Passing the baton to Adrian Pennington as newly elected Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association Board Chair

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Adrian Pennington has been elected Chair of the Board of the nation’s leading public healthcare body, the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA).

Mr Pennington is currently Chief Executive of Queensland’s Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service and has almost 40 years’ healthcare experience, more than half of which has been at executive and senior management levels—both within acute hospitals and leading national programs within the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS).

During Mr Pennington’s career, he has managed every department within a hospital, including support services. His previous employment includes Chief Executive Officer of the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Chief Executive of NHS Heart Improvement.

In 2016, Mr Pennington was appointed as the Queensland representative to AHHA’s Board, and the Australian representative to the Council of the International Hospital Federation.

In March 2018, he was named the national Healthcare CEO of the Year, as part of the Australian Healthcare Week Excellence Awards in Sydney.

‘I am honoured to have been elected by my peers as AHHA Board Chair and am excited to work with the passionate members of AHHA’s Board towards a healthy Australia supported by the best possible healthcare system’, Mr Pennington said.

‘AHHA plays a leading and influential role in health advocacy, education and research, so that the healthcare system achieves better outcomes, better patient and provider experiences, and greater equity and sustainability. AHHA truly is the “voice of public healthcare”’, said Mr Pennington.

Mr Pennington paid tribute to outgoing AHHA Board Chair, Dr Deborah Cole.

‘Dr Cole has provided significant leadership to AHHA as Board Chair since 2016, and her legacy is her work on value-based health care and her leadership in public oral health services.

‘Under Dr Cole’s leadership, Dental Health Services Victoria is fundamentally changing how oral health treatment is delivered through a value-based healthcare model, which is reducing the overwhelming burden of oral disease, particularly for vulnerable groups and those experiencing disadvantage in the community.

‘As part of hosting the 2018 World Hospital Congress, AHHA challenged participants to consider how health systems and service providers could transition away from focusing on volume of services and activities to the value of the outcomes achieved.

‘In 2019, with the launch of AHHA’s Australian Centre for Value-Based Health Care, AHHA has begun highlighting the work being undertaken by its members and partners as they seek to maximise value in health care and build on work being led by Commonwealth, state and territory governments to move the focus in health policy from volume to value.

‘Dr Cole continues on AHHA’s Board as Immediate Past Chair and as Chair of the Advisory Group for AHHA’s Australian Centre for Value-Based Health Care.

‘It is now my job to pick up the baton and move forwards in an ever-changing healthcare landscape. We can no longer reward service volume when we need to shift the whole system to value-based healthcare. Simply throwing new money at old problems will be doing current and future generations a disservice’, Mr Pennington said.

For more information on the AHHA, visit

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association is the national peak body for public and not-for-profit hospitals, Primary Health Networks and community and primary healthcare services.

Media enquiries:

Nigel Harding, Public Affairs Manager, AHHA

0499 084 350