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45 Years of HCA
Healthcare Australia

45 Years of HCA

As part of HCA’s 45th Anniversary celebrations, CEO Jason Cartwright had the honour of spending the day with Elizabeth Schofield, the founder of Melbourne based Malvern Nursing Agency, HCA’s foundation business.

Have you been following our series of ’45 things to say’ for our 45th Anniversary? Here you will find numbers 36 through to 45. Look back at some of our other articles marking this milestone:

Celebrating 45 Years of service to the Healthcare Industry | 9 Fun Facts about Healthcare Professionals | 5 HCA Healthcare Recruitment Innovations | 5 Amazing Stories from our Healthcare Professionals | 10 Stories from the Team

Malvern (MNA) is the foundation business of Healthcare Australia, founded by Elizabeth Schofield in April of 1972. In 2005, Elizabeth sold Malvern Nursing Agency to HCA, after 33 years as owner.

Jason shares with us his recount of the day he spent with Elizabeth, and offers some insights into the future of Healthcare Australia.

I had the opportunity to sit down and enjoy a meal with Elizabeth, as she shared her stories from over three decades managing the business.

I couldn’t help but notice the huge contrast between 2017 and 1972, as we discussed the evolution of the Healthcare Recruitment Industry, and what it was like when the business started.

I wanted to share with you five of the big changes we’ve noticed.

45 Years of Difference


Technology has played a big part in the evolution of Australia’s Agency Nursing industry. In 1972, there were no mobile phone, no computers and no emails. All shifts were entered into large double sided ledgers and were then cross checked with Nurse availabilities. Nurses were then called on their land-line phones to see if they could work the shift at the hospital. Payments were made directly between the hospital and the Nurse (usually in cash), with the Nurse paying a small percentage of their earnings to the Agency.

Today, Nurses use our state-of-the-art eHCA App to receive real-time notifications when shifts are available. Each Nurse can manage their own Agency Nursing career, selecting which hospitals they wish to work at, what days and times they are available and what type of shifts they wish to work. Nurses can have their timesheets authorised and submitted directly through the App, with options to receive payment within 48 hours of working the shift.

The Uniforms

In 1972, Registered Nurses were known as Sisters and ENs were known as Aides. These were the days of white uniforms, starched aprons, great hats and red capes.

Today, our Nurses wear ‘Purple with Pride’, as facilities allow our Nurses to wear their Agency attire. Our Purple polo is regarded as a symbol of quality, integrity and performance within the industry.

Expansion ‚ Melbourne based to Nation-wide

Malvern Nursing Agency was founded out of a Federation/Edwardian style home in the leafy suburb or Malvern, Melbourne. All Nurses working for MNA would visit the Agency and were inducted at a large Mahogany desk. Pretty much every Melbourne Nurse who trained in this era joined MNA at some point says Julie Stobart – VIC Client Services Manager, HCA’s longest serving employee of over 25 Years.

In 2017, Healthcare Australia is the #1 Healthcare Recruitment Solutions provider with 14 national offices, 2 International offices, 290 corporate employees and a total active workforce of 10,600 working across the country.

Processes and Administration

Back when MNA was founded, all new Nurses were required to bring in a photo of themselves upon induction. The team would then laminate and create a name badge for the Nurse to take with them on their shift.

Similarly, and true to the times, Nurses had to fill out a new Tax Declaration form for every new hospital they went to and were generally paid directly with a cheque, or sometimes cash in hand. The Nurse would then pay a small percentage of their income back to the Agency.

In 2017, all administration is handled by the HCA team. Additionally, we assist Nurses with their training and education, remind them of their competencies and assist Overseas Nurses to obtain AHPRA registration, just to name a few.

Service Offering

In 1972, MNA was founded as a Nursing Agency, focusing on the recruitment of Registered Nurses, Enrolled Nurses and Midwives.

Over 45 years, HCA has grown organically and through the acquisition of over 22 businesses to make us who we are today. We now recruit for all Nursing Specialties, Doctors, Allied Health Professionals and Support Workers in Agency, Locum, Contract and Full-time roles across the country.

In more recent years, we have delivered new and innovative service offerings in response to the changing demands of clients and the broader healthcare industry. This has given rise to diversified service offerings, with the business now delivering on government contracts, building training and education courses, becoming a registered provider of Disability Support Services and running Corporate Health and Wellness programs with leading organisations.

The future of Healthcare Australia

We’re looking forward to another year of growth ahead. This will be achieved through our core strategies of expanding the business into new markets, strategic acquisitions that integrate well with our business model and expanding our existing businesses capacities.

As a fitting way to finish off our 45th Anniversary celebrations, I wanted to share five of our focuses for the future.


Established in 2016, HCA Defence has a team of 22 full-time employees supporting a permanent workforce of 550 Doctors, Nurses and Allied Health professionals that look after the physical and mental health of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel that protect all Australians.

We look forward to continuing our ADF On-base service delivery in QLD, SA, NT and WA on behalf of Medibank’s Garrison Health Services.


Since March 2017, HCA Home & Community was established as a NDIS provider to help people with disability (participants), identify, develop and achieve their personal goals.

We are now able to offer support to participants transitioning to the NDIS, thanks to our experienced team and can also offer more work opportunities to our support workers.

Training and Development

As Australia faces a desperate candidate shortage of workers in the Disability and Aged Care sectors ‚ a reported 46,000 Support Workers by 2020 – the current training structures in Australia will not meet future demands.

As part of HCA’s growth into diversified services, in February 2017 we acquired the Registered Training Organisation (RTO) Employ-Ease. The Employ-Ease acquisition has delivered a high performing RTO with quality processes, experienced staff and a track record of compliance; a perfect platform for expanding our offering in the vocational training sector.

We look forward to seeing expansion in the vocational training sector in the years to come.

Corporate Health

In 2016, HCA Corporate Health was established, delivering corporate health solutions, including general medical practice services, vaccination clinics, health employment services and wellbeing programs to some of Australia’s leading organisations.

The Corporate Health model will continue to showcase our significant human resources pool across the country, delivering new shifts for our healthcare workers across the Corporate Health and Wellbeing market.

With the ‘Flu’ season, well and truly under way, and our successful roll out of Men’s and Women’s health clinics at some of Australia’s largest employers, we look forward to seeing significant growth in this market.

Technology and Innovation

Innovation and technology will continue to play a significant role in our success. We will invest resources into thinking smarter and better, making a positive difference to the value delivered to our healthcare workers and clients.

Our award winning eHCA App will be the benchmark of efficiency in the healthcare recruitment space, as we continue to invest heavily in updates to ensure the best experience and service delivery.

We are proud to be the leading provider in Australia’s fastest growing industry, and our best years are ahead of us.

With these key focuses, HCA will continue to be number one in customer service, number one in quality and governance, and the market leaders in the healthcare recruitment industry.

If you would like to discuss your Aged Care Learning needs and how the HCA LMS might match your organisational requirements, contact us today.

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