Gympie Hospital’s Director of Nursing wins top award for disaster management during devastating floods

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Health Service Chief Executive Dr Peter Gillies, Award Winner Deanne Mitchell and Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Board Chair Sabrina Walsh.

Gympie Hospital’s Director of Nursing/Facility Manager has been recognised for her exceptional leadership and innovation during the recent Gympie floods at the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS) 2023 Excellence Awards.

The awards acknowledge stand-out individuals who go above and beyond in their role within the SCHHS, and most notably the region’s top award in health – the Dr H H (Barney) Moy Memorial Award - was presented to Deanne Mitchell.

When major flooding hit Gympie in February 2022, Ms Mitchell worked tirelessly to support both her staff and patients at the hospital.

She displayed a ‘can do’ and ‘roll up your sleeves’ attitude while working to coordinate staff for wards, organise housing for those who couldn’t get home, and even cooking meals.

Ms Mitchell was recognised for her exceptional local insight, forethought and early decisive actions which were instrumental during this challenging time.

SCHHS Chief Executive Dr Peter Gillies commended Ms Mitchell for her outstanding leadership.

“Ms Mitchell showed resilience and provided innovative leadership in very difficult circumstances while working in a rural setting under extreme pressure,” Dr Gillies said.

“She is an exemplar of the health service’s values, and her actions ensured both patients and staff felt safe and supported while they were going through Gympie’s largest flood event in more than a century.

“On behalf of the entire health service I would like to congratulate Ms Mitchell for receiving this award and thank her for her dedication.”

While accepting her award, Ms Mitchell said she was honoured and humbled.

"You're only one person and what matters are the people around you - I can't do what I do without good people, and I am so lucky that in Gympie and across the Health Service I am surrounded by great people," she said.

“The floods were stressful, but we all got in and got it done. As a leader you might lead by example, but when everyone around you comes together - that's when we make a real difference."

The Dr H H (Barney) Moy Memorial Shield is in memory of Dr Moy, a consultant urologist at Nambour Hospital from 1989 to 1992. He had a strong commitment to the hospital and in his memory his family established a bequest to enable the Barney Moy Shield to be awarded annually to a member of staff nominated by their peers.

A number of other dedicated SCHHS staff were recognised at this year’s event. The recipients were:




Karen Warn


Theresa Henderson


Dr Mark Garden


Deanne Mitchell

Person-centred care

Geoffrey Eddy
Claire Hyde

Matty Hempstalk Consumer Representative Award

Paul Williamson

Volunteer Award

Marianne Race

Gallangoor Ngin Award

Dr Kent Perkins

Dr H H Barney Moy Memorial Shield

Deanne Mitchell

Wishlist – Benefactor Award

Roy and Nola Thompson

Wishlist – Wishlist Award

Dr Wendy Kinton