DOCTOR Brendan Nelson, former health minister in the Howard government and long time friend of Thompson Healthcare principal Doug Thompson, officially opened the Macleay Valley House aged care facility at Frederickton this week.
A large crowd of residents, staff and invited guests gathered to hear the official speeches from Mr Thomson and Dr Nelson on Monday. Dr Nelson is Australia’s ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union and NATO.
Mr Thomson and Dr Nelson have been friends for more than 20 years, having met through mutual interests in the healthcare industry.
More recently they discovered a shared love of country music in general and Slim Dusty in particular.
Upon realising what a huge Slim Dusty fan Mr Thompson was, Dr Nelson organised for him to meet Slim Dusty and their friendship was cemented.
Mr Thompson took an interest in the progress of the Slim Dusty Centre and eventually purchased a property at Nulla.
It was on one of his regular trips to the Macleay that Mr Thompson first identified Frederickton as an ideal site for an aged care facility.
During his speech Mr Thompson paid tribute to his family for having made Thompson Healthcare the company it is today.
“No one who isn’t a Thompson or related closely to the family owns any part of the company, and that is something I am very proud of,” Mr Thompson said.
Dr Nelson said in his experience Thompson Healthcare set the standard other companies sought to follow.
“It has often been said that they don’t take care of residents in a Thompson nursing home, rather they make people feel like they are being taken care of in their own home,” he said.
Macleay Valley House opened to its first residents on April 1 last year.