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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Friday, September 20, 2019

    From bush to beach to Brisbane: new health leader vows quality care for all

    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Friday, September 20, 2019

    From bush to beach to Brisbane: new health leader vows quality care for all

    Queensland Health’s new leader says it’s his mission to ensure every Queenslander enjoys access to world-class healthcare, no matter where they live.

    Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles today announced that Dr John Wakefield had been appointed the department’s new Director-General.

    Dr Wakefield, the former Deputy Director-General of Clinical Excellence Queensland (CEQ), has over 30 years’ experience in medicine and health governance, including in Queensland Health.

    “I congratulate John on his appointment,” Mr Miles said.

    “He is well-qualified for what is one of the Queensland Government’s most demanding jobs and he has the respect of his peers and staff.

    “With his background as a doctor and health administrator, I have no doubt John will thrive in this role and continue the great legacy left by former Director-General Michael Walsh.

    “I look forward to working with him on the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to deliver excellent public health services right across the state.”

    Mr Miles said Dr Wakefield’s broad experience and credentials made him the ideal person to lead Queensland Health.

    “John has worked in clinical and management roles in the rural, regional and tertiary public health sector and has an excellent understanding of the issues facing Queensland,” Mr Miles said.

    “Recently, as head of CEQ, he led important reforms in areas such as maternity services, mental health, nursing, termination of pregnancy legislation, and has devoted a lot of attention to improving service quality, safety for patients and conditions for clinicians.

    “Recently, I worked with John closely in his role as Chair of the Rural Maternity Taskforce and witnessed his dedication to resolving an issue affecting Queensland’s country communities.

    Dr Wakefield said he would work hard to make the public health system more accessible to residents in all corners of the state.

    “I’m a country doctor and my heart still beats for the bush,” he said.

    “I understand the complexities of delivering health services in a state as vast and diverse as Queensland.

    “I’ve worked side-by-side with nurses and allied health professionals, with paramedics and other doctors, with police and emergency services workers – I know the difference the frontline makes.

    “Everything we do comes back to our patients; they are the reason we do what we do.

    “And it’s no secret patient safety is a core value of mine. I want Queenslanders to have full confidence as our system continues to learn and grow our quest for patient safety and improved outcomes.

    “My appointment as Director-General of Queensland Health marks an exciting challenge leading a state-of-the-art system with world-class staff is truly and honour and an opportunity I don’t take lightly.”

    A recipient of the Australia Day public service medal, Dr Wakefield established the Queensland Health Patient Safety Centre in 2004, developing a legislative framework for incident analysis that helped reduce preventable adverse events in hospitals.

    He also implemented a successful program developing Queensland Health’s next generation of clinical leaders.

    Mr Walsh retired as Director-General of Queensland Health earlier this month, having served four years in the role.

    ENDS

    Media contact: Katharine Wright - 0428 957 903