News: Appointment of New Chief Executive Officer

21 May 2018

Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Darren Carr as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective 21 May 2018.

Announcing Darren’s appointment, APNA President Karen Booth said, “APNA is delighted to have Darren Carr on board as our new CEO. Darren has a wealth of experience in the primary health care sector including the use of Nurse First models of care that make him a great fit for APNA. Darren is a high energy leader and will lead a high energy team.”

Darren is a highly experienced, successful and well-regarded leader in primary health care. His vision is to “see primary health care nurses recognised for the integral role they play in providing comprehensive, integrated primary health care, and for them to be supported to practice to their full range of capabilities.”

He commenced his career in primary health care as the CEO of Hawkesbury-Hills Division of General Practice (HHDGP) in North-Western Sydney. During his management, HHDGP grew from one of the smallest Divisions of General Practice in Australia to be ranked in the top quartile. New services started by HHDGP during that time included a local professional network for primary health care nurses as well as a nursing service that placed division employed nurses into local general practice.

After 10 years at HHDGP, Darren moved to Tasmania where he was CEO of Cancer Council Tasmania, before moving on to become CEO of the Mental Health Council of Tasmania.

In 2015 Darren returned to primary health care, taking on the role of CEO of Riverina Medical and Dental Aboriginal Corporation (RivMed) in Wagga Wagga. RivMed is a large Community Controlled Aboriginal Medical Service providing comprehensive primary health care services in partnership with Aboriginal people across the Riverina region. RivMed operates a highly successful Nurse First model, where all patients’ first contact is with a primary health care nurse, as well as running several Nurse-led Clinics. RivMed’s model of care has been integral to achieving excellent clinical results, with the service being ranked in the top five Aboriginal Medical Services for the majority of New South Wales Health clinical indicators and ranked first in New South Wales on more than 10% of indicators. According to Darren, having seen just how effective Nurse First and Nurse-led models of care can be in Indigenous health services, the opportunity to support the expansion of primary health care nurses’ roles across the Australian health system was “too good an opportunity to pass up.”

Darren has had an active involvement in primary health care research including auspicing major research projects and is a published author in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Darren holds post-graduate qualifications in health education and public health, and has lectured at both undergraduate and post-graduate level in health promotion. He has held a number of board positions in not-for-profit organisations in the health and education sectors including as Chairman and chairing a number of board sub-committees. Darren is also an accreditation surveyor for Australian Council on Healthcare Standards and RACGP Standards.

The combination of his passion, experience and drive makes him an ideal fit for APNA’s next stages of growth. Commenting on his new role Darren added, “APNA has an excellent track record of providing leadership and support to primary health care nurses. I am excited and honoured to join APNA as Chief Executive Officer.”

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