Retention of all staff in Remote Setting – Kutjunka a case study

Ms Julia Mcintyre1

1Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Limited , Broome, Australia


The provision of primary health care in an aboriginal medical service in remote communities of Australia has many challenges. Attraction and retention of suitably qualified staff raises challenges

What is happening in your project/ health service/or what has been your experience:

A brief description, purpose/objective of what it is, your key findings & implications as part of your discussion

for example:

As a major Primary Health Care Provide KAMS consistently strives to attract and retain skilled staff in the region. In 2010 KAMS was running at an attrition rate of over 200% for Remote Area Nurses in the Kimberley. This type of turnover has an enormous impact on our capacity to deliver a service as well as a financial burden of agency staff and continuity of care.

In 2013 we embarked on a journey to challenge this turnover and look at ways we could keep staff.

We asked questions like why are you leaving?  As well as looking at what other providers were offering.

Remuneration, staff housing, communication, leave entitlements were all reviewed.



These changes have seen a decrease in attrition to 39% in 2016. A very low utilisation of agency staff and a more stable workforce for community.




Julia McIntyre is the Executive Manager Work Force for the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services  located in Broome WA.  This portfolio is inclusive of Human Resources, RTO, and Workplace health and safety.

She has Masters in Human Resources and a Bachelor of Arts.

Prior to KAMS, Julia held a variety of senior executive roles in government in Victoria as well as working in the corporate sector across multiple verticals for over twelve years.  Julia began her career as a student nurse at St Vincent’s Public Hospital in Melbourne.

She is a Board Member of the Broome Youth Family Support Hub .