Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk with Tim Mulherin in Mackay on her election campaign. Picture: Tara Croser.
Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk with Tim Mulherin in Mackay on her election campaign. Picture: Tara Croser.

How Tim’s leadership boosted our health services

UNTIL the very end Tim Mulherin was working to improve services for the Mackay community.

A career ambassador for our city, he remained Mackay Hospital and Health Board chairman until his final breath early this morning after succumbing to an aggressive lung cancer.

Mackay Hospital and Health service chief executive Jo Whitehead said she had received the news of his passing with great sadness.

“He continued his duties as the board chair until the end, providing leadership and strategic direction for our health service,” she said.

“I would like to reflect on some of the health service’s accomplishments under his leadership.

“He oversaw development of the strategic plan, clinical health services plan, the infrastructure master plan and the Base Hospital’s transition to the first fully digital regional hospital in Queensland.

“His tenure supported major capital projects including refurbishment works at Bowen and Proserpine hospitals, new aged care accommodation at Clermont Multi-Purpose Health Service, construction of the new Mackay Step Up Step Down residential mental health facility and planning for the new Sarina Hospital.

“The board supported expansion of clinical services with investments into life-changing care.

“This included the cardiac catheter laboratory becoming a 24/7 service, establishment of a Satellite Renal Services at Bowen Hospital, purchase of a second CT scanner at Mackay Base Hospital and opening a new orthopaedic ward and additional beds throughout the hospital.”

Mackay Hospital and Health Service board chairman Tim Mulherin, outside the Mackay Base Hospital.
Mackay Hospital and Health Service board chairman Tim Mulherin, outside the Mackay Base Hospital.

Ms Whitehead said Mr Mulherin’s lifelong commitment to and respect for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian South Sea Islander people was evident in his term as chairman.

She said signing a Statement of Commitment to Reconciliation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2018 remained one his proudest moments, as was creation of the KemKem Yanga midwifery group practice to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers birthing at the Base.

“Establishment of the Mackay Institute of Research and Innovation, Better Health NQ and Tropical Australia Academic Health Centre were key ‘big picture’ decisions the Board supported to advance the north’s clinical workforce, sustainability and research and innovation capacity,” she said.

“On a personal note as chief executive, I will also remember Tim for his local knowledge and passion for his community.

“It seemed at every corner of the road of our many visits to rural facilities he would have a piece of local knowledge to impart or an anecdote to share.”

Ms Whitehead said future arrangements for the board’s leadership would be announced in due course.

“We in the health service will continue the strategic direction the board has endorsed and remember Tim’s own words in 1995 as a newly minted Member of Parliament: ‘Mackay’s greatest strength is her people’,” she said.



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