FLASHBACK: Then-Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service chair Mike Horan at the official opening of the new Kingaroy Hospital in 2022

March 13, 2024

Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service chair Mike Horan AM will retire at the end of this month after spending almost 12 years in the role.

Mr Horan, 79, has chaired the DDHHS Board since it was formed.

He made the announcement in Toowoomba on Monday afternoon.

“When Darling Downs Health was first formed, I shared my vision as Board Chair which was that ‘I am determined to set the standard and tradition of a truly local board that makes the best decisions for local communities’,” Mr Horan said.

“When you look at the membership of the Board and the decisions that we’ve made over the last 12 years, I think we’ve met that mark and exceeded it.

“We reintroduced services to regional areas, like general surgery in Kingaroy, and expanded service availability and facilities, like the maternity suites in Stanthorpe, and we’ve consistently delivered financially responsible budgets.

“Over the last 12 years I’ve met and listened to our staff from every corner of the Health Service about the work they do and the challenges they face and together we’ve solved problems and introduced new and expanded services that they’ve advocated for.

“In the last 12 years we’ve also built new facilities, like the Kingaroy Hospital, and the organisation is about to embark upon a once-in-a-generation infrastructure expansion, with the new Toowoomba Hospital the centrepiece.”

Darling Downs Health chief executive Annette Scott PSM acknowledged “the dedication, passion and fierce loyalty” Mr Horan has had for the organisation.

“Mike has given his all as Board chair and left no stone unturned when it came to advocating for this organisation – be it for new facilities, additional funding or the introduction of services that would help our communities,” Ms Scott said.

“When Darling Downs Hospital and Health Serviced commenced on July 1, 2012, it had approximately 4900 staff and an operating budget of roughly $500 million.

“Fast forward 12 years and we are an organisation that has grown significantly, with 6793 staff and an operational budget that is more than double what we received in 2012.

“Mike’s contributions to this organisation will be lasting, and as work commences on the new Toowoomba Hospital, it will serve as a reminder of his influence to secure a transformational project that will better the lives of people throughout the Darling Downs.”

Mr Horan formerly served as a State MP, representing the seat of Toowoomba South from 1991 to 2012.

He served as Health Minister from 1996-98 under then-Premier Rob Borbidge after spending almost four years as Shadow Minister.

Mr Horan also served as Opposition Leader from 2001-03.


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