The John James Foundation is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity. From its incorporation in 1966 until 2006, the Foundation’s sole purpose was the operation of the then John James Hospital in Deakin on a not-for-profit basis.
After the sale of the hospital business to Calvary Private Healthcare Canberra in 2006, the Foundation retained ownership of all land and buildings on the hospital site. These remain the major asset and income source for the Foundation and its charitable activities.
The Foundation has a Board of Directors (comprising six Member Directors and three Non-Member Directors) and membership of some 130 specialist Canberra doctors who are committed to the objects and activities of the Foundation, as set out in the company constitution which was redrawn following the 2006 sale.
In considering its future in 2008, Foundation Members acknowledged it was important that its activities be recognised as valuable and interesting so as to provide a positive incentive for Specialists to remain or become a member of the Foundation. The programs and activities currently undertaken are therefore designed to continue to provide this incentive and, importantly, to also provide value for and support for those in need in the broader community.
Many Foundation Members have taken part in the Volunteer Specialist Program which focuses on providing healthcare services to remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. Foundation Members provide these services as volunteers under a five year Memorandum of Understanding with the NT Department of Health which began in 2010.
Typically, Foundation Members visit the Northern Territory, Katherine in particular, for about a week at a time as part of a team which could be one or two people or as many as eight or more, depending on the speciality, under the leadership of a Foundation Member. The week’s activities often involve charter flights to remote regions where members will conduct scores of consultations and procedures each day. Where possible, medical students and Registrars are also included in these visits to provide valuable training and experience and to increase the contribution the team can make during its presence.
During the limited downtime each team has, there’s usually an opportunity to take in some of the stunning sights of the remote north as well. The Foundation is proud to support these visits which deliver first class specialist services to people who would otherwise rarely, if ever, get such opportunities.
As well as the Volunteer Specialist Program, Foundation Members support the clinical placement program for final year medical students from Queensland’s James Cook University. The placement of up to four participants gives students hands-on experience with Canberra-based consultants and Foundation Members, while also providing the opportunity to experience and contribute to student learning. The Foundation provides a range of practical and financial support for students selected for this program — and we know from feedback that participants value this opportunity highly (in fact one student described it as the best placement during their 6 years of study!).