CEO Message - November 2023

30 November 2023

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On 17 October we released an addendum report to the 2023 Health Workforce Needs Assessment (HWNA) report that was released earlier this year. This report has been developed to support local health service and workforce planning, and other research activities. In this addendum report, we present a tabulated representation of the 2023 HWNA survey findings for workforce and service gap ratings, as well as ‘Reasons for staff departures’ data for each of the mainly rural PHNs. You can read the updated report on the link below.

HWNA Addendum

A new cohort of health students began their GROW Rural South West Queensland journey in October, with time spent together meeting the communities of St George and Roma. The local health services and communities support for this event was outstanding and resulted in a lot of media coverage. Balonne Shire Council and Maranoa Regional Council, along with Goondir Health Services, St George Medical Centre, Vital Health and Roma Hospital went above and beyond to demonstrate rural life and rural health care to the students who were captivated. You can read about the weekend on the link below.


On 14 October 2023, Australians voted in the ‘Voice to Parliament’ referendum about whether to change the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing a body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. The unequivocal ‘NO’ vote left us with immense concern for the health and wellbeing of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues, partner organisations, current and future workforces, and communities. HWQ remains committed to the journey to reconciliation and as partners and allies, we stand with all our workforce partners to work together to improve the health and wellbeing of First Nations people and remote and rural communities.

The Health Workforce Scholarship Program (HWSP) is now available into 2024. We are pleased that we can continue to provide scholarships and bursaries to help health professionals in remote and rural Queensland retain and enhance their skills, capacity and scope of practice. I had the pleasure of presenting on the HWSP at RMA2023 last month. Key highlights from the presentation include the number of bursaries and scholarships that have been awarded since the program started in 2018 – 20,017 bursaries and 2,323 scholarships! Another pleasing statistic is that 88.49% of recipients who benefited between 2018 and 2021 are still practicing rurally in 2023. For a summary of the presentation read the article linked below. Dr Hnin Wynn, a rural GP based in St George, prepared a video for my presentation at RMA2023 about her journey and how the program helped her. You can watch this below.

HWSP ArticleDr Hnin Wynn

The IAHA National Conference was held last week and HWQ were there with NSW Rural Doctors Network on the Rural Workforce Agencies trade booth. Jo Symons, Health Workforce Strategy Manager, also attended and was fortunate to meet two health students that we had the opportunity to sponsor to attend the event. We'll have an update in the next issue of Health Works.

With the end of the year fast approaching, it is a good opportunity to share our closure dates over the holiday period. Health Workforce Queensland will be closed from Friday 22 December until Monday 1 January. We’ll be back from Tuesday 2 January. In the meantime, we wish you a safe and peaceful time spent with loved ones over the holidays.

Chris Mitchell
CEO, Health Workforce Queensland