The South West Hospital and Health Service has marked a year of achievements in delivering a growing
range of health services to local communities.

“We will continue to work with our communities in the coming 12 months to enhance our services,’’
South West Hospital and Health Board Chair Jim McGowan said.

The South West HHS 2017–18 annual report was tabled in State Parliament today (24 Oct).
Mr McGowan said the health service had continued to record strong levels of activity in all service
delivery areas.

“Last financial year, 93,415 outpatients attended South West HHS facilities, 205 babies were born, 1829
surgical procedures were performed and 38,267 patients attended an emergency department,’’ he said.

“Our oral health team also had some great successes last financial year.

“The team delivered 35,386 oral health occasions of service, which was well above the target of 21,625
for the year.’’

Other achievements for the year included:

• Patient and family accommodation built at Charleville to support the maternity model of care
opened in November 2017;
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander liaison roles implemented at each hub site, and Making
Tracks Funding submission to employ six liaison officers for a further 12-month period was
approved in April 2018;
• The annual Community Advisory Network Forum was held in October 2017, providing a valuable
opportunity for the Board to engage directly with our members;
• The Palliative Care Service is operational at all sites;
• The State-wide Nursing and Midwifery Exchange program was developed.

“Telehealth is another incredible success story,’’ Mr McGowan said.

“Across the South West, telehealth non-admitted patient occasions of service have increased to nearly
3000 occasions of service.

“In 2005-06, when telehealth was just starting in the South West, we delivered just 64 non-admitted
patient occasions of service

“We now provide access to more than 40 specialities via telehealth to non-admitted patients and our
patients and clients can access telehealth at any one of our 17 health facilities across the region.’’

Mr McGowan said one of the highlights of the past financial year was the continued progress on the new
$90.4 million Roma Hospital development.

“Work at Roma will crank up even further over the next 12 months, now that Watpac Construction has
been appointed as the contractor for the main build of the hospital and has started major works,’’ he

“This project is great news for our region and a huge investment by the State Government.’’
Another highlight of the past financial year was the release of the health service’s 2018–2022 Strategic

Mr McGowan said the new strategic plan focussed on the four key priority areas of Our Communities,
Our Teams, Our Resources and Our Services.

“Within each of those priority areas, there are measurable objectives that are transparent to the
community,’’ he said.

“We will be reporting on these objectives and staying accountable to our communities.

“Taken together, our four priority areas and associated objectives cover the spectrum of health service
delivery from health promotion and prevention, primary and community health and hospital care, to
healthy ageing and palliative care.

“Our aim is to improve access to services and health outcomes for communities right across our region
in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

“What we want to achieve is to keep people healthy and avoid them having to come to hospital in the
first place.

“We are acutely aware of the health status of our community, which is poorer than for Queenslanders

“There are significant lifestyle risk factors in relation to diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,
smoking rates, alcohol consumption, nutrition and obesity.

“As part of our strategic plan over the next four years, we will therefore be focussing on a range of
‘healthy communities’ initiatives designed to reduce the burden of chronic disease in our region and the
rate of avoidable hospital admissions.’’

Mr McGowan said the implementation of the strategic plan was supported by the updating earlier in the
year of the health service’s organisational values.

“Our new values are: Quality, Compassion, Accountability, Engagement and Adaptability,’’ he said.

“These values will unite us through shared core beliefs and tap into our driving force as an organisation –
our genuine and deep respect for and commitment to the bush and the local communities we serve.’’

“By aligning our new values with our strategic priorities and objectives, we will really be able to get
momentum and have the confidence where we all know the right thing to do and can make the right
decision when it counts the most.’’

Mr McGowan said during 2018–19 the health service would focus on:

• Strengthening access to health services and implementing innovative models of care across the
• Implementing strategies to close the gap on health outcomes for local Indigenous communities;
• Providing and expanding an endoscopy rural generalist model with advanced skills;
• Implementing skin checks across all sites within the South West HHS and increase cancer
screening rates;
• Developing and implementing an integrated health system through strategic partnerships with the
primary health care sector;
• Continuing a paediatric development model of care in partnership with the Lady Cilento
Children’s Hospital;
• Partnering to progress healthy communities’ initiatives, including implementing HOPE Projects
(Harmony, Opportunity Potential and Empowerment) for Cunnamulla and Charleville;
• Continuing the partnership of providing integrated primary care centre services in Cunnamulla
between South West HHS and Cunnamulla Aboriginal Corporation for Health (CACH);
• Increasing investment in the public surgical services of ophthalmology, urology and orthopaedics.

Mr McGowan said the health service had ended the financial year with a small deficit of about $1.14
million on a final budget of $152.17 million.

“This is a non-cash accounting adjustment to reflect market changes in land valuations, particularly in
Roma and St George. We expect to return to a balanced budget for the current financial year,’’ he said.

“The provision of health services is not without its challenges in a vast area covering 21 per cent of
Queensland, with an unwilling climate and harsh elements.

“I believe we have met these challenges, recorded a very successful year and are looking forward to
continuing to deliver high-quality services to our communities during the coming year.’’

The South West Hospital and Health Service 2017–18 annual report can be found here.


For further information contact:
James Guthrie
Principal Media Officer, Rural and Remote Qld
Media and Communication
Department of Health
(07) 3708 5379