Australian Defence Force Joint Health Command Garrison Facilities Upgrade, Australia

Aurecon helps to upgrade Australian Defence Force healthcare facilities

The Joint Health Command (JHC), led by the dual-hatted Commander Joint Health and Surgeon General of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), is responsible for the delivery of healthcare services, including preventative and proactive healthcare, to maintain the operational readiness of Australia’s deployable defence forces.

The AUD 212 million JHC Garrison Facilities Upgrade project is a significant achievement for both JHC and the Department of Defence’s Capital Facilities and Infrastructure Branch. In part, this is due to the unprecedented development of a national healthcare delivery model, which provides the ADF with significant ongoing operational cost savings.

At its core, the project aims to provide contemporary, fit-for-purpose healthcare facilities for approximately 26 000, or 46 per cent of, ADF personnel around Australia through the centralisation and co-location of on-base health services at 12 priority sites across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. Each new or upgraded facility will be a combination of an advanced civilian general practice clinic with aspects that reflect a small regional hospital and best-practice pharmacy.

This nationally coordinated approach is a step change in the delivery of health services for Defence personnel.

To support JHC’s vision and to address this challenge, Aurecon delivered project management and contract administration services. From an engagement perspective, Aurecon delivered a robust communication and stakeholder engagement programme using both traditional and digital engagement techniques.

The project team engaged multiple on and off-base stakeholders across all site locations countrywide and effectively managed stakeholder expectations around decision making. 

Impact of changes to Defence health

This project was an important element of the broader strategic initiative of Joint Health Command to increase standardisation of health service delivery across the command. The project team was aware that changes to the model of care and facilities would represent a substantial change to the requirements of a health facility.

With 12 sites across Australia, there was a large volume of national, regional and local stakeholders that needed to be engaged with. Each of these stakeholders had varying degrees of oversight with regards to the Joint Health Command’s strategic direction. Aurecon was instrumental in communicating the vision of Joint Health Command to the project stakeholders, and actively listening and working through the feedback, changes and impacts. Key issues were escalated with the Joint Health Command for further consideration and final decision making.

Overall, the model was designed to cater for the way health services will be delivered in the future rather than how they are being delivered now. To ease the implementation of these changes, Aurecon applied a balanced listening approach to stakeholder concerns while managing expectations and ensuring the integrity of the overarching project objectives. Aurecon also showed flexibility throughout the planning phase to ensure that client requirements were met.

Developing a high level of trust with stakeholders

Throughout the project life cycle, Aurecon’s transparent and two-way communication approach, and consistent methodology for making decisions, reassured stakeholders that issues and impacts were considered.

A comprehensive internal and external stakeholder engagement programme was undertaken combining digital tools with the standard face-to-face workshops and stakeholder information sessions. In particular, Aurecon’s innovative approach to stakeholder engagement employed the use of digital engineering technologies, including virtual reality modelling.

These tools helped the project stakeholders to visualise the internal layouts of the healthcare facilities – and resulted in meaningful and informed feedback for inclusion in the design component of the project. Learn how Aurecon engaged with Joint Health Command staff using virtual reality through the case study below:

The project team acknowledged that the people who were best positioned to provide feedback on the designs would benefit from experiencing the proposed facilities in 3D. This is because of limitations in interpreting 2D and other format design drawings.

The tailored engagement approach for a considerable number of internal and external stakeholders was large and innovative for a highly risk adverse organisation. The project team effectively engaged with an extensive array of stakeholders in a limited amount of time to reach project objectives and achieve the required government approvals.

Images courtesy of Department of Defence, Australia

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