A Gold Coast nurse’s three-month exchange with a fellow nurse from Quilpie Multipurpose
Health Service has led to a generous donation of hay for drought-stricken Quilpie farmers.

Earlier this year, Robina Hospital registered nurse Hayley Hewitt-Robinson exchanged places
with Quilpie MPHS nurse Abby Martin as part of Queensland Health’s state-wide Nursing and
Midwifery Exchange Program.

During her exchange, Ms Hewitt-Robinson saw first-hand the effects of drought on local grazing
properties in the Quilpie region and shared her experiences on return to the Gold Coast.

So, when the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service launched its “Goldie for a Grower’’ appeal
to send semi-trailer loads of hay to drought-stricken farmers, the Quilpie region was chosen as
the beneficiary.

Ms Hewitt-Robinson said she had enjoyed a rewarding experience being part of the friendly and
supportive Quilpie community, with her best memory being how everyone worked together for
the good of the town.

“I’m so pleased that the exchange led to the appeal, even though the people of Quilpie will
probably say they are not alone in their hard time,” she said.

Gold Coast Health Chief Executive Ron Calvert said health service staff had raised $15,415
through the appeal, which had been donated to the Buy a Bale charity.

He said hay purchased by the charity with the proceeds of the staff fundraising would be
transported to the Quilpie region later this month, with up to 13 farmers expected to benefit.

Mr Calvert said Gold Coast Health staff had undertaken numerous fundraising activities,
including bake sales, dress-up farmer days, scarecrow competitions and gold coin donation tins.

“I’d like to thank our staff for their enthusiastic support for the Quilpie community through this
special fundraising appeal,’’ he said.

“A nursing exchange between Robina and Quilpie sparked the idea, and shows how these sorts
of partnerships can have benefits that extend beyond our clinical work.”

South West Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Linda Patat said she had no doubt the
successful Gold Coast Health appeal would deliver a much-needed boost to farmers in the
Quilpie region, as well as the entire local community, and show them they were not forgotten.

“It’s been a great effort by everyone involved and I commend Gold Coast Health and its staff on
their support of this initiative,’’ she said.

“The Queensland Nursing and Midwifery Exchange Program is designed to help our nurses and
midwives expand their skills base, learn new skills, build professional networks and open their
eyes to a lifestyle and opportunity they may not have considered before.

“But it is also doing so much more.

“It is helping raise awareness of the challenges being faced by many of our fellow
Queenslanders in rural and remote communities affected by the current crippling drought and
building empathy and support for their situation.

“Our staff here in the South West live and work in communities impacted by drought and they
too are affected by the challenges being experienced in the bush.

“So, it’s very special for us in rural health services to see such strong support for our
communities – and therefore our own staff – by our colleagues in the larger, tertiary hospital and
health services like the Gold Coast.

“We are certainly not alone, as this successful fundraising appeal shows.’’


For further information contact:
James Guthrie
Principal Media Officer, Rural and Remote Qld
Media and Communication
Department of Health
(07) 3708 5379, Jim.Guthrie@health.qld.gov.au

Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service
Jess Daly, 5687 7484, or 0434 564 698
Jess.Daly@health.qld.gov.au 0r gchealthmedia@health.qld.gov.au