President’s Report 2019

President’s Report 2019

It is with pleasure that I present to you the 2019 annual report for CQRDGP, trading as Central Queensland Rural Health (CQRH). CQRH is an incorporated association. Members include General Practitioners, Medical Officers, Allied Health professionals, Nurses and General Practice and Allied Health staff from across Central Queensland (CQ). The organisation’s vision ‘Excellence and Sustainability in Rural Health’ drives the organisations key activities.


Central Queensland Rural Health (CQRH) has long and deep experience in managing projects for state and federal governments. CQRH specialises in mental health service project management. 2018/2019 has been a hectic year of programs, commitment and progress. See examples of projects managed this financial year. If you have a special interest in any individual project, please contact the CEO.

  • Mental Health Nurse Incentive Project
  • Rural GP Workforce Development Project
  • Allied Health Project (in its infancy)
  • Central Queensland (CQ) & North Burnett Suicide Prevention Plans (CALM training). 13 people trained in CALM suicide prevention workshops.
  • Central Queensland Suicide Prevention Lead Agency Initiative.
  • Qld Health Clinical Excellence Integration and Innovation Project
  • Common Client Cohort Project between Qld Corrective Services, QLD Police Service, Dept of Housing and Public Works and QLD Health
  • Artius – CQ & Wide Bay (WB) Psychology Services
  • Outreach Ultrasound Delivery Project
  • Maternal and Child Health Project
  • Tackling Regional Adversity through Integrated Care (TRAIC)
  • Increasing Primary Health Care Services in Clermont Project
  • Flinders Medical Centre Upgrade and Extension Projects
  • Headspace Unit in Emerald (facilitation)
  • Live Well Central Queensland’s Collaborative, Coordinated Care (CCC) Initiative between the QPS, QAS, the Department of Corrections and the Department of Housing
  • Co-responder Model for the provision of acute psychiatric intervention services between QPS, QAS and Queensland Health’s acute psychiatric services.
  • Provision and management of houses at 14 Egan St (University of Qld) and 12 Egan St (James Cook University, Charles Darwin University, Central Queensland University, Queensland University of Technology and others) Emerald, for health profession student accommodation while studying in Emerald.


Professional development and rural experience in healthcare are key components of excellence and sustainability in rural heath. CQRH is at the forefront. Through the ‘Rural GP Workforce Development Project’, the provision of accommodation in Emerald for students undertaking tertiary studies in health-related fields and events such as the Rural Health Weekends held in March in Biloela and Emerald alternately, we have had:

  • 276 registrants at 17 CPD events in the Central Queensland region, other than the rural health weekend which attracted 140 participants.
  • 3 Central Highlands (CH) GPs sponsored to complete Level 2 Mental Health training.
  • 5 undergraduate health scholarship recipients.
  • 45 health students accommodated in the Central Highlands.

Rural Health Management Services

CQRH’s wholly owned subsidiary company, Rural Health Management Services (RHMS) has had a busy year. This company manages closing or struggling general practices in smaller rural towns to maintain a health service for the district. The aim ultimately is to maintain or build the service and to hand the practice back to private ownership. Highlights for RHMS have been:

  • Management of 11 GP practices in Queensland rural towns – Monto, Biggenden, Eidsvold, Baralaba, Biloela, Mt Morgan, Clermont, Rolleston, Cloncurry, Nebo and Julia Creek.
  • Providing practice management advice to the Townsville HHS for Medical services in Aged Care in Charters Towers and to the Cape and Torres HHS for their Primary Health Care Centres in Hopevale and Badu Island.
  • Provided about 85,000 GP consultations throughout the year.
  • Re-established general practice in Julia Creek.
  • Managing the health impact of the disastrous northern Queensland floods. Julia Creek was at the forefront with great support from the Flinders Medical Centre, Cloncurry. Psychological services were in high demand. CQRH assisted 2 social workers, Szilvia Virag and Alice Hodges, relocate temporarily, from Victoria and NSW, to Julia Creek for the emergency and the aftermath. Medical staff, psychologists and social workers went above and beyond expectations and coped admirably.
  • Managed the $170,000 Flinders Medical Centre upgrade, kindly underwritten by Glencore’s Ernest Henry Mine.
  • Practice Accreditation achieved by 100% of RHMS practices.
  • RHMS achieving charity status


To achieve results and bring to fruition many programs CQRH has collaborated with:

  • Qld Ambulance Service, Queensland Police Service and Qld Health to develop the Coresponder model for acute psychiatric services.
  • 80 government and NGO’s involved in the suicide prevention activities across CQ.
  • Co-ordinated engagement with 23 CH agencies resulting in federal funding for a ‘Headspace’ unit in Emerald

Financial Sustainability


  • Manages $1M in project funds
  • Secured a $140,000 infrastructure grant for Clermont.
  • Secured charity status for both CQRH and RHMS.

Organisational Strength

Our staff are the reliable backbone of our organisation. Our special thanks go to CQRH’s projects team leader, Deirdre Fagan Pagliano and her team, RHMS’s Northern Region Practice Support Officer, Anne Schmidt and the Central Region Practice Support Officer, Di Atfield and their assistants and to our new acting Senior Finance Officer, Wendy Peebles who is contracting to RHMS.

Leading this team is Sandra Corfield, our CEO. Such a wealth of knowledge in project management and practice management would be hard to find elsewhere. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of CQ health matters especially and Qld health matters generally. She is always there for CQRH. Our problem is getting her to take holidays!

When renegotiating our company insurances, we were pleased to be able to provide all staff with travel insurance.

In 2018 we were sad to receive the resignations of our very long serving board members Mary Dunne, (GP and founding member), Ross Woodward (GP and founding
member) and Frank Houlihan (Accountant). Their experience and guidance will be missed. Louisa Backus (Speech Therapist) also left after a shorter term due to family and practice pressures.

In late 2018 we were delighted to welcome Margo Purcell (Solicitor, Emerald), to the Board and in early 2019 delighted to welcome Wendy Peebles (Accountant, Monto), Jess Earnshaw (Pharmacist, Emerald) and Zac Nichols (Physiotherapist, Emerald) to the Board. They have enlivened and re-invigorated the Board. Our new Board members together with existing board members Natalie Dunk-Andrews, Mike Belonogoff, and Richard Tan present a powerful team.

I would especially like to acknowledge Wendy Peebles who has nurtured and mentored the fledgling finance team, and in the process, revamped our financial systems.

Under the leadership of Jess Earnshaw, we have completed the 2020-2023 Strategic Plan and under Wendy Peebles the 2020 financial plan. The Board has moved to Convene and Zoom for all meetings and this combined with iPad access to Convene has greatly facilitated our access to Board papers in a timely fashion and smoothed the conduct of meetings.

CQRH is positioned itself to provide NDIS services in the future. We have adopted the Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF). Our staff have undergone Blue Card, Yellow Card, or Criminal History police checks/certification where appropriate.

CQRH has maintained its ISO-9001 Quality Management Accreditation.

I am proud to recommend CQRH and its subsidiary RHMS to you. They do good works and contribute to the services on offer to and the well-being of Queenslanders.

Yours Sincerely,
Dr. John Evans

For the complete 2018/19 Annual Report, please visit our Reports page. 

Around the world in 365 days

Around the world in 365 days

How do you measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights or cups of coffee?*

How about in kilometers?

CQ Rural Health CEO, Sandra Corfield, has traveled over 42400 km in 2019. For reference, the circumference of planet earth is a mere 40075 km. This means that Sandra could have made a round the world trip then nipped over to Vanuatu for a relaxed break.

Unfortunately for Sandra, though her trips were doubtless just as exciting as round the world travel, they don’t quite stack up on the relaxation front. She has made a total of 33 trips, visiting 13 different locations and was away from home for roughly a third of the year. These locations range from just down the road to Rockhampton and Gladstone, to across the ocean to Badu Island. The purposes of travel have ranged from attending conferences, supporting general practices, consulting with hospital and health services to hosting events. A far cry from lazing on the beach with a cocktail.

Sandra certainly doesn’t let the vastness of our great country get in the way of her job. Let’s just hope, for her sake, that next year’s musical reference isn’t Fly Me to the Moon.


*Yes, it’s a Rent reference. I’m a theatre nerd… sue me!

Qualified for Success

Qualified for Success

In the last couple of months, two of our most valued young employees have achieved qualifications in their field of choice. Nicola (pictured left), the receptionist in the Biloela office, has completed her Certificate Three in Business Administration. Shaye Maslen (pictured right), who has been a trainee receptionist in Baralaba Private Clinic, achieved her Certificate Three in Health Administration.

Congratulations Shaye and Nicola!


President’s Report September 2019

President’s Report September 2019

Central Queensland Rural Health has continued to meet our targets and strive toward our goal of excellence and sustainability in rural health. There are currently 15 projects being undertaken throughout the communities we service. These projects vary in size, term and in what they hope to achieve but they all bring us one step closer to achieving our mission.

Dr John Evans, Zak Nichols, Joyce McSwan (presenter) and Jessica Burry at the Emerald event titled “A Multidisciplinary Approach to Opioid Rationalization in Pain Management.”

One of our long term projects is Workforce Support through Continual Professional Development. Through this project, CQRH is able to provide free professional development to members of our organisation and at minimal cost to other GPs, allied health professionals, nurses and practice staff. Recent workshops include a visit to Emerald from Neurosurgeons from the Brisbane Clinical Neuroscience Centre and a joint session in Biloela with Dr Garcia (Cardiologist) and Dr Vega Vega (Urologist). An essential part of this project is providing the training and support most needed by professionals in the area. If you are a health professional in Biloela, Emerald or surrounds and you are interested in free CPD, please fill out this survey so that we know what topics most interest you.

While our mission is excellence and sustainability in rural health, the core purpose of CQRH is to improve the wellbeing of the communities which we serve. The mental health and resilience of communities as a whole has historically been an overlooked aspect of this mission, however CQRH has put this issue at the forefront though various current projects. One such project is the Wheel of Wellbeing, which has been funded through Centacare. This project uses an evidence-based model to stage activities which boost community wellbeing as whole. Training is also provided to individuals within the community to boost the level of knowledge and engagement in self-care activities and, in turn, improve those individuals’ abilities to educate and care for others. For more information about this project, please click here.

The CQ Suicide Prevention Plan, another project, also places much importance on the role of mental health and wellbeing. The project is based on the LifeSpan model, which has nine core strategies for suicide prevention. One of these strategies is particularly relevant: Equipping primary care to identify and support people in distress. As rural health professionals, we are often at the front line when it comes to mental health and wellbeing and it is vital that our skills are up to date, and that we don’t shy away from the difficult conversations. If you are interested in mental health, please make sure you fill out our survey so that we can source relevant training.  The Black Dog Institute also has a number of resources and programs tailored to health professionals. There are also a number of training sessions specifically focussed on suicide prevention which are relevant both for health professionals and the general public. Many of these training sessions have been made available either through funding from the PHN or through a Tackling Regional Adversity through Integrated Care (TRIAC) grant.

CQRH has also been taking a more direct role in community health by employing local service providers to fill in some of the gaps. We currently employ two midwives who provide antenatal, postnatal and lactation consultations to new mothers in Clermont, Middlemount, Dysart, Moranbah, Glenden, Nebo, Sarina and an outreach clinic is planned for St Lawrence. There is currently a position for a midwife still vacant in the Whitsundays. We also employee or contract seven mental health clinicians in Biloela, Moura, Monto, Biggenden, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Emerald and Springsure to provide much needed support for people with severe and persistent mental illness and underserviced groups. These services are free to the consumer and proving to be much needed across the communities where we operate. Our passion for building a sustainable workforce continues through these projects as the goal is always to build a position which can continue after the term of the grant funding. Speaking of workforce development, I would like to welcome our newest recruit to this program, Bronwyn Anderson, who is beginning as a provisional psychologist in Emerald.

Our subsidiary company, Rural Health Management Services [RHMS], also does its fair share of workforce development. The general role of RHMS is to step in when there is a gap in primary health care services in a community, build a sustainable medical practice, then hand the business over to a permanent, passionate and local GP. We currently manage eight medical centres across eight different communities. Recently, RHMS has been contracted by the Northern Queensland PHN to help support the RACGP accreditation of Primary Care Services in the communities of Hopevale and Badu Island.  This is an exciting opportunity to extend our role beyond management to consulting. This will allow us to support more communities in more contexts.

Together, Central Queensland Rural Health and Rural Health Management Services are continuing to work behind the scenes to develop excellence and sustainability in rural health. I would like to thank the staff of both organisations for their hard work and look forward to watching the communities we work in benefit from their dedication.

Dr John Evans
Central Queensland Rural Health

Scholarship Success Stories

Scholarship Success Stories

The first recipients of the CQRH Scholarship for Rural Health have graduated and we couldn’t be more proud. Kiarne Dippel and Bretany Appel were the winners of the $1500 annual bursary in 2016.

Kiarne with her grandparents, Vicki and Milton Ainsworth

Kiarne is now an Advanced Care Paramedic with the Queensland Ambulance Service and currently stationed at South Rockhampton. She still retains her passion for rural healthcare, in particular, the ability that rural clinicians have to connect with their patients and follow-up on their care. She hopes to be transferred to a rural location someday. In the meantime, she is busy completing her post-graduate program and her Masters, intending to become a Critical Care Paramedic. We have no doubt Kiarne will succeed in her remaining studies.

Bretany is now a Podiatrist at North West Remote Health in Mount Isa, also servicing Cloncurry, Julia Creek, Camooweal, Boulia, Bedourie, Birdsville, Dajarra and Urandangi. She is the only podiatrist in their Mount Isa location and loves the challenge. She believes the biggest barrier to healthcare in rural areas is access and continuity of care. She talked about the high staff turnover in rural areas, with patients often seeing numerous clinicians in a single year. Understandably, this can mean patient cooperation with a service becomes low. She also talked about the difficulties in servicing a large geographical area.

Bretany at her graduation ceremony

“Whilst we try to see patients as often as we can often it’s probably not as often as we would like or the patient needs, as we cannot physically be there, which as a clinician is a hard pill to swallow.” she said

Bretany has the goal of increasing access to patients in rural areas while providing high quality and continuous care. She hopes to do that by opening rural clinics across Central Queensland. It sounds like Bretany hopes to provide excellence and sustainability in rural health. This is a very worthy mission, and we look forward to her success.

Scholarship applications for 2020 will open in January. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and our website for more information.

Making Tracks: Wheel of Wellbeing

Making Tracks: Wheel of Wellbeing

The Wheel of Wellbeing is making tracks in Biloela. Volunteers have been active, engaging with the community at local events including Road to Rumble at the Biloela Skate Park and Biloela Community Markets in the Park for a Mother’s Day Activity. The community created and took away 20 gratitude jars and potted and gave away 15 Desert Rose Plants for Mother’s Day.

The Callide Valley Show was another great opportunity to show the community what it is all about. There were activities for kids as well as adults. Kids learned about health and chilled out by playing with play dough. Adults took some time out while the kids played to remind themselves of what they are grateful for, shared tips on wellbeing and helped others have a pep in their step by giving compliment cards. Overall it was a great experience, and it was really lovely to have so many positive reactions from people.

These events also served as a great way to let the community know about our Wheel of Wellbeing workshops. The most recent workshop was on the 25th of May (pictured on the right). Fourteen attendees learned how to live happier, healthier and flourish by: 

  • Exploring key concepts of positive psychology & how you can use them everyday
  • Learning about the Wheel of Wellbeing framework (WoW for short)
  • Discovering the simple everyday things you can do to help yourself flourish
  • Trying out some practical tools aimed at helping you be happier & healthier
  • Experimenting by sharing ideas and learning with others

The next workshop will be DIY Happiness Training delivered at the Biloela Civic Centre on the 26th, 27th of July and the 2nd and 3rd of August. The DIY Happiness training is a four day program (delivered over 2 blocks) designed by Maudsley International and supported by the Queensland Mental Health Commission. It gives participants an understanding of the concepts underpinning good mental health and wellbeing, a grounding in the WoW framework, and introduces simple tools that can be used to help people improve mental health and wellbeing.

This training is open to all Banana Shire Residents.

DIY Happiness offers the opportunity for participants to progress through verification to become a Well-being Practitioner. A practitioner can then deliver their own one day workshops.

What you will learn about through the program:

  • The science of good mental health – the importance of good social connections, coping with stress and more
  • Wheel of Wellbeing – the six universal themes that contribute to good mental health
  • Places WoW is being used – from inner city to rural and remote success stories
  • Practical tools – the everyday practices that lead to improved wellbeing
  • Experimenting for yourself – by sharing ideas and learning from others
  • Bringing WoW to your community – how you can apply WoW for yourself, your community or in your workplace

For more information on the workshop click here. To register click here. Registrations close soon