From the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia, Chris Ladds has been at the heart of operations to keep people safe – and now has helped see over 315,000 people get vaccinated.
Chris has been working in healthcare for 25 years, from an apprenticeship with the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK straight out of high school to his current role of PwC project director at Qudos Bank Arena Vaccination Centre.
Over the past 18 months he’s worked in the NSW State Health Emergency Operations Centre (SHEOC), helped develop COVID treatment pathways in Victoria, and now describes himself as “another pair of hands” for executive director Emma McCahon at the state’s largest vaccination centre.
“The remit we at PwC always had was to take the pressure off the healthcare system,” Chris said.
“So we bring expertise in logistics, workforce, communications, project and program management, and relationship management. We bring skills and capabilities across all those areas so the impact to Western Sydney Local Health District is minimal, and you can focus on those clinical and operational services.”
Relationship management is a key part of that role – particularly considering the effort involved to unite many different organisations and get the centre running in record time.
We had nine days to bring everything together. To stand up a hub in nine days has never been done before. Even around the world, everybody thought we were crazy.Chris Ladds
“That was the biggest challenge, and we did it. We did it well. It was testing times but it worked, everybody collaborated very well together.
“Western Sydney Local Health District has a really good ethos and the right way of integrating all the different teams together. It’s not ‘PwC does this and Qudos does this’, it’s ‘how can we solve this together as one team’. And that’s really and rewarding. We’re treated all as one; one team to deliver the end goal.”
Much of Chris day-to-day work now is focused on ‘user experience’ – quickly identifying and resolving any issues or pressure points for the thousands of people coming through each day.
“I’ve realised the power of a big team. Even though it can get stressful, when everybody comes together and is open and honest with each other you can really achieve a lot,” he said.
Looking ahead, Chris plans to apply his expertise in digital health by using digital assets to help the aged care and mental health sectors.
But before that, he’s booked a flight to England on December 19 to see his family for the first time in two years.
“I spent my 40th birthday at Qudos,” he laughs.
“What we’ve all done here, as one team, will hopefully allow those borders to open for me to go and see my family.”
Vaccination appointments are available at more than 3,000 locations across NSW including pharmacies, GPs and NSW Health clinics. Find the next available appointment at a location near you here.