August 24 - 30, 2014: Issue 177

  Mona Vale Hospital Advocates Honoured - NSW Government's 2014 Pittwater Community Service Award

Rob Stokes, MP for Pittwater,  Jacqui Edgley, Mona Vale Hospital's Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Hon. Bronwyn Bishop, Federal Member for Pittwater, Chelsey Baker, Mona Vale Jubilee Anniversary Ambassador and Parry Thomas, Chairman of the Mona Vale Hospital Golden Jubilee Committee - Saturday the 22nd of February 2014 at the Mona Vale Hospital Golden Jubilee Fair. AJG Pic.

 Mona Vale Hospital Advocates Honoured 

21 August 2014 

Member for Pittwater Rob Stokes today announced long-standing Mona Vale Hospital advocates Parry Thomas and Gail Carew as the dual recipients of the NSW Government’s 2014 Pittwater Community Service Award

The awards were presented at a community leader’s reception at Mona Vale Golf Club and recognise outstanding voluntary service to the Pittwater community. 

Parry Thomas served as the long-standing Chair of the Save Mona Vale Hospital Committee and recently coordinated the hospital's Golden Jubilee celebrations. 

Gail Carew is a joint Vice President of the Mona Vale Hospital Auxiliary, played a key role in fundraising for the hospital’s Jubilee celebrations and has been instrumental in the introduction of a number of recent projects across the hospital’s campus. 

“Parry and Gail have both provided immeasurable service to our community,” Rob Stokes said today. 

“Their passion and commitment towards Mona Vale Hospital has benefited countless local residents and it’s vital this is properly applauded. 

“Neither shy away from a challenge and they’re always the first to put up their hands to offer assistance. 

“Far too often the selfless efforts of volunteers like Parry and Gail go unnoticed and underappreciated. 

“It’s really important we shine a spotlight on our local volunteers and acknowledge their dedication and service. 

“Mona Vale Hospital is an enormously important part of our community and Parry and Gail are among our most passionate advocates. 

“This award is a small but significant way to highlight their incredible efforts and say thank you”, Rob Stokes said. 

Courtesy Office of Hon. Rob Stokes


We spoke with Mr. Thomas late yesterday to congratulate him and ask a few questions.

How did it feel to be awarded the NSW Government’s 2014 Pittwater Community Service Award?

I feel very honoured to be honest, undeserving and honoured.

When speaking to Gail Carew yesterday she kept directing her praise back on to the Save Mona Vale Hospital Committee, the Mona Vale Hospital Golden Jubilee Committee, the Mona Vale Hospital Auxiliary and many others, stating that the award really recognises each and every person who contributed to this wonderful event.

Absolutely. There’s no question about that – but I’d put Gail right up there; she is just amazing, incredibly committed, hard working, she did not stop.

In reality she is also correct – you don’t make those events happen by chance. They happen because you have a lot of people working very hard at every level to make it happen, and not only that, you then need the support of the community to ensure it is successful; the support of the hospital, the staff and everyone involved in each and every event that contributed to the celebrations. When you consider that there were two dinners, there were auctions, a huge fair, a swim on the beach, music; all these people who gave their time and energy to each event and were there at night and there all day during the open day in the grounds of the hospital itself. 

This was a big celebration that was many many months in the making, and everybody from Rotary, from Pittwater Business Limited, Pittwater Council’s support, the hospital’s support, all of these many groups came together and people put in vast amounts of effort to make it happen. All I was capable of doing was keeping the team going.

So what is next Mr. Thomas – what have you turned your eyes to now?

I have spent many many years chairing the committee to try and save the hospital, and have spent a lot of my life involved in that hospital, so yes, there is something else, but again, it is to do with the hospital.

There is a group being formed which for want of a better name at this stage is called the Northern Beaches Palliative Care Working Group. Gail (Carew) is on this, and Eileen (Gordon) as well as Jo-Ann (Steeves), and I am chairing that. The whole aim of that exercise is to get a discussion happening about how to bring about Acute Palliative Care services at the hospital.

At the moment we have day care services in Palliative Care and we’re looking to be able to provide full accommodation services and the target at this stage is to try and get 20 beds for a unit.

Are we speaking of a Hospice?

The terminology that was once used was Hospice, however I do have to say we don’t use that terminology anymore. Nowadays the term is High Care or Acute Care Palliative Services – this is where you need to be able to provide clinical services and treatment as part of the process and to provide this in a friendly, comfortable homely style but also be able to provide the clinical capabilities. 

Mona Vale would be ideal for that, there is a nice atmosphere already and there is room there…

Yes, there is – part of the master plan has quite an area available for Palliative Care.  Council has unanimously passed a motion calling for one, which was fabulous, and there is also at present a consultant program occurring within the Northern District about Palliative Care. Professor Richard Chye from St Vincent’s, who is one of the top end specialists in this area, is looking at what is needed in the Northern District area and what may be done.

We have had a meeting with him and I have to say he is a tremendous gentleman who obviously knows his stuff and was positively disposed after our initial meeting. We don’t expect anything immediately but they were open, responsive and interested and we must keeping working through this and change. 

The problem is for us these days is that if the community needs those services they have to go up to places like Greenwich where the transport for people to get to and from adds difficulty. People need to be mindful that it is not just elderly people who need these services. 

We had a family member who was placed in Greenwich and were back and forth frequently… 

Exactly, imagine if it’s a younger family with one partner there – how do you get your children up there to visit, it adds stress not needed.

Mona Vale is in fact the perfect location for a facility such as this.

Gail Carew - Mona Vale Hospital Auxiliary and Rotary Club of Pittwater with Rosalie Thomas - Saturday the 22nd of February 2014 at the Mona Vale Hospital Golden Jubilee Fair. AJG Pic.