Hospitals 13 September 2023

Crane named after Frankston Hospital’s Pink Ladies volunteers

A tower crane at the Frankston Hospital redevelopment site has been named ‘Pinkies’ after longstanding volunteer group – the Pink Ladies.

The Pink Ladies Auxiliary is Peninsula Health’s longest-running volunteer group. Since 1968, the Pinkies have raised over $10 million for Frankston Hospital. They’ve volunteered countless hours and been a constant presence at the hospital. Now the group’s name is high on a tower crane in Frankston’s skyline, in celebration of every member’s contribution.

The Pinkies are well known for their pink uniform and busy kiosk where they sell food, coffee and gifts. They also deliver flowers and newspapers to patients and run other fundraising initiatives. Thanks to their efforts the hospital has been able to buy new state-of-the-art equipment.

Recently, the group raised $100,000 for a Vimedix ultrasound simulator for the hospital’s intensive care unit. This machine will help train the next generation of doctors in image interpretation, diagnostics and decision-making.

The Pinkies have also committed annual funding for a nursing and midwifery research role. This dedicated position will help build the capability and research capacity of staff.

The Pinkies original uniform of a pink dress, stockings and cape has changed over the years. But their focus on supporting the hospital, patients and visitors has been a constant for the past five and a half decades. And when the redeveloped hospital opens in 2026, the Pinkies will be there, dressed in pink, ready to brighten up people’s days.

In this video, two current Pinkies and two hospital employees talk about the Pink Ladies.

Text on screen: Since 1968, the Pink Ladies volunteers have raised over $10 million for Peninsula Health.

Images: aerial footage of the hospital construction

Text on screen: A crane on the site of the Frankston Hospital redevelopment has been named ‘Pinkies’ in their honour.

Images: volunteers preparing sandwiches at the hospital café; Carole Thwaites, President Pink Ladies is interviewed; footage of volunteers at the hospital cafe

Voiceover: We are really well known for our sandwiches. You get quite a good serving. When I come in, I come down the hill and it's all dark. First thing we do isn't that we open up at seven o'clock and uh, it's still dark at this time of the year anyway. Then you get the nurses coming in, the doctors are coming in and it, it starts to buzz. It's such a busy hospital.

Images: Fiona Reed, Executive Director, Nursing and Midwifery is interviewed

Voiceover: We've been really fortunate to have the Pink Ladies as part of the fabric, with Peninsula Health.

Images: a portrait of Edna Vincent, Founder, Pink Ladies; a framed newspaper clipping of the Pinkies; the Pink Ladies putting on pink hard hats

Voiceover: We've handed over lots of money over the years. I think it's just under $11 million has been raised during that time.

Text on screen: The Pink Ladies recently raised $100,000 for an ultrasound simulator for the hospital’s ICU

Images: Dr Kavi Haji, Director, Intensive Care Unit, is interviewed; footage of the Pink Ladies walking through the hospital; footage of volunteers working in the hospital cafe

Voiceover: Ultrasound and echocardiography, which is ultrasound of the heart, having it at the bedside, it takes the guess away. It becomes more certain what I'm dealing with. Here the Pink Ladies gift comes into place. With that donation, we were able to purchase an ultrasound simulator, an invaluable resource for our doctors and nurses so that when they go and they perform the assessment on the patient, they do it with confidence and accurately.

Text on screen: The Pink Ladies have committed annual funding for a research role

Images: Fiona Reed, Executive Director, Nursing and Midwifery is interviewed; footage of volunteers working in the hospital cafe

Voiceover: We really wanted to work with the Pink Ladies to look at how we can really support our workforce, and this position will be a joint position with Peninsula Health and Monash University, and we wouldn't be able to recruit to it without the financial support from the Pink Ladies. With it being nursing and midwifery research, it's about boarding capability and research capacity across the network.

Images: Carole Thwaites, President Pink Ladies is interviewed; footage of volunteers at the hospital café; Karen Scott, Vice President Pink Ladies is interviewed; footage of a ‘Pinkies the crane’ sign

Voiceover: A lady came down and she looked a bit sad and the tears are just rolling down her face. She couldn't talk. She was losing her mother at the time. I just stopped and I just went round, put moms around her and uh, she just needed some sort of comfort. And, you know, about three hours later she came down specifically to see me, and thanked me for just giving her that little bit of support. It's a special thing and it makes everything worthwhile. And that's what the girls do. They just love to chat to people. They might chat too long sometimes. Sometimes, yeah. We're just so happy having that crane named after us. It was a bit of a surprise, as I'd never heard of it before. No, no. But then I googled it and I, yeah, it's a bit of an honour.

Images: Dr Kavi Haji, Director, Intensive Care Unit, is interviewed; footage of the Pink Ladies walking through the hospital

Voiceover: Well, it's an acknowledgement, showing appreciation. They're volunteers, they do it out of the goodness of their heart. Images: Carole Thwaites, President, Pink Ladies, and Karen Scott Vice President, Pink Ladies are interviewed

Voiceover: We're way up there now, aren't we, Karen? Yeah. It really is an honour. It really is.

Images: aerial footage of hospital construction; Dr Kavi Haji, Director, Intensive Care Unit, is interviewed

Voiceover: The redevelopment of Frankston Hospital is a massive step.

Images: Fiona Reed, Executive Director, Nursing and Midwifery is interviewed

Voiceover: It ticks all the boxes to support our community.

Images: aerial footage of hospital construction; Dr Kavi Haji, Director, Intensive Care Unit, is interviewed

Voiceover: We have a big catchment area. This is very important for the people of Mornington Peninsula.

Images: Carole Thwaites, President, Pink Ladies, and Karen Scott Vice President, Pink Ladies are interviewed

Voiceover: Some people have even told me they come down just to buy a sandwich. I would recommend grabbing a sandwich on the way out.

Images: A screen displays ‘in partnership with Peninsula Health and Exemplar Health’. A sliding transition screen then displays the Victorian Health Building Authority and Victoria State Government logos and the web address vhba.vic.gov.au

End of transcript.

Construction update

Structural works on the new 12-storey clinical services tower are now underway. The fourth and final tower crane has been installed on site. The new multideck carpark is taking shape and main concrete pours for the tower’s basement are also underway.

Once complete, the $1.1 billion redevelopment of Frankston Hospital will include:

  • a new 12-storey clinical services tower and main entrance
  • 130 more beds
  • new spaces for mental health and oncology services
  • 15 new operating theatres.

Main works are expected to be completed in late 2025.

To learn more about the project:

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Last updated: 13 September 2023