Health Select Services transports regional communities to better health

Published: 28 February 2024

Staff member with stethoscope listening to chest of baby in baby seat in the back of the patient transport

By Regional Development Victoria

Jeanette Cunningham from Health Select Services strives to make a difference to the health of regional and rural Victorians in a big way.

After her father had a stroke on her family’s farm in Gippsland, Jeanette Cunningham was inspired to make a positive difference for those living in regional and rural Victoria.

Jeanette Cunningham standing in front of Health Select sign‘People living in rural areas should have the same access to health care as their metro counterparts,’ Jeanette said.

Jeanette founded Health Select Services in 2005, bringing more than 30 years’ experience in health into the non-emergency patient transport industry. It’s the business that has demonstrated her passion in giving back to the community and making a positive contribution to regional and rural Victoria.

For 18 years, Jeanette and her team has led a model that delivers high quality clinical care and transport for non-time critical patients who require stretcher or clinic transport services within the scope of the regulated non-emergency patient transport sector.

In 2005, with 2 patient transport vehicles built to Ambulance Victoria standards, the team started from a home base in Donvale receiving their first patients from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and The Victorian Rehabilitation Centre. They also supported Ambulance Victoria with evacuations from the devastating bushfires in Bairnsdale and Maffra in 2006.

Health Select Services were making an impressive mark in regional Victoria and were later successful in gaining contracts with these regional facilities.

‘It’s been a steady climb that has positioned us as one of the major non-emergency patient transport service providers across Victoria,’ Jeanette said.

Recognition in the community

The service has been so well received in the community that Health Select received a coveted Business Achievement Award at the Victorian Community Achievement Awards 2023. These annual awards acknowledge the success and achievements of individuals, communities, and businesses in regional Victoria.

‘It was such a privilege to hear the stories of businesses both big and small nominated and an absolute honour to be recognised in the community and awarded the Business Achievement Award,’ Jeanette said.

‘We are just one story, there are so many other amazing businesses I’ve met that are making a meaningful contribution to their region.’

Serving regional Victoria

Health Select patient transport vehicle next to Suggan Buggan River signHealth Select is contracted to public and private healthcare networks, as well as Ambulance Victoria, with branches based in Bairnsdale, Traralgon, Wonthaggi, Warragul, Vermont, Coburg, Parkville, Holmesglen, Ballarat and Bendigo. Health Select vehicles are fully equipped to meet Ambulance Victoria standards and can be booked through the Health Select online portal by hospitals, which are the main users, or anyone in the community needing medical transport.

Health Select travels long distances to healthcare facilities across the state. The long distance between facilities requires local regional resources to support the timeliness of transporting patients to Melbourne for further interventions unavailable in the regions. Timeliness is critical for best patient outcomes and to support hospital bed management, especially in times of high demand. It’s a high-pressure environment with patient wellbeing at stake.

‘In our experience, our clients and patients simply need a reliable and consistent on-time service that is delivered to an unquestioned level of clinical care,’ Jeanette said.

The business increased its capability during the pandemic, working closely with Ambulance Victoria, transporting over 6,000 COVID positive patients. Jeanette says working collaboratively with Ambulance Victoria helps take the pressure off by transporting non-time critical patients and ensuring they are available in the regions to support emergencies in the local communities.

‘As long as we maintain the quality of care, we will continue to grow and be a trusted service amongst regional communities,’ Jeanette said.

Health Select now boasts a team of 220 dedicated professionals and has grown to be one of the largest high quality non-emergency patient transport providers, garnering much positive feedback from loyal hospital clients.

The Victorian Government, through Regional Development Victoria, has sponsored the Victorian Community Achievement Awards for 14 years and is proud to support a program that encourages regional communities to grow and prosper.

The Victorian Connection - people, communities & the economy The Victorian Connection articles feature the people, projects and programs driving economic growth and prosperity across Victoria.