15 February 2024

Cape York's new top doc has sights sets on supporting birth

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Dr John Hall

Dr John Hall brings his years of experience as a medical service leader to the Cape York Peninsula. Photo: Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service.

With a wealth of rural and remote health service experience under his belt, a senior doctor who has served communities across Australia landed in Cape York last month.

Based in Weipa, but overseeing medical services throughout western Cape York, Dr John Hall joined the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service (TCHHS) team as the new director of medical services western.

Dr Hall already has experience in the Cape York region, having worked as a regular relief doctor in TCHHS, as well as remote Western Australia and New South Wales for the past three years.

“During this period, I’ve worked across several TCHHS sites, and this has increased my passion for this community and further improving health services in the region,” he said.

Dr Hall, who also spent 18 years of his career as a rural generalist in obstetrics, said supporting TCHHS to commence birthing at Weipa Hospital was one of his top priorities.

Early last year, the hospital underwent a $9.5 million redevelopment, which included the addition of a new birthing suite.

Birthing was set to commence in Weipa when the redevelopment was completed in 2023, but was delayed due to ongoing challenges around maternity staff recruitment.

“TCHHS is continuing to work hard on staff recruitment, so we can begin offering this service to women and their families in our communities as soon as possible,” Dr Hall said.

“We remain focused on providing this service to our community, and understand the need for care closer to home from a community, cultural and safety perspective.”

He was previously the director of medical services for Ochre Health, managing 300 doctors across 50 sites in western NSW, rural Victoria and remote Tasmania, including the Bass Strait Islands.

During this time, Dr Hall was also the president of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia and was an integral part of the COVID-19 response for rural and remote, advising the federal government on rural specific pandemic responses.

TCHHS executive director medical services Marlow Coates said Dr Hall’s extensive experience was a welcome addition to the team.

“We are delighted to welcome him as one of our three directors of medical services throughout our region,” he said.

“Dr Hall joins an exceptional clinical team at Weipa, who remain dedicated to improving the health and lives of those in our communities.”

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