LONG SERVICE: Des Hunt will finish up after 52 years working for Queensland Health later this month.
LONG SERVICE: Des Hunt will finish up after 52 years working for Queensland Health later this month. Cordell Richardson

After 52 years working in health, Des calls it a day

AFTER putting in a 50-year shift, Des Hunt is looking forward to turning off the alarm, spending more time with his four grandchildren and getting the bike out as often as he can.

He started with Queensland Health in 1967 as a 15-year-old clerk with the Department of Health in Brisbane.

Mr Hunt will finish up his role with eHealth Queensland as a principal technology officer at the end of the month.

In his final role, he has seen first-hand how data and reporting can lead to positive change for patients - a "driving belief" throughout his career.

Much has changed during his time in the public sector, and the transition from paper-based records to digital opened up new benefits and valuable insights.

"(When I started) office desks were adorned with Bakelite rotary dialling telephones and presentations were delivered using overhead projectors," he said.

"Pneumatic tubes hummed overhead delivering items between floors.

"We had phone operators on the switchboard and a typing pool where your hand-written notes would be transcribed.

"Gathering statistics and data involved manually collating and sorting through reams of printed reports or searching microfiche records."

The Flinders View resident is one of only four current Queensland Health employees with more than 50 years of service.

"I'm just going to take things as they come," Mr Hunt said.

"I'll probably wake up at the same time as I always do, I'm an early bird kind of person but What I will do is I won't have my phone alarm set."

"The latest (grandchild) was born last Sunday.

"It will be nice to be able to take the car for a drive. I would love to be able to ride my bike. Ipswich isn't the place to cycle in, there's too many hills. I can ride from Ipswich right through to the other end of Redcliffe."

eHealth Queensland's chief executive officer Damian Green recognised Mr Hunt's contributions during his time with Queensland Health.

"The healthcare sector has certainly changed since 1967, especially regarding reporting, data and statistics - I congratulate Des on his upcoming retirement," he said.    

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said it was an impressive achievement to be working for the same employer for more than 50 years.    

"Des' contributions and experience during his many years with Queensland Health is greatly appreciated, and I congratulate him on his service," he said.  

"Des certainly has seen some major changes in the public healthcare sector over these last 52 years.  

"I wish him all the best for his well-deserved retirement."