NEW DIRECTION: Outgoing West Moreton Hospital and Health Service CEO Sue McKee.
NEW DIRECTION: Outgoing West Moreton Hospital and Health Service CEO Sue McKee. Rob Williams

Ipswich health boss out as board moves in 'new direction'

A NEW Chief Executive with 'the right skill set' will be brought in to replace Ipswich health boss Sue McKee.

The shock announcement was made today after discussions with Ms McKee and the West Moreton Hospital Health Board where it was decided she "wasn't the right person for the job".

Instead of staying on while the health service searches for a new Chief Executive, Ms McKee was given the option of finishing up in her role at the end of this week, however, decided to leave immediately.

She will be temporarily replaced by an interim acting Chief Executive, Dr Kerrie Freeman the Executive Director of Hospital Services at the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital, for an estimated six months.

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service board Chair Michael Willis said the decision was "a mutual agreement", with Ms McKee admitting it was time for her to move on.

Mr Willis told the QT the Board wanted to go in a 'new direction' and needed a leader with a specific set of skills to cope with the projected future growth of the region.

Ms McKee has been in the role since July 1, 2015.

"There is a major strategic challenge ahead of us," Mr Willis said. 

"The number of beds here is a little below the state average already. We need focus on strategic growth, particularly given the generally poor health of our region.

"We have high levels of obesity and high levels of smoking.

"Funding isn't easy to come by, so there is a lot of strategic work ahead of us as a board.

"The population in the region is predicted to more than double to almost 600,000 in the next 20 years, making our region larger than the Sunshine Coast or the ACT.  

"Without the development of new specialist services, innovative care models, and progression towards being a tertiary hospital, West Moreton's health services run the very real risk of being unable to serve our growing community."

>>Mothballed children's unit still shut at Ipswich Hospital

The West Moreton Hospital and Health Service media release did not include quotes from Ms McKee, however, in the written statement Mr Willis thanked Ms McKee for her contribution over the past 18 months. 

"She leaves having contributed to helping place the HHS on a more stable financial footing and having helped implement important innovations such as the highly regarded MeCare management system for high-needs patients." 

Mr Willis said the Board had begun a national and international search for a new Chief Executive.   

"We think the challenge of building a new health strategy for one of Queensland's fastest-growing regions will attract some of the best talent in the world.   

"We have a very good senior leadership team in place and this process will not disrupt any regular health services."   


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