its efforts to restructure and to become a force in Wimmera football.

There is no doubt that John Smith has the interests of rural communities at heart and works with the utmost commitment to ensure that their future is assured.

West Wimmera Health Service

Established in 1995 to provide sustainable health services to three rural communities in North West Victoria, West Wimmera Health Service is an example of successful partnering for mutual benefits.

Today the Service has seven facilities in six communities dispersed throughout 17,000 square kilometres of isolated rural Victoria. As individual services most would not have survived the rapid growth in demand for health services or the increasing complexity of care delivery and management.

Each facility has its own history as well as strong community and consumer support and as a united service we also have the benefits which accrue from sharing knowledge and resources and developing strong networks.

With clarity of vision we have focussed on health and welfare needs and now deliver an exceptional range of services which have improved the health status and quality of life for our communities.

The communities of Nhill, Kaniva, Jeparit, Rainbow, Goroke and Natimuk now receive the full range of services available from West Wimmera Health Service and we have opened Iona Nursing Home, the ‘New” Kaniva and Jeparit Hospitals and will open the ‘New’ Natimuk and Rainbow Hospitals in November and December this year.

And the highlight of our Service is the announcement in the 2003-2004 Victorian State Budget that funds had been allocated to rebuild the Nhill Hospital beginning this year.