A hospital executive who admirably led a team of 1,100 health care workers through the COVID-19 pandemic has been named the winner of the Outstanding Business Leader category of the 2021 Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards.
Leah Gabolinscy started as the CEO of Ramsay Health Care’s Newcastle Region, which is comprised of both Lake Macquarie Private Hospital and Warners Bay Private Hospital, in 2018.
Ramsay Health Care is the largest operator of private hospitals in the country and owns and operates both Lake Macquarie and Warners Bay Private Hospitals.
Lake Macquarie Private Hospital specialises in high acuity surgery, cardiology, oncology and has Newcastle's only private Emergency Department.
Warners Bay Private Hospital complements this offering with a comprehensive rehabilitation unit, mental health services and lower acuity surgery.
Between the two facilities, they look after more than 50,000 patients a year and employ 1,100 people in the Newcastle/Lake Macquarie region.
Leah was at the helm of Ramsay Health Care’s Newcastle hospital network for three years, overseeing a regional restructure of the two hospitals, and leading her teams through the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19.
"I was pleasantly surprised of course, that the team at the hospital very kindly nominated me for this award, but I see it more as recognition of the progress we have made and the patients we have cared for together," Leah said.
"Everything that went into my three years, and particularly the last 12 months, was a complete team effort.
"I feel the win is validation for what we achieved together,” she said.
In July 2019, the Newcastle hospitals were grouped into a local network to create a stronger and more integrated private health care services offering for the Lake Macquarie, Warners Bay and broader Newcastle communities.
Leah moved on to a new global role as Chief Transformational Officer for Ramsay Health Care two months ago and her local CEO role was assumed by Sharon Rewitt, Leah's former deputy.
"Leah was nominated partly on the basis of her leadership through the Covid response," Sharon said.
"But also of significance was her role in bringing the two hospitals together in the regional restructure.
"Previously they hadn't worked so much together, and now we are able to provide health care services across a range of specialities.
"I feel this is another major legacy and it assisted my transition into the CEO role when Leah moved on,” she said.
Sharon was working as CEO of Warners Bay Hospital, deputised to Leah, when the restructure began in 2019.
"When Leah moved on I was able to step into the regional CEO role quite seamlessly," Sharon said.
"Without that regional structure in place, it would have been a fairly disruptive process. That's another of Leah's legacies."
Warners Bay and Lake Macquarie Private Hospitals take pride in providing the best patient care, through Ramsay Health Care's 'people caring for people' philosophy.
Ramsay Health Care has a unique culture which is built upon the central values of creating strong relationships, striving for continuous improvement and aiming to grow sustainably.