DUAL announcements on Monday have signalled big changes at the top of two health care providers.

Catherine Morley
Catherine Morley

Rural Northwest Health announced Chief Executive Officer, Catherine Morley, right, has resigned to take up a position as CEO with Wimmera Health Care Group. The announcement comes only one month after a change in the board chair with Sally  Gebert taking over the reigns from longserving chairman, Leo Casey.

Ms Morley, who has been CEO since January 2010, will finish with RNH at the end of
next week.

“It’s sad to see Catherine leave but she has left us in the strongest position possible to appoint the best suitor,” said Mrs Gebert.


“We’re looking to recruit a CEO who will not only be able to maintain what we have but will build on our strong position and look to the future,” she said.


Ms Morley oversaw the rebuilding of a health service in disarray following the merger of three hospitals and two aged-care facilities in three communities.

A series of major upheavals such as the loss of maternity services and theatre had left a sour taste with staff members and had alienated a disgruntled community.

Ms Morley set about rebuilding team morale through a series of training programmes and team events with a shift in culture soon becoming noticeable.

Significant achievements during Catherine’s tenure have included the expansion of services across urgent care, community health, cancer care and memory support, gaining funding and building a new Warracknabeal campus on budget and on time, and the increase of team member and community engagement across the organisation.

Mrs Gebert said community engagement was important to the board and would be a primary focus in appointing a new CEO.

“Catherine’s passion is improving the rural health and wellbeing of our community and an opportunity has arisen that allows her to spread her wings and support the Wimmera Southern Mallee region to improve their health and wellbeing,” she said.

In the short term, Support Services Manager, Jo Martin will be acting CEO. On the same day Wimmera Health Care Group delightedly announce Ms Morley’s appointment as their new CEO commencing on September 17.

“The board undertook an extensive search process that led us to an outstanding candidate from close to home,” Board of Management chair Marie Aitken said.

“Ms Morley will build on our strengths at WHCG and bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to our health service,” she said.


“The board looks forward to working with Ms Morley and the executive team to ensure we continue to deliver safe and high quality care to the communities we serve,” Mrs Aitken said.

Mrs Aitken said Ms Morley is an executive who brings a breadth of experience through her knowledge across acute, aged and community care and her passion for making a difference to
people’s lives.

“Catherine is a strategic and innovative leader, who has extensive experience within the health industry,” she said.

“With strong financial and commercial acumen, and with advanced and proven problem solving skills, Catherine has a track record of achieving high level operational and financial results in both public and private settings,” Mrs Aitken said.

Ms Morley was one of six women in the public sector to win a state government scholarship after she was inducted into the ‘Victorian Honour Roll of Women’ at a ceremony in Melbourne
last week.