partnering stronger communities

making an impact on the Portland health system
Alcoa’s partnership with Deakin’s Centre for Rural Emergency Medicine (CREM), which kicked off early this year with the appointment of Dr Tim Baker as the Centre’s director, is certainly making an impact within the Portland health system.

At a recent advisory board meeting, Portland District Health Chief Executive John O’Neill was full of praise about the work the Centre and Tim had achieved in such a short period of time.

“It’s been an amazing program, our doctors and nurses have certainly enjoyed and accepted Tim‘s program, which has made a very positive impact on the way we manage our emergencies,” Mr O’Neill said.

“Our performance has improved dramatically, and we are now receiving compliments from Melbourne hospitals that we transfer patients to.”

“The training and guidance being provided is first class and will benefit our staff dramatically when dealing with medical emergencies.

“The benefits are simple, the Centre is providing real capacity for our staff to deal and manage emergency situations far more effectively than we ever have before.”

Mr O’Neill also mentioned the appointment of Emergency Physician, Amanda Lishman in January 2009, which has complimented Tim’s work.

“We have another highly experienced emergency physician who can take on and assist with emergency medicine training of Portland District Health’s medical and nursing staff.”

a boost for WA hospitals
The Cardiac Catheter Theatre at Fremantle Hospital in Western Australia recently took delivery of two new cardiac catheter trolleys, valued at over $16,000, thanks partly to the generosity of Alcoa employees.

PEACH (Personnel Employed at Alcoa Charity Help) and the Fremantle Heart Patients Support Group were able to purchase the much needed trolleys to assist the wider Fremantle community.

PEACH is a trust fund and was an initiative of a group of employees from the Pinjarra Refinery back in 1979.  Today, over 1000 Alcoa employees in Western Australia donate a regular amount from each pay to PEACH – the funds raised are then shared among deserving community organisations.

Over the years, the successful pay-roll donation scheme has helped tens of thousands of disadvantaged people, community groups and health care organisations in the regions that Alcoa operates and beyond.

Fremantle Hospital’s Dr Shirley Bowen thanked both groups for their generous donations.

Senior Pinjarra Refinery Electrical Lubrication Field Technician and PEACH Treasurer, John Lawrence, said Alcoans who participate in PEACH collectively contribute well over $100,000 every year.

Meantime, following a significant grant from PEACH, Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) in Perth now has additional technology to help sick and injured children.

The hospital has purchased a Vital Stim Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation Unit for the Speech Pathology Department – it’s ground-breaking technology that’s used to treat children who have difficulty swallowing.

Melissa Fynn from the PMH Foundation thanked PEACH for helping to provide the very best healthcare and breakthrough treatments to the sick and injured children of WA.

“Children with acquired brain injury, neurological impairment, head and neck cancers, cerebral palsy, physical disabilities and developmental delay have been found to benefit clinically from Vital Stim Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation,” she said.

The PMH Foundation is an independent not-for-profit body operating with no government funding and relies on the generosity of the public through individual, community and corporate donations.
Since PEACH began, it has distributed in excess of $2.3 million to community organisations.

To find out more about applying for a PEACH grant for your WA community group, call Trish Morris on 08 9733 8988.

our employee suggestion scheme leads to benefits for Geelong cancer centre
As employees at Alcoa Point Henry continue making suggestions for business improvements, they are also helping the cancer survivors.

We have a well established Employee Suggestion Scheme in which our people make suggestions for business improvements. If their suggestion is accepted by the business, they have the option to donate $25 (per suggestion) to the Andrew Love Cancer Centre.

To keep the momentum going, a large sign has been erected on site at Point Henry to highlight how much money is being raised for the Centre.  Depicted on our sign is Matilda Pretty, accompanied by her sister Alice. 

matilda’s story
Back in August 2006 Kylie Pretty took her daughter Matilda to the Geelong Hospital Emergency Department, after unusual bruises developed on the three year-old’s knees. It was a Saturday afternoon and the Emergency Department was chaotically busy.

After waiting in the Emergency Department as the doctors carried out tests, Matilda was moved to a private consultation room. It was then that Kylie, and husband Stuart, were told the devastating news – their daughter had Leukaemia.

“It was the biggest shock – a life-changing moment. You never think that it could happen to you, that this type of thing happens to other families. But here we were and it was just overwhelming,” Kylie said.

Following the diagnosis, Matilda began intensive treatment, making regular trips to Melbourne as well as staying in the Children’s Ward at Geelong Hospital and receiving treatment at the Andrew Love Cancer Centre. At every stage, Kylie said the staff at the hospital was a fantastic support.

After her initial treatment, Matilda continued her maintenance treatment every month at the Andrew Love Cancer Centre, where an oncologist from the Royal Children’s Hospital would visit, saving the family a trip to Melbourne each month- a huge help according to Kylie.

“It made an enormous difference to our family allowing Matilda to have her monthly treatment in Geelong,” she said.

Matilda has now finished her treatment and is on the road to recovery with a bi-monthly check up at Geelong Hospital.

apprentice helps shape vital healthcare in Geelong
As a young apprentice at Alcoa Point Henry, Leigh Perkins did not expect to play a vital role in providing state-of-the-art medical equipment.  But after assisting in the manufacturer of a ‘radiographic wedge filter’, Leigh has played a part in providing local patients access to high quality medical imaging.

Bruce Harvey, Tutor for Barwon Medical Imaging, saw the need for additional wedge filters that allowed imaging of body regions of widely variant thickness. His observation came after the Imaging Department at Barwon Health experienced growth, through the redevelopment and expansion of the Geelong Hospital Emergency Department and the introduction of new imaging facilities at the McKellar Centre. 

‘Radiographic wedge filters’ result in the ability to capture more image information within just one projection -which is ultimately better for the patient as they are exposed to a smaller dose of radiation.

The wedge filters, made from a specific alloy, allow radiographers to create a ‘shaped’ x-ray beam.  The dimensions are quite specific, and are required to match the original wedge filters exactly.  Alcoa has stepped in to provide both the materials and expertise to produce these vital filters.

Bruce Harvey from Barwon Medical Imaging sees the donation as an important contribution to medical imaging in the Geelong region.
“These wedge filters are required to match the existing filters exactly, and we are grateful to have an organisation in our own backyard that can provide this vital tool.”

With such a precise manufacturing process, a special project was assigned to apprentice Leigh Perkins who arranged the manufacture of the wedged filters.

“It’s great to know that I’ve played a part in helping patients in the region. It’s been a great experience.”

Rob Woodall, Plant Manager from Alcoa Australia Rolled Products agrees. “It’s exciting to be able to contribute to the community that supports us. As a major part of Geelong, Alcoa Australia Rolled Products is delighted to be able to provide a vital element required for this important medical equipment."



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Alcoa Managing Director Alan Cransberg with Dr Tim Baker, Director for the Centre of Rural Emergency Medicine



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Deakin: Chloe Deans (Graduate Nurse), Dee Lee Vocale (Career Medical Officer), Lindy Bremner (Division 1), Linzi Donlan (Accident and Emergency Nurse Unit Manager)



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Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth now has new equipment - scroll down for full story.



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A boost for the Andrew Love Cancer Centre in Geelong - scroll down for full story.



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Leigh Perkins from Alcoa Point Henry has helped shape healthcare in Geelong - scroll down for full story.