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A 40-year journey from frontline nurse to Chief Executive

It’s 1981, Malcolm Fraser is Prime Minister, petrol costs 34 cents a litre and a young Queensland nurse named Debbie Carroll starts a nursing career that would develop in ways not even she could have predicted.

Flash forward to 2020, and Queensland Health and the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board are pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Carroll as the regional health service’s new Chief Executive.

“What an honour. I’ve been acting in this role since late last year now and to be appointed permanently is truly a career highlight,” Ms Carroll said.

“I look forward to continuing to helping our great staff deliver the excellent standard of health care our region expects and deserves.”

Ms Carroll completed her general nurse training in 1981 at Mackay Base Hospital before embarking on a combination of long-term study and work, coinciding with a rise through the ranks in hospital administration.

“I’ve seen health care from a few different perspectives over the years and I’ve tried to use that experience to make the right decisions, that are always patient and staffed focused, in a range of roles throughout my career,” she said.

Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders congratulated Ms Carroll on her appointment to the role.

“Congratulations to Ms Carroll on being Wide Bay HHS’s newest Chief Executive. I’m looking forward to working with her to deliver world-class health care across the region,” Mr Saunders said.

“The first order of business is to continue the great work our region’s been doing containing the spread of coronavirus. We have no active cases in Wide Bay, which is a testament to the hard work of our frontline health workers.

“We’ve done a great job so far and I know that Ms Carroll will continue that great work.”

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Board Chair Peta Jamieson said Ms Carroll possessed a valuable combination of clinical, administrative and executive experience that really resonated with staff and patients.

“Someone who has seen hospital life from both sides of the fence and has a values-based leadership style is a rare asset,” Ms Jamieson said.

“It’s operators such as Debbie Carroll who really help us balance the needs of patients and clinicians, and deliver modern models of care.”

Ms Carroll  joined WBHHS in 2006 as Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery Services. She was appointed Chief Operating Officer in 2014, a role that was renamed Executive Director of Acute Hospital and Community Services in 2018, with oversight of a wide range of services and infrastructure planning.

“We have some amazing infrastructure projects under way, and on the horizon,” Ms Jamieson said.

“The Queensland Government has invested heavily in our region and I know Debbie, as our new CE, will make sure we deliver on that investment.”

Ms Jamieson also highlighted the significant role Ms Carroll had played during the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

“With Debbie’s extensive disaster management experience, and the support of our amazing clinicians, nurses and support staff, our team has done its utmost to keep us all safe and I couldn’t be more proud of what they have done for our community,” she said.

Ms Carroll said the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was a good example of how agile health services needed to be to accommodate modern and complex medical issues.

“Health really is about addressing the needs and challenges of growing communities and emerging healthcare issues,” she said.

“I’m keen to lead and deliver, and I look forward to engaging further with our staff and our community at all levels.”

Last updated: 29 May 2020