In the geographic heart of Queensland lies the Central West region. Known for being the birthplace of Qantas, Waltzing Matilda, and the Australian Labor Party, it is a place that breeds ingenuity, tenacity, and courage.

The population of the Central West region is thinly distributed across its 385,000 square kilometres, the equivalent of 22% of the entire State and the delivery of exceptional quality health care services is achieved thanks to a dedicated team of health professionals.

Leading the team are two dedicated women Jane Williams, Chair of the Central West Hospital and Health Service and Adjunct Associate Professor  Jane Hancock, the service Chief Executive.  Jane Hancock, has served in the role since 2016 and recently overseen one of the region’s most significant infrastructure developments, a purpose-built hospital in Blackhall.  The $20m hospital officially opened in late 2020, three months ahead of schedule, replacing the former hospital built-in 1938.  The new 10-bed facility, including two emergency department bays, two short-stay beds and overnight accommodation for carers and families of paediatric, palliative care, mental health and other inpatients requiring additional support.  The primary healthcare component of the building will have 8 consultation rooms that will support a range of clinical and GP services.

Future-proofing healthcare services have been at the heart of the planning and design in the Central West and the completion of the hospital is just the first step.  A feasibility study to determine the future use of the old hospital complex is already underway. A consortium including the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Division), Blackall-Tambo Regional Council, Central Queensland University and Central West Hospital and Health Service have secured $750,000 in Commonwealth funding to undertake wide-ranging community consultations on proposals for the use of the old hospital with recommendations to be presented later in the year.

The sky is the limit it would seem for this exciting opportunity with various options under consideration including rural health training through to specialised services in aged care, indigenous health, general practice, child and family health, social and emotional wellbeing, and dental services. Whatever the future it will undoubtedly give a welcome boost to a region that has been hard hit by drought and the loss of tourism through COVID lockdowns in recent years.  The hospital and these new facilities however will only add to the exciting careers for healthcare professionals living and working in the bush.

The team at HardyGroup has been thrilled to assist CWHHS over the last two years to appoint a number of their senior executive roles – Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Executive Director Medical Services, Executive Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Executive Director Finance, Infrastructure and Support Services – and proud to see these latest developments as visible testaments to the teams ongoing commitment to the delivery of high-quality patient-led care.

The service is now seeking two additional placements one of which will be servicing the new Blackall hospital. I encourage you to review the positions attached and forward this article to any of your known medical colleagues whom you believe may just be up to the challenges of the West.