A doctor with extensive rural and regional experience in Queensland and Western Australia has
been appointed as the South West Hospital and Health Service’s new Executive Director of
Medical Services.

South West HHS Chief Executive Linda Patat said Dr Tim Smart had replaced Dr Chris Buck
who had returned to Western Australia to pursue new career options.

He took up his appointment with the South West HHS on 17 September.

She said Dr Smart most recently had been employed with the Orange Health Service in country
New South Wales.

He has also worked for Central Queensland HHS as Executive Director of Medical Services and
Executive Director of Medical Services for Gladstone Hospital and other rural facilities.

Other appointments have included executive roles with the Wide Bay HHS, Western Australia
Country Health Service, the South Metropolitan Area Health Service in Perth, and health
services in Fiji and New Zealand.

Ms Patat said Dr Smart held Fellowships of both the Royal Australian College of General
Practitioners and the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators.

“His wide range of both clinical and administrative medical experience will be of great benefit to
the South West,’’ she said.

Dr Smart said he was thrilled to be taking up his new appointment.

“I’ve already started getting around the region to meet both medical and non-medical staff and
intend to visit all our facilities over the coming weeks,’’ he said.

“I’m passionate about rural health and the delivery of appropriate quality health services to
people in rural areas as close as possible to where they live.

“I’m keen to explore every avenue for delivering as many services as possible locally with a
strong focus on workforce capacity building and patient safety. This includes the flying specialist
services provided by the South West HHS to a number of jurisdictions.

“The South West HHS already has an enviable reputation in the delivery of telehealth services
and this is an area that is an absolute game-changer for rural health services and I intend to
build upon it.

“The South West is a huge region, so providing extensive health care services to our residents
can be a challenge which is why telehealth services are vital.

“All 17 of our health facilities are telehealth-enabled and this has allowed the development of a
range of new and innovative service delivery models.

“As a result, we have been able to increase and continue to increase access to a wider range of
services right across the health service.

“We can use it to support chronic disease management, as well as to deliver specialist
consultations and reviews and a range of community and allied health services.

“Thanks to telehealth, hundreds of people no longer have to travel outside our region, or too far
away from home for a clinical consultation or follow-up.

“It cuts down travelling time and provides ready access to many specialist and other services
that are not available at a particular facility.

“Patients can see and talk to a health professional without leaving the comfort of family and the
familiarity of their home town. That’s a massive saving in time, convenience and cost.

“The other major benefit is that we know a significant proportion of those patients simply would
not otherwise have accessed specialist services previously.

“This is because the cost and disruption to their families of travelling meant they would not have
kept their appointment if referred to see a specialist in person in a large city, but, in many cases,
they are now able to keep their appointment using the convenience of a local telehealth link.’’

Dr Smart said he was also keen to work with and to build upon the primary health care services
throughout the region, working in partnership with locally-based non-government health
organisations.

“Acute care is only one part of the health equation,’’ he said.

“The most important thing is to keep people healthy and out of hospital in the first place and this
is the job of our public and various non-government primary health care services.

“I intend to build strong links with other health agencies in our region to ensure we are all
working together and utilising our individual resources in a coordinated way to build better
health for our diverse communities and improve health outcomes for all.’’

Dr Smart said the training of rural and remote doctors also was a personal passion.

“The future of rural medicine in both the private and public sectors needs to be passionately
developed and enhanced to ensure the provision of the highest standards of care are delivered
sustainably into the future,’’ he said.

“I have been involved in medical education for many years and I believe we have a
responsibility to ensure the proper development and education of the next generation of
doctors, as well as the continuing education of the current generation.

“The South West HHS already provides training placements for medical students and junior
doctors and supports the Queensland Health state-wide rural generalist training program.

“I will be looking at ways of expanding our involvement in medical training even further.

“As well as helping develop the next generation of doctors, this is a great way of introducing
them to the benefits and advantages of working in rural practice.’’

ENDS

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