A senior executive with broad experience managing health services in remote areas has been appointed as new chief executive of the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service.
Board chair Ella Kris said Rex O’Rourke would be joining the health service from Western Australia and taking up his appointment from January 15.
“Mr O’Rourke comes to us with extensive senior executive leadership and management experience in overseeing large complex health and human services in remote and very remote regions of Western Australia and the Northern Territory,” Ms Kris said.
“He is currently the executive director of the WA Country Health Service, based in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
“WA Country Health Service is Western Australia’s most isolated network of remote health services in a region three times the size of the United Kingdom.
“He is also co-chair of the Kimberley Aboriginal Health Planning Forum and also previously worked in senior director roles with the Northern Territory Health Department.’’
Ms Kris said Mr O’Rourke had a record over many years of successfully working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to deliver culturally safe health services that improved health equity, access, and outcomes.
“I am sure our staff and our communities will join the Board and I in welcoming Mr O’Rourke to our health service,” she said.
“In welcoming Mr O’Rourke, I would also like to pay tribute to Dean Davidson, who has been acting as interim chief executive since the departure of previous chief executive Beverley Hamerton in late June this year.
“His steady hand, strong focus and commitment has provided continuity of leadership for our health service and our communities while we undertook recruitment for a new chief executive.
“The board and I thank him for his commitment and dedication during his time as interim chief executive.
“Mr Davidson, who has been with our health service since 2016, will be moving to a new senior role with the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service.
“His last day with the Torres and Cape HHS will be on January 12.’’
Mr O’Rourke said he was looking forward to travelling around the Torres Strait and Cape York and getting to know the many diverse communities.
“I am committed to working alongside the communities we serve to make a difference to the provision of remote health care,” he said.
“I am passionate about promoting and developing our workforce to deliver the best quality of care closer to home.
“I plan to use my experience and understanding of health innovation to work actively with colleagues and communities across the health system to ensure patients and clients have access to contemporary services that are informed by the latest research and technologies.
“As part of this process, I will be engaging with communities, stakeholders, and partners to build coalitions and coordinate activities to address the social determinants of health and to ensure equity of access to high-quality health services across the region.”