Meet the brand new health lead­er­ship team in Ip­swich

The Queensland Times - - NEWS - He­len Speli­tis he­len.speli­tis@qt.com.au

A NEW team of health lead­ers have walked onto the scene in Ip­swich as part of a ma­jor or­gan­i­sa­tional shake-up.

Ip­swich and the West More­ton re­gion is fac­ing an un­prece­dented sit­u­a­tion which, be­fore the ar­rival of Dr Ker­rie Free­man to the role of Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of West More­ton Hospi­tal and Health Ser­vice, had all the hall­marks of a loom­ing cri­sis.

Ip­swich Hospi­tal bed num­bers are be­low the state av­er­age, at 1.64 beds per 1000 peo­ple com­pared to the state av­er­age of 2.1 per 1000 peo­ple, and in April was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing short­ages.

Within the re­gion there are a high number of pa­tients with car­dio­vas­cu­lar and chronic dis­ease, and high obe­sity rates.

In April, the QT re­vealed the new Chief Dr Free­man was spear head­ing a long-awaited or­gan­i­sa­tional re­struc­ture of the or­gan­i­sa­tion wield­ing a $257 mil­lion bud­get.

That in­cluded bring­ing in new di­rec­tor po­si­tions and delet­ing an en­tire layer of man­age­ment, a change in med­i­cal re­port­ing lines and the cre­ation of a new po­si­tion for a ded­i­cated di­rec­tor of ru­ral health.

The shake-up is cost neu­tral.

The po­si­tion of Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Ru­ral and Com­mu­nity has been filled by Melinda Par­cell.

She grew up in the Fas­sifern Val­ley on a dairy farm and un­der­stands first-hand the chal­lenges ru­ral peo­ple can face ac­cess­ing health ser­vices.

Ms Par­cell, a reg­is­tered nurse and mid­wife, served on the West More­ton Hospi­tal and Health board for five years but has stepped down from that role to avoid any con­flicts of in­ter­est and fo­cus on her new job.

To­day she lives in Har­risville.

“I re­ally love West More­ton,” she said.

“And the thing I like about liv­ing and work­ing in West More­ton and see­ing the peo­ple I work with of­ten.

“We have a real op­por­tu­nity to look af­ter fam­ily, friends and neigh­bours and that’s what I in­tend to do.”

Ms Par­cell said health it­self was rapidly chang­ing and ru­ral ar­eas needed to keep up be­cause mak­ing the most of tech­nol­ogy, such as tele­health (con­sul­ta­tions with spe­cial­ist held via video link), ul­ti­mately means more con­ve­nient care and less travel.

When asked whether a new hospi­tal was be­ing planned for the boom­ing Plain­land area, Ms Par­cell said it was an area of growth and that was be­ing con­sid­ered as part of the ser­vice’s mas­ter plan­ning.

Dr Free­man said the ap­point­ment of Ms Par­cell, a long-serv­ing West More­ton staff mem­ber, to the new role of Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Ru­ral and Com­mu­ni­ties recog­nised the need for greater in­vest­ment in and use of the ru­ral hos­pi­tals at Boonah, Lai­d­ley, Gatton and Esk, as well as the ser­vice’s com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties.

“The com­mu­nity and ru­ral sites func­tion so peo­ple do not have to come to a ma­jor hospi­tal like Ip­swich and pro­vide ac­cess to qual­ity care op­tions closer to home,” Dr Free­man said.

“As the pop­u­la­tion in­creases, it will be­come in­creas­ingly crit­i­cal to spread ser­vices across the whole re­gion. Ev­ery de­ci­sion we have made over the past months re­gard­ing re­cruit­ment, as well as the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of West More­ton’s strate­gic plan, has em­pha­sised our com­mit­ment to pro­vide per­son-cen­tred care through col­lab­o­ra­tion and in­no­va­tion. It is an ex­cit­ing time to be a part of West More­ton Hospi­tal and Health Ser­vice and I look for­ward to work­ing with our four new­est ad­di­tions to achieve the qual­ity of care we as­pire to de­liver for each and ev­ery per­son.’’

❝those

As the pop­u­la­tion in­creases, ser­vices will be­come in­creas­ingly crit­i­cal to spread across the whole re­gion.

— Dr Ker­rie Free­man

PHOTO: DAVID NIELSEN

STEP­PING UP: Big chal­lenges await the lead­er­ship team in charge of Ip­swich Hospi­tal. (in­set) Chief Ex­e­cutie Ker­rie Free­man.

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