Inside Lyndoch Living and why we need to be worried

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Just weeks after the resignation of then Seymour Health CEO Doreen Power, a record crowd of more than 300 people turned out to a public meeting held in Seymour to address the many troubles of the hospital.

Carol Altmann – The Terrier

This Lyndoch Living story has gone to places that I never expected it to go and that includes wading into the work history of CEO Doreen Power which, to be frank, is why I am so troubled by what is unfolding here.

I will write more about Ms Power’s back story in the near future, but for now I just want to lay out the context for my concern and why I am latching on to this story for the long haul.

In the seven years before Ms Power became CEO of Lyndoch in December 2014, she held three senior positions:

First as CEO of Seymour Health for almost five years before resigning in May 2012 in the face of a virtual uprising by the small town of 7000 people.

Then as CEO of Plenty Valley Community Health for less than two years, before an interim CEO was appointed in December 2013.

And, lastly, working briefly as Director of Nursing at Tweddle Child and Family Health Service until that role was taken over by another person in February 2014.

I have spent many hours researching and talking to people about Ms Power’s time at Seymour and Plenty in particular and a disturbing pattern has emerged, one which I believe is being replicated at Lyndoch:

– a culture of bullying and dismissal

– extremely low staff morale

– a compliant board or attempts to create one

– an impact on residential care and services

– a culture of secrecy and a lack of transparency


Journalists, I can tell you, don’t have either the time or inclination to go digging into people’s work history unless it is relevant to a story unfolding now.

Ms Power’s back story is absolutely relevant and it is why I am committed to writing all that I know – based on a huge amount of research and dozens of interviews – because you need to know.

We need to know because Seymour Health and Plenty Valley Community Health, in particular, are the red flags.

Both took years to recover.

The opening sentence of the chair’s annual report to Plenty Valley Community Health, the year after Ms Power left the organisation. Ms Power was less than two years in the position.

Thanks to your help, I am going to pick apart what is happening at Lyndoch – all of it – because Lyndoch was set up by the community, to care for some of the most vulnerable in our community. Full stop, end of story.

Over the coming weeks, I am going to write about:

where Lyndoch is heading, its priorities, the breaking down of resident care, its venture into building and running a commercial medical clinic, who is paying for what, who is running what, who is in charge of what, whether Lyndoch is still primarily a charity and public benevolent institution, how the board is handling complaints, the change of the Lyndoch constitution, how the board is chosen, how the public can become members, the lack of transparency around its full financials, its support for gambling via a horse race, other sponsorship deals, potential conflicts of interest, who is involved in the new company Lyndoch HealthCare, and anything else worthy of forensic examination.

I will also be telling you much more about Ms Power’s time at Seymour Health, and Plenty Valley Community Health, and explore how she became employed by Lyndoch.

Lyndoch CEO Doreen Power having won the inaugural Aged Care CEO of the Year by Australian Healthcare Week awards in 2019. Lyndoch chair Kerry Nelson and Director of Nursing Julie Baillie also attended the Sydney event. Image: Lyndoch Living.

It’s going to be a long, slow haul, but it is an essential one.

It’s going to be tiring work, but we have done this before, you and I – the terriers and The Terrier – and we know we can make a difference.

We can be a voice for the workers (past and present) and the residents and for the Lyndoch we know and love, and together we can step up to where the majority of the board seemingly refuses to go.

If there is one thing I have learnt from my research around Seymour and Plenty Valley, it is that we need to start now.

Strap yourselves in and on we go.

More soon.

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11 thoughts on “Inside Lyndoch Living and why we need to be worried”

  1. Thank you Carol, as one who is aging, no not in a home yet but truly understand the importance and need for those in their twilight years to he cared for with dignity and respect.
    Not just because of the high financial gains these organisations receive but because they deserve to as all people do.

    Because they are aging does NOT make them any less deserving.
    And if staff morale us at an all time low, supply of facilities and needs are dub standard and this has happened in previous organisations by same people, a hell of a lot needs to change, alarm bells should be ringing non stop.

    Thankyou again Carol for looking after the needs of those who cannot do do themselves.

  2. Try and find out about a report that was drafted for Seymour Health we all got to speak to a 3rd party but we were never shown the results. They were scared of the union, they wouldn’t come near us that is why most resigned from the union. (Edited)

  3. Could you please name her fellow supporters, as it would be interesting if there are any of the same people surrounding her. (Edited)

  4. Ms Power was quick to shoot me down when you I expressed my concern about Lyndoch acquiring May Noonan in Terang. I commented on an article in the Standard about Lyndoch’s extension in Warrnambool containing the same amount of beds as May Noonan. My concern was that they would close May Noonan and move the beds to Warrnambool. She almost immediately contacted me and wanted to know why I was saying that. I told her that I could not see any other reason they would buy it considering the amount of capital works required to update it to the standard people expect for the money they are expected to pay. She told me that I was incorrect and the bed numbers were coincidental. I felt threatened by her tone of voice and because I work in aged care, I shut up. I feel Lyndoch is not transparent in their financial dealings and am disgusted that they think they have a right to spend money on promoting Lyndoch. There is absolutely no reason to advertise via sponsorship or any other means. People know what Lyndoch is and when people need to enter aged care, it’s more about where they can find a vacancy. They must think they are immune to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into aged care. They should be concentrating on the care of their residents. They are cutting costs by cutting Nurse Unit Managers and becoming a training facility for Personal Carers to use students as free labour. Good for you Terrier! (Edited)

  5. I worked at Seymour Hospital for 12 years, a job I loved. But then Ms Power came along and everything changed. A totally toxic environment ensued. I left because I couldn’t bear to walk in that door one more day, but a lot of my friends were pushed. We are gathering our thoughts and will let you know the whole story soon.

    1. I worked at Lyndoch for 10 years & over the last 3 years l have seen /heard of manny great staff – nurses, pcw, admin & cleaning staff leave or pushed due to the toxic environment. (edited)

  6. It just gets better and better the deeper you dig doesn’t it? I think the board owe Warrnambool and Lyndoch a big apology. And what is (the board) going to do now to redress this situation? (edited)

  7. This sounds like the priest problem, keep them moving around until, they have alienated everyone, and caused anxiety to the families and the people they are PAID to care for. This is a bloody disgrace.

    1. I actually just read this ABC story – it is so timely. I plan to share this link soon. Thankyou Roy.

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