Gold Coast Health Executive Director of Strategy and Service Planning Toni Peggrem sat down with Gold Coast Bulletin Chief Reporter Kathleen Skene to discuss the future of healthcare, the Commonwealth Games legacy and her love of cars.
It featured in the Think Tank column on Monday 20 February 2017.
Q: What do you love about the Gold Coast?
A: The lifestyle. I moved down here from Brisbane and one of the key reasons we moved here was the access to the beach.
I can go out at 10 at night with my husband and have a walk on the beach.
We jump in a car, we love cars, we often go up to Tamborine have a coffee, another day we might go through Murwillumbah, grab some bananas, have another coffee, stop down at Palm Beach, have a coffee – there’s a theme there.
Q: What do you think could be done better on the Gold Coast?
A: Traffic. I moved from Brisbane because of the traffic and now I’m down here and over the 10 years I’ve been here traffic is the thing – I can see it slowly starting to grind. The second thing is around complex families. We’re starting to pull together the threads of support for complex families. We have the domestic violence team that we’re working with, the ice teams we’re working with. Maternity services often say that they’re concerned about how they look after kids when they go home. Our ward-based services tell us there are family situations that make discharge and readmission more complex.
Q: In your travels, what have you seen being done elsewhere you think could work well here?
A: The thing that you notice in those places that don’t have much is individual accountability and responsibility, taking care of themselves and not expecting government to fill every hole. What I think we could learn is that we need personal responsibility to look after ourselves, our families and for us to live within a community that looks after itself. Then the layer of government is the icing on the cake, but it shouldn’t be the first thing we look to solve every problem that we have.
We need to problem solve and work out solutions around what we do then look for help when there is no solution. We’ve travelled through Indonesia, Thailand, India – when you go to hospitals over there your family delivers your food, they look after you and take care of you. The expectation isn’t ‘let’s complain about the food because it’s now what we want’ while we deliver really good food. Over there it’s like ‘wow do you really get food delivered in your hospital?’
Q: If money, time, laws and approvals were no issue, what is one big project you’d undertake tomorrow?
A: We’ve got the Health and Knowledge Precinct as Commonwealth Games legacy and so if money was no object, for me it would be about progressing that precinct, developing a research translation centre, putting in big data, getting ourselves off the ground in that kind of way. We’ve already got some processes under way with us, Griffith University, the city council and Economic Development Queensland, so we’re working in that direction but if money was no object you’d push that a little harder and faster. My second wish is services up at Coomera. We all know that we’ve got growth up there, we have lots of things we need to do – we have plans in place to get Coomera’s health services up and moving and that’s the thing we’re focused on, that’s where we’d love a building and some resources to move ahead. If you had a magic wand it would be another hospital but not straight away. First we need a community health centre, services for kids and mental health and lower-end emergency care.
Q: What conversations should Gold Coast movers and shakers be having?
A: How we keep the Gold Coast the Gold Coast and still grow as a city. We need to be able to keep the lifestyle and good components of access and movement, and the sense of fun that the place has, and the sense of being on holiday even when you’re on a normal weekend, without losing the stuff we have to do to grow up. We have to develop the workforce, we have to develop knowledge, we have to develop all that city stuff but still keep what we’ve got, and otherwise it’s going to be like Telegraph Rd. It’s about not having to move to Kingscliff when I retire, it’s about keeping the essence.
Toni Peggrem started at Gold Coast Health in 2006. She has provided a clinical, analytical and educational background to successfully develop health services for the future. Find out more about Toni and our entire executive team.