New CEO for Bundaleer Care Services

Committed to better outcomes: Bundaleer Care Services' new CEO Gareth Norman.
Committed to better outcomes: Bundaleer Care Services' new CEO Gareth Norman.

Challenging times are ahead for the aged care sector and for the Bundaleer group, the new man at its helm says.

Chief executive officer of Bundaleer Care Services since September 28, Gareth Norman says he is still in a look and learn phase at Bundaleer, but he is not short of opinions on the principles that should underpin quality aged care.

It is now a requirement that centres like Bundaleer should provide good care by good people in good surroundings - care that suits individuals' specific needs.

Downsizing should never mean downgrading.

"That's extremely important," Mr Norman says, and to ensure this he says he applies the "mum test": "if it's good enough for my mum, it's good enough for yours - and if it's not good enough for my mum, then it's not good enough for yours."

Aged care institutions are dealing with "real people, not widgets" and have to listen to their needs and "deliver on promises", "delivering better outcomes" and "good quality care".

The "that'll do" or "she'll be right" attitude won't do any more, he says.

Originally from Wales, Mr Norman emigrated from the United Kingdom 10 years ago and, after a career there in the public service, found himself working in the aged care sector in Australia, becoming the southern states manager for the Stockland group, responsible for "37 retirement areas in three states".

From there he moved to a position as CEO of the community-owned Peninsula Village aged care facility on the Central Coast.

He and his wife, Anne, who have two children - a university student son and a daughter who is just completing her HSC - are in the process of selling up their Central Coast home and moving to the Hastings.

Although Bundaleer is slightly smaller than the group where he was formerly CEO, Mr Norman says the time was right for a change and he is looking forward to a challenge.

He is conducting what he describes as a gap analysis of Bundaleer, to help him develop a master plan for the group.

He is also looking at Bundaleer in a wider context than Wauchope, to see if there are partnerships or collaborations possible that would improve the service it can provide to its residents and to the community.

A major part of this will be the quality of the group's staff, and he hopes it will be the employer of choice in the sector.

And whatever happens in the future will be based on the achievements of his predecessor in the Bundaleer CEO role, Dennis Marks.

"He did an amazing job . . . if I can build on what Dennis has created here, I think the community will see some real benefits," he says.