Monday 14th March. Important occasion for us.
We moved into our new BJC Health Parramatta clinic in November and it's been a significant improvement for our team and the brand of rheumatology we practise.
For one thing or another, the official opening was delayed to this day. Attendees included our Member of Parliament, the Mayor of Parramatta, members of the Parramatta chamber of commerce, our arthritis associations, the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, educators, key representatives from pharmaceutical industry, representatives from the local GP network, our staff and patients.
I wanted to share this with you so here's a transcript of my opening words:
Welcome ladies and gentleman & Member of Parliament, Dr Geoff Lee.
I am very proud to be able to welcome you all today on behalf of the BJC Health team.
We started out, not far from here, around 13 years ago at 56 Station St. We were on level 11, in the days before it was refurbished. Quite a lot of space for a small team and a very small number of patients.
In those early days, I recall walking around Parramatta to meet GPs who we hoped would become prospective referrers. Dr Lee’s office is at 90 George St and I was definitely in there meeting a GP who used to practice in that very location.
We were struggling to justify the high rental for our more modest needs in those days so we moved out of Parramatta central to a 2 storey house in North Parramatta. Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to attract patients and referrers, and gradually grew into every nook and cranny of that house.
In that small space, we’d often surprise patients with the range of services we provided, either down the corridor at parts unseen or up the stairs to our gym. The stairs were part of the test to see which patients were suited to our exercise classes.
Our staff would huddle in the small kitchenette and we’d all wish we had a bit more space and a more sensible workflow.
BJC Health’s vision is to create best care for those with arthritis.
There is a key theme of patient convenience and communication.
We recognized that the way forward in improving the treatment of acute and chronic musculoskeletal injury would involve a coordinated, comprehensive service that no one doctor or allied health professional could reasonably provide.
For our vision, this right working environment is crucial to make things click, for both patients and staff.
It took a while but we finally found this space. It ticked most boxes and will be large enough for us to grow into over the next decade.
Many team members provided input on the design. We feel we now have a great workspace, and have already learned some lessons to improve on the design for the next time we have to do this.
BJC Health has a unique proposition: the only multi-disciplinary arthritis and rheumatology centre in Australia. With this site, we now also look and feel like a world-class arthritis clinic.
We are very grateful to have Dr Geoff Lee here to officially open this clinic. Dr Lee is our Member for Parramatta, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism.
I welcomed Dr Geoff Lee to speak and he was very generous with his words and time for all present.
A few follow up words by me to end the formal part of the day:
Errol & I invited Ainslie, Franca & Jannine here in December to see what our patient support organisations would think of this space. They were very supportive of what we’ve created and they strongly encouraged us to throw this opening function.
So thank you Arthritis Australia & Arthritis & Osteoporosis NSW.
A strong reason for this opening function is to voice and spread the narrative of our clinic, of what we’re trying to do, as well as the challenges our patients with chronic arthritis face. Patients with chronic arthritis remain a forgotten group in our society with many unmet needs.
Today, there are many stakeholders in this room who can help make a difference. I hope you all enjoy your time with us and have a chance to mingle. Moving forward, I hope we can all work together in meaningful ways.
My last task is to let everyone know that the canapés being served today are made from the recipes from our soon-to-be-launched cookbook entitled ANTI-INFLAMMATORY EATING: RECIPES FROM YOUR DIETITIAN’s KITCHEN.
It’s a labour of love from our wonderful dietitians - Chloe, Kate and Monica.
Please enjoy and thank you once again for celebrating this occasion with us.
If any of you readers ever want to visit our clinic, just let us know. We'd be happy to show you around.