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.