1993 Sidney Sax Medallist - Mr Allan Hughes

Allan Hughes entered the Australian health system as a science graduate, sponsored by Victorian Hospitals and Charities Commission to undertake the Master of Health Administration at the University of New South Wales from 1969.70. In his early months of the MHA, Allan demonstrated a remarkable capacity to accommodate the demanding academic program with an exhaustive survey of Sydney attractions of that period. It was an exhibition of true intellect and stamina.

Allan has been fortunate through his adult life to have a wonderful supporter in his wife, Judy. Their genuine affection and the strong bond between them has been a remarkable aspect of a busy, committed life.

In the middle of his Master of Health Administration degree Allan married Judy, who joined him in Sydney. In 1971 following Allan's graduation they both returned to Melbourne, where Allan commenced his professional career at Prince Henry's Hospital.

In 1974 he was promoted to Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the Austin Hospital, and in 1979 he became CEO at the Queen Victoria Medical Centre.

Allan has always demonstrated a remarkable ability to conceptualise how organisations and events can be recorded to produce something better. His work at VHA and the relocation of Queen Victoria to Clayton demonstrated his capacity quite vividly.

In 1982 following the election of the Cain Labour Government Allan assumed the Project Director responsibilities for the finance and construction of a new 436 bed teaching hospital at Clayton, now know as the Monash Medical Centre. Allan's contribution in this role was instrumental in not only ensuring the effective and efficient transfer of the Queen Victoria Medical Centre but also that this new teaching hospital established in the South Eastern suburbs was planned to deliver a high quality of health service across a broader range of services than previously provided.

With the introduction of regionalisation in Victoria, Allan was appointed as one of the first eight Regional Directors in the State Health Department, holding the position of Regional Director, South Eastern Metropolitan Region, from 1984 to the end of 1985. He then was appointed to the position of Executive Director of the Victorian Hospital's Association, a position which he still holds today.

I am sure that you would all be aware that Allan's contribution to the healthcare service of this country extends way beyond these positions which he has held with distinction. He has made particular contributions to the Australian College of Health Service Administrators, being a member of its Federal Council and currently serving as the Federal Senior Vice President. You would be aware of his active membership of the Australian Hospital Association, having been a member of its National Council since 1979 and its National Treasurer on three occasions, including currently. Along with others, his drive and enthusiasm lead to the establishment of the National Headquarters in Canberra, something which this Association would particularly recognise and, as National Treasurer, Allan played a key role in planning the financing and construction of the headquarters. His importance to AHA and his reputation within this country resulted in the National Council nominating him to represent the Association on the Council of Management of the International Hospital Federation, an appointment which we know he will carry out with distinction.

Allan's generous service to our industry also extends to his active participation in teaching programmes which has resulted in his being on various Course Advisory Committees and Faculty Boards as well as holding appointments in lecturing capacities of one form or another. He has also been asked to undertake a range of consulting assignments not only in this country but also to the Hospitals' Boards Association in New Zealand and the Hong Kong Health Authority.

Allan has great insight into issues and people; this combined with enormous health system, commercial and social knowledge. These attributes have enabled Allan to be a very effective contributor to major policy development at a State and National level.

He is a persuasive person who can be also challenging when necessary. These traits are accompanied by unfailing good humour. His personal qualities engender professional respect and confidence.

Allan's achievements have always been characterised by his quiet, modest and unassuming manner. Indeed, I suspect that his presence on the stage this afternoon would be causing him severe embarrassment and, because of his inclination to understate the contributions which he has made in so many ways over such a long period, I know he would believe that there would be many others who would deserve this Award before him. His knowledge of our industry together with his personal qualities simply typified as trust, loyalty and integrity combine to make Allan Hughes one of the most respected leaders of healthcare management in this country.

The contribution which he continues to make in terms of healthcare management as well as to the teaching and education of healthcare professionals and, in turn, to their professional bodies and associations make him a most worthy recipient of this year's medal.