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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Winter 2021

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MSWA Volunteer Luncheon | Our new respiratory | Physiotherapy service | Our m contribution to research | Pain and pain management series


FROM THE DESK OF THE CEO MARCUS STAFFORD CEO It seems like only yesterday that I fronted up for my first day at the MS Society, as it was called in those days. But recently in my desk at home, I found a copy of the very first Bulletin that I had contributed to. There was a photo of this fresh-faced young man with a mighty crop of hair … and not a grey one to be seen! Perhaps it wasn’t yesterday, after all! As my last day at MSWA creeps ever closer, I find my mind turning more and more towards the future. Not mine, but that of our fine organisation. I wouldn’t be able to sleep in my bed at night, if I felt that I was leaving MSWA with any points of vulnerability or any suggestion that our future is not assured. MSWA has been ‘my baby’ for twenty years, after all, and the job of supporting people with neurological conditions in our state is just too important. We are so used to spin, froth and bubble in the broader world of communication, my objective in this article is to ‘give it to you straight’, so there can be no room for interpretation or uncertainty about MSWA. Let’s start with the financial numbers. Record revenue. Record net profit/surplus. Record net assets on balance sheet. (The leader in Australia). And now to our footprint. A record number of locations throughout WA serving people with neurological conditions. (The leader in Australia). As for Client services. Those real things like physio, nursing, OT, counselling, care support work. A record breadth and number of services, including hours delivered. (The leader in Australia). Then there’s research. A record contribution to research in the history of our nation. (The leader in Australia). If you are one of our 1,000 staff members, Board directors, volunteers, Clients or partners, please don’t feel embarrassed by the summary of our achievements. Feel proud of your part in the team effort and take a bow. However, as I always say – enjoy the moment, but don’t take too long! We need to make the future so bright that we will all need to wear sunglasses! My successor will undoubtedly put their own mark of leadership on our future. I have worked closely with our Board in recent months to build the framework for our next strategic plan, but I believe that our new CEO will bring different qualities that will take us from strength to strength. My professional advice to that person will be simple. Stay focused on the main game. There are really only three bits to this job. 1. Client services, 2. Accommodation and respite, and 3. Our role in research. A myriad of people will try to distract you with the ‘noise’ of running a company. But stay focused on the main three. Keep your eyes on the road ahead and all will be well. My personal advice will be to have fun. Sure, you’ll get spurious legal claims, journalists trying to catch you out and more commercial challenges than any man or woman really needs, but it’s the best job in the world and you get the privilege of working with truly inspirational people. As I pen this article for the last time, I am reminded of how Walter Cronkite signed off his final appearance. “That’s the way it is.” MSWA is on the strongest of foundations and I assure you that the focus of our Board and management is on delivering our future success. So, as I say thank you and goodbye, I hope that Walter will forgive me if I adapt his signature phrase to: “That’s the way it will be.” 4

STRATEGIC SUPPORTS AND RESIDENTIAL OPTIONS SUE SHAPLAND RN, BN, MSCN GENERAL MANAGER STRATEGIC SUPPORTS AND RESIDENTIAL OPTIONS “A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” Duke Ellington. How true this is, although at times the problems we face certainly test our resilience and resolve and often our patience too! As has been said numerous times, over the last couple of years we have faced many problems – floods, fires and of course COVID-19. All of these have really tried the resolve of most of us but have also shown how adaptable and creative people can be. Just look at the race to get the vital vaccines developed to combat the spread of COVID-19, the improved testing kits speeding up the process and turnaround time for results, and the research that is now being funded to improve our understanding of bushfires and how they can be better managed. Research builds our understanding and provides hope for a better future and better outcomes, and not just in the medical field. MSWA continues to proudly support research into neurological conditions in WA, nationally and internationally through the International Progressive MS Alliance. We provide vital funding for several institutions and their teams in WA and one of the great things about that is that our Clients have the opportunity to actually participate in, contribute to, and benefit from their projects and outcomes. You can read about our very exciting research funding announcement in this Bulletin; another record amount we can all be truly proud of! Our high support accommodation projects are moving along nicely. Albany, which also includes an amazing Services Centre, whilst experiencing some slight delays due to supplies and the weather, is coming along nicely and expected to open in March 2022. I already have several potential residents on the waitlist which is exciting. The designs and planning for Montario Quarter, our most ambitious build with 20 units in Shenton Park, is also progressing well and will be very impressive – we can’t wait to show off the drawings when we are able. Across MSWA we are experiencing ongoing growth and change and many improvements as we focus on quality service delivery and of course compliance. Our annual Client Satisfaction Survey is also featured in this issue and has again provided us with valuable feedback and many very positive results. Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate. As we continue to be challenged by COVID-19 and face the cold and wet winter with our usual colds and flu risks I hope you are keeping well and following the advice of the Health Department (and your own GP and/or neurologist) regarding vaccinations for the flu and COVID-19. Advice can be conflicting and can change but seeking advice from the professionals who are up-to-date is essential. We hope you enjoy this edition of Bulletin and the information and articles are helpful and enjoyable. Take care. 5