South Australian healthcare executive Catherine Hughes, who has helped lead the state’s response to the pandemic and led a number of large health infrastructure projects, has been appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) at aged care provider Life Care.
Ms Hughes will work with Chief Executive Officer Allen Candy to drive innovation across Life Care’s aged care and in-home support services.
Ms Hughes is currently the Department for Health and Wellbeing’s Director of Statewide Demand Management. She has been leading the delivery of key departmental reforms to increase hospital capacity and patient flow and supported system readiness of the community and hospital response to Delta and Omicron waves.
She was previously the Executive Lead of COVID-19 Programs, managing mass and mobile vaccination programs and drive-through testing centres in the Southern Adelaide Health Network (SALHN).
From 2013 to 2021, Ms Hughes held a range of other senior roles within SALHN, from Acting Chief Operating Officer to leading the Strategic Projects Unit and Co-Director of the Division Rehabilitation, Aged Care and Palliative Care.
An accredited pharmacist, she holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of South Australia, is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds a Graduate Certificate in Health Systems Management from Charles Sturt University.
Mr Candy says Ms Hughes’ extensive expertise in leading and implementing complex reforms will bring a new dimension to the not-for-profit provider.
“The aged care sector is undergoing significant change whilst also managing the unique demands that COVID-19 places on staff and residents,” he said.
Ms Hughes’ appointment follows the retirement of Rosanne Collins, following four years with Life Care, the last year as COO.
“Rosanne has made an enormous contribution to Life Care, reinforcing our commitment to helping South Australians live every day,” he said.
Ms Hughes’s appointment will also support Life Care’s capital works plans for the next five years, including pursuing a senior’s living and residential care complex on a greenfields site in Golden Grove, and potential redevelopment of its Parkrose Village campus in Everard Park.
These works follow the organisation being nationally recognised with an Urban Development Institute of Australia Award for Excellence in Seniors Living for its $47 million Gaynes Park campus in Joslin. Judges credited Life Care with delivering a “community for older people with a forward-thinking expression of innovation and creativity”.
“Life Care is poised to further push the boundaries of what it means to get older and I’m looking forward to Catherine playing a key role in this new chapter,” Mr Candy added.