Health service welcomes top doctor
A DOCTOR with extensive rural experience has been appointed as the new Executive Director of Medical Services in the South West Hospital and Health Service.
Dr Tim Smart comes most recently from similar positions in Orange NSW and the Central Queensland HHS in Gladstone.
His extensive resume also includes executive positions in Wide Bay HHS, Western Australia Country Health Service, and health services in Fiji and New Zealand.
Dr Smart holds fellowships of both the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Royal Australasian College of Medicinal Administrators.
He said he is thrilled to be heading west.
"I've already started getting around the region to meet staff and visit all our facilities,” he said.
"I'm passionate about rural health and the delivery of quality health services to people,” he said.
"I'm keen to explore every avenue for delivering as many services as possible locally, including the flying specialist services,” he said.
"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.”
Dr Smart acknowledged he will have a challenge ahead of him, due to the sheer size of the health service, but said telehealth is where we will lead the way.
"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,” he said.
Dr Smart is replacing outgoing executive, Dr Chris Buck, who is returning to Western Australia to pursue other career options.