Sidney Sax Medalists


The Sidney Sax Medal is awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the development and improvement of the Australian healthcare system in the field of health services policy, organisation, delivery and research (excluding clinical research).

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) has today announced it will award the 2023 Sidney Sax medal for outstanding contributions to the development and improvement of Australia’s healthcare system to Professor Michelle Haber AM FAA FAHMS, Executive Director of Children’s Cancer Institute and conjoint Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Health, UNSW Australia.

A Sidney Sax medal will also be awarded posthumously to Emeritus Professor Mary-louise McLaws AO FRSN (1953-2023), esteemed epidemiologist and trusted voice to the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) announced it will award the 2022 Sidney Sax medal for outstanding contributions to the development and improvement of Australia’s healthcare system to Geriatrician Professor Susan Kurrle, Curran Professor in Health Care of Older People at the Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney.

Professor Kurrle is a practicing geriatrician for the Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD), specialising in the areas of dementia, frailty, elder abuse, successful ageing, and intergenerational care. In addition to her work at NSLHD, Professor Kurrle is the expert geriatrician leading the work on the internationally award-winning ABC TV documentary series ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’.

This series showcased the benefits that intergenerational care programs can have, and their ability to promote participation and social connectedness, increasing happiness, dignity, and self-esteem for all participants.  

‘Professor Kurrle’s work on the many aspects of care for older people, is an area in need of champions who take a holistic approach to their health and well-being,’ says AHHA Board Chair, the Hon Jillian Skinner.

As a well-respected leader and expert driving the research agenda in dementia and aged care, Professor Kurrle has been co-designing services with general practice for several years.

‘The Geriatric Rapid Acute Care of the Elderly or GRACE program, co-designed by Professor Kurrle, is a ground-breaking approach to helping treat older patients in the appropriate setting, be it the home, or aged care settings, rather than in emergency departments. This program was better not only for the patient, but for hospitals struggling to meet demand for services.’

The GRACE model has since been adopted by many other Local Health Districts, now more commonly known as ‘rapid-response teams’ and ‘geriatric flying squads’.

‘Her work across professional groups, and in using an inter-generational and educative approach, has been of great benefit to older people, their families and the Australian health system as a whole.’

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) announced it will award the 2021 Sidney Sax medal for outstanding contributions to the development and improvement of Australia’s healthcare system to leading health services and systems researcher and Founding Director, Australian Institute of Health Innovation at Macquarie University, Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite.

‘Professor Braithwaite is a world-renowned researcher who has dedicated his career to improving the delivery and safety of the Australian healthcare system and the experiences of patients and providers within the system,’ says AHHA Chief Executive John Gregg.

‘This is demonstrated through his role in contributing to the establishment of the largest health services research institute in Australia, the Australian Institute of Health Innovation.

‘With over 679 refereed publications, Professor Braithwaite has been an influential figure in shaping the quality and safety of Australia’s healthcare system.

‘He has also made significant contributions to researching the culture and structure of acute settings, leadership, management and change in health sector organisations, patient safety, accreditation and the impact of restructuring of health services.

‘Professor Braithwaite is well-known internationally for his role in providing the research evidence to improve care for both adults and children, and fundamental principles for the governance of health systems. His work on health reform across the world, and in new models to provide care more safely, is used in many countries and health systems.

‘He is recognised by his colleagues as an inspirational teacher and mentor, having trained large cohorts of health professionals in leadership and management.’

He is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Management (ACHSM), a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (FAAHMS) and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators (RACMA).

His work has been recognised internationally through appointments as President of the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua), Fellow in the distinction grade at the Faculty of Public Health, Royal College of Physicians, United Kingdom (FFPH, RCP) and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, United Kingdom (FAcSS).

‘The Sidney Sax medal is recognition of Professor Braithwaite’s work and the lasting impact he has had on the health and wellbeing of Australians,’ said Mr Gregg.

Outstanding health leadership during the 2019-20 bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic will be recognised today at a ceremony at the Australian National University (ANU).

Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association Chair, the Hon Jillian Skinner, will jointly award the 2020 Sidney Sax medal for outstanding health leadership to the ANU College of Health and Medicine’s Bushfire Impact Working Group, and Patricia Turner, CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).

During the 2019-20 bushfires, the ANU College of Health and Medicine’s Bushfire Impact Working Group, chaired by Professor Robyn Lucas and Dr Arnagretta Hunter, responded to immediate health needs related to the physical and mental health effects of bushfires and smoke in communities in the ACT and South Coast NSW.

Research projects were initiated to study the health and health systems effects of fire and smoke, including the measurement and assessment of air quality, effects on lung function, and medium to long term impact related to pregnancy and children.

This work has had wide impact, including on the recommendations and findings of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact Australia’s health system and communities, Patricia Turner, Chief Executive of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, played a significant leadership role in ensuring that Commonwealth and state/territory governments took urgent action to protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, closing down access and prioritising safety to prevent community transmission of COVID-19.

In comparison to the devastating incidence of COVID-19 in Indigenous communities abroad, rates of COVID-19 in First Nations peoples in Australia remain proportionately lower than the rest of the population.

This successful model of community leadership will have long-term positive impact for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities working in partnership with governments.

‘The AHHA commends and thanks the award winners for their leadership and their proactive response to the bushfires and the pandemic,’ says AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven.

‘They stand alongside many thousands of people working in the health and aged care sector who have made substantial contributions to protecting the health and wellbeing of Australians this year.

‘Importantly, the contributions of both the ANU Bushfire Impact Working Group and NACCHO CEO Patricia Turner will continue to make Australia a better, safer and healthier country for all its residents.’

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association’s 2019 Sidney Sax Medal was awarded in Brisbane  to Aboriginal heart health advocate Vicki Wade.

‘The Sidney Sax Medal is awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the development and improvement of the Australian healthcare system in the field of health services policy, organisation, delivery and research’, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said.

‘Vicki has demonstrated outstanding service and commitment to Aboriginal health, particularly heart health, in a career spanning over 30 years.

‘And, like the late Sid Sax himself, she has been highly influential through being consultative and respectful.’

Vicki is a Nyoongar woman from rural south west Perth. The women in her family were healers—beginning with her Nan Lily, who helped Aboriginal women at the Gnowangerup mission. She had no formal education because Aboriginal people at the time were denied it.

Subsequently, Vicki’s mum was one of the first Aboriginal women in the area to become an enrolled nurse. Vicki herself continued along this path and began training to be a registered nurse in 1976 before becoming a specialist cardiac nurse and strong advocate for improving Aboriginal health, having witnessed Aboriginal women ‘dying far too young from heart disease’.

Vicki is currently Senior Cultural Advisor with Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) Australia, an organisation based at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin. RHD Australia is dedicated to lessening the burden of acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in Australia.

Vicki was also, for many years, leader of the National Aboriginal Health Unit at the National Heart Foundation and played a key role in the Lighthouse Hospital Project, an initiative of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association and the Heart Foundation, funded by the Australian Government.

This recently concluded 8-year project successfully drove changes in hospitals across Australia to achieve better care and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with coronary heart disease. Notably, exemplars from the Lighthouse Hospital Project have been highlighted in the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare’s case studies for best practice healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Ms Wade said she was humbled to have her name among the many outstanding medal recipients. ‘I‘ve worked in many outstanding teams without wanting recognition or praise for myself. I’m not one to seek accolades at all. But I am humbled and privileged to be awarded the Sidney Sax Medal’, she said.

AHHA Board Chair Adrian Pennington said Ms Wade always approaches situations with optimism, expecting the best.

‘She will always extend a hand to help those less able and will always thoughtfully challenge assumptions and prejudices, both conscious and subconscious. Her gentle guidance never makes people feel uncomfortable—just quietly puts them on the right track.’

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association’s 2018 Sidney Sax medal was awarded to Dr Paul Scown at the 42nd IHF World Hospital Congress gala dinner in Brisbane.

‘The Sidney Sax Medal is awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the development and improvement of the Australian healthcare system in the field of health services policy, organisation, delivery and research’, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said.

‘Dr Scown has demonstrated outstanding service and commitment to the Australian health sector in a career spanning almost four decades.

‘A University of Queensland medical graduate, Dr Scown worked clinically for a number of years in metropolitan, rural and regional Queensland prior to moving into medical administration and then senior leadership roles.

‘Dr Scown has held senior and chief executive positions in public health services in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria. He is currently Chair of Nexus Primary Health, a Victorian community health service.

‘Dr Scown has also demonstrated commitment to the mission and values of the AHHA including through his active participation in and membership of the organisation.

‘A longstanding member of AHHA, Dr Scown is a former AHHA Board Chair and currently a member of AHHA’s Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research Advisory Board. He represents AHHA on the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards and was elected to their Board for a 3 year term in early 2018.

‘Many AHHA members have had the opportunity to work with Dr Scown and experience his commitment, leadership and guidance, both in supporting their professional roles, and more broadly to public health services in Australia.

‘Dr Scown is a worthy recipient of the Sidney Sax medal for 2018 recognising his lifetime commitment to the development and improvement of the Australian healthcare system to the benefit of all Australians.’

The Sidney Sax Medal for 2017 was awarded to the late Jeff Cheverton at the Australian Healthcare and Hospital Association’s (AHHA) annual dinner in Sydney.

‘The Sidney Sax Medal is awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the development and improvement of the Australian healthcare system in the field of health services policy, organisation, delivery and research’, AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said.

‘We are proud to award this medal to Jeff, who demonstrated excellence in health leadership throughout his career until his sudden and unexpected death on 1 March 2017. He was 49 years old.

‘As a member of AHHA’s Board and as a national thought leader, Jeff’s enthusiasm, drive, ‘can do’ attitude and unwavering contribution to improving health and human services are not easily found or replaced.

‘Government, non-government, change management, system reform, disability, mental health, housing, and of course primary healthcare—Jeff did it all, and with a vigour and commitment to equity, human rights, and economic empowerment that benefited not only clients, but the organisations he worked for, the teams he led, and the many boards he sat on, including the Board of AHHA.

As an AHHA Board member, Jeff represented us in the most engaged and exemplary manner, notably as our representative on the National Aged Care Alliance. In short, he did a lot for us and for health and community services in Australia’, Ms Verhoeven said.

In accepting the award on Jeff’s behalf, his partner, Rod Goodbun, noted that Jeff ‘had a way of making a room come alive, and making solutions to seemingly impossible tasks clear and “do-able”.’

‘He was a great talent and a beautiful man. He would have been thrilled to win this medal if he was with us today’, Mr Goodbun said.

AHHA Board Chair Dr Deborah Cole announced that in partnership with Brisbane North Primary Health Network, and the North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network—Jeff’s final two workplaces—a Jeff Cheverton Memorial Scholarship had been established to honour his memory.

‘The six-week scholarship is for postgraduate tertiary students, early career researchers and individuals working in primary health, mental health, aged care, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and LGBTQI health. All of these areas were close to Jeff’s heart’, Dr Cole said.

‘I am pleased to announce that we have two winners of the scholarship for this inaugural year:

  • Dr Mikaela Jorgensen, from Macquarie University, who will conduct a review of local and international research on the impact of consumer-directed care following community aged care policy reforms
  • Miss Madelaine Thorpe, from Brisbane South Primary Health Network, who will produce an issues brief calling for a Primary Health National Minimum Data Set to change how PHNs collect and share data.’

The Sidney Sax Medal for 2016 was awarded to Professor Helena Britt at the Australian Healthcare and Hospital Association’s (AHHA) annual dinner in Brisbane.

‘The Sidney Sax medal is awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the development and improvement of the Australian healthcare system in the field of health services policy, organisation, delivery and research,’ AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said.

‘We are proud to present this medal to Professor Britt for her years of leadership and dedication in health research, particularly general practice research.’

Professor Britt started her career as a research psychologist, and has worked in market research, educational research and then general practice research. Her work in the GP sector has spanned 37 years.

She was until June this year Director of the Family Medicine Research Centre at the School of Public Health of the University of Sydney. As Director of the Centre, she led the design, establishment and conduct of the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) program. The program entailed a continuous national study of general practice clinical activity in Australia, for nearly 20 years.

Professor Britt continues to be involved in supporting ongoing BEACH analyses in other parts of the University of Sydney following the Centre’s closure, providing invaluable data on Australian general practice.

‘Professor Britt’s work has been essential to the development of health policy and practice for the past 20 years, and will remain a highly-valued resource in the future,’ Ms Verhoeven said.

Professor Britt has been a member of the International Classification Committee of the World Organisation of Family Doctors for almost 30 years.

She has written more than 200 published journal articles, and 37 books on general practice clinical activity, with topics ranging from adverse patient events, multimorbidity, disease prevalence primary care clinical terminology and classification, and others.

‘This award goes to the Family Medicine Research Team, an amazing group of very experienced researchers, the loss of which is devastating to primary care research,’ says Professor Britt.

In her acceptance of the award, Professor Britt noted that while the data collection would still have currency in the short-term, its value would diminish over time without renewed commitment to the collection of quality general practice data in Australia.

Professor Len Notaras AM has been awarded the Sidney Sax medal by the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association for his decades of stellar work in health and disaster response, at a presentation dinner in Brisbane.

‘The Sidney Sax medal is awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the development and improvement of the Australian healthcare system in the field of health services policy, organisation, delivery and research,’ AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said.

‘Professor Notaras is a very worthy recipient of the medal, having worked tirelessly to address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health issues in the Northern Territory, his managing of the disaster response to the Bali bombings, and for his role in establishing the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC) in Darwin.’

The current Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Territory Department of Health, Professor Notaras has also served as the Medical Superintendent at Royal Darwin Hospital and the Executive Director of the NCCTRC.

In his position at Royal Darwin Hospital, Professor Notaras coordinated the treatment of dozens of injured victims of the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings, many of whom arrived at the hospital in a critical condition.

His vision and drive were central to the establishment of the NCCTRC in Darwin, which under his leadership deployed response teams to the Ashmore Reef Siev 36 boat explosion and the devastating 2010 floods in Pakistan, where they treated more than 11,000 people.

Professor Notaras also treated former East Timor President Jose Ramos Horta after he was shot in an attempted assassination in February 2008.

He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2003.

‘It is an honour to be recognised in such a positive and prestigious way by a group of peers,” Professor Notaras said.

“The name Sidney Sax is iconic and synonymous with his successes and achievements, and for me to just share in a part of that reflected glory is breathtaking. It is one of the proudest moments of my life.’

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) awarded the 2014 Sidney Sax medal to Professor Judith Dwyer today, honouring her lifelong commitment to delivering high quality health services in Australia, particularly in the area of Indigenous health.

Speaking at the organisation’s annual conference in Sydney, AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said that the award recognised the extraordinary dedication and achievements of Professor Dwyer.

“With more than 20 years of experience in community, hospital and government settings, Professor Dwyer has earned huge respect among her peers and made an immeasurable impact with her research. In particularly, her research focusing on health system governance and design has touched the lives of so many across Australia.”

“This is a singular honour, and I am truly delighted to receive it,” Professor Dwyer said in a statement to conference delegates. “I had the great pleasure of spending a little time with Sid Sax when I was a young health policy and management enthusiast, and he was the chair of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. He was a generous and wise advisor on anything to do with health policy and programs, or the careers of young managers.”

Professor Dwyer, who currently works in the Health Care Management Department at Flinders University, also raised an issue that she believes Dr Sidney Sax would have seen as critical today.

“I have recently had a powerful reason to be grateful for Australia’s public health system, during the final illness of my sister Sue, a loved and respected professional actor. Sue lived on a low income for most of her life as theatre people do. I watched her receive first class diagnostics and treatment without charge at the Princess Alexandra in Brisbane. One day I saw her pay $20 for four expensive drugs at the hospital pharmacy. It reminded me that I love this country, for allowing her the dignity of being able to afford her treatment.

“In times like these, the role of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association is critical. There is now, once more, much to be done in defending Medicare and the principle of universal access that has served the Australian community so well.”

A lifelong commitment to delivering high quality health services in Australia, and particularly in rural communities, has been acknowledged by the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA), in its awarding of the Sidney Sax Medal for 2013 to John Smith, West Wimmera Health Service Chief Executive.

The award recognises outstanding achievement in, and contribution to the development and improvement of the Australian healthcare system – and while there are many very dedicated professionals who are worthy of such recognition, John Smith stands out in the crowd.

John’s 50-year career has seen him serve as Chief Executive Officer of the Nhill Hospital for 30 years, and subsequently as Chief Executive Officer of the West Wimmera Health Service, a position he holds to this day. John has played an active leadership role throughout his profession, serving as chairman of the Victorian Hospitals’ Association Honorary Board of Directors until 1997, after which he was appointed as the President of the AHHA, a role that he held until 2000. He continues to provide leadership to the health sector as the AHHA’s representative on, and Vice President of, the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards.

“Throughout his career, John has taken every opportunity to represent the views and the needs of health consumers and communities, particularly in rural areas, and in doing so has gained the respect of his colleagues,” says Alison Verhoeven, AHHA Chief Executive.

“Over the course of his career, John Smith has demonstrated that he has the interests of rural communities at heart and works with the utmost commitment to ensure that their future is assured. It is with this sentiment and with recognition of his contributions across the health sector that the AHHA is pleased to award John with the 2013 Sidney Sax Medal.”

The AHHA had great pleasure in awarding the 2012 Sidney Sax Medal to Professor Andrew Wilson. Professor Wilson is an outstanding leader in our health system where he has made a rich and varied contribution to our public healthcare sector as a clinician, senior policymaker and academic.

Andrew has a Bachelor of Medical Science, a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery (Hons) and a PhD in Epidemiology. He is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and a Fellow of Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine.

Andrew is Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health at Queensland University of Technology.
Andrew’s previous roles include:
• Deputy Director‐General Policy, Strategy and Resourcing, Queensland Health
• Professor of Public Health, School of Population Health and Deputy Dean and Director of Research Faculty of Health Sciences University of Queensland
• Chief Health Officer and Deputy Director‐General Public Health, NSW Health.
Andrew is also a member of, or on the Board of:

  • The Repatriation Medical Authority,
  • the Protocol Advisory Sub-Committee of the Medical Services Advisory Committee,
  • Health Workforce Australia,
  • the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (Advisory Board),
  • the Specialist Training Accreditation Committee, Australian Medical Council, and
  • the Greater Brisbane South Medicare Local.

He has previously served on both the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee and the Medical Services Advisory Committee.

In August, Andrew was appointed as the new Director of the Sydney node of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy.

Andrew’s distinguished career began as a public health physician whose research interests have focused on the application of epidemiology to inform decision making in clinical medicine, public health and health service policy and planning. His specific interests are in the prevention and management of chronic disease, evaluation of the effectiveness and responsiveness of health care systems and the impact of social environment on health and health care behaviour. He has authored over 100 papers and reports.

Andrew is also the Editor-in-Chief of the AHHA’s Australian Health Review and has consolidated its position as a leading peer-reviewed health journal, both nationally and internationally. He was integral to the establishment of the AHHA’s Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research signing the Queensland University of Technology up as a founding partner, and actively participating in its development as a Board member.

Andrew’s contribution to Australia’s healthcare system has been, and continues to be, significant and influential. He achieves much with intelligence, vision, good humour and compassion.

Mick Reid is well known as an outstanding leader in our health system for over three decades.

He has spent most of his working life in the health and human services industry and has made a rich and varied contribution to it. He has a national and international reputation as a public sector manager, as a reviewer of health systems, as a reformer of health agencies and as a planner of health services.

Mick understands well the complexities of the Australian health system with its competing demands between high-tech specialist medical care on one hand and primary and preventive health care on the other. He also knows that resources are needed to ensure equitable distribution of services while also focusing on disadvantaged groups such as Indigenous Australians and those with mental illness.

Mick was born in Sydney in April 1948. Mick graduated with a Bachelor of Economics from the Australian National University in 1974 and for the next seven years held various public sector positions. It was during this time, Mick was seconded to work with Sidney Sax at the Health and Hospitals Commission as a policy officer.

In 1976 Mick moved to NSW and worked in the Health Department. He was awarded the inaugural Neville Wran Public Service scholarship. That scholarship allowed Mick to move to London and work at the prestigious St Thomas’ Hospital for eighteen months, focusing on UK mechanisms for resource allocation. Mick subsequently returned to NSW Health and introduced the notion of equity in budget allocations in NSW and subsequently other States.

In 1981 his career took a different turn when he became involved in the world of Aboriginal art and craft. Mick had a keen interest in the area and so when a job for a craft adviser on Bathurst Island in the Northern Territory came up, he was very interested. There was a small problem however. The successful candidate needed to have extensive screen printing experience – and Mick had none. Not to be put off by such a minor detail he enrolled in an “intensive” course at Sydney University over one weekend, and of course, he nailed the interview and got the job. Mick still credits his time at Bathurst and Melville Islands working with the Tiwi people on pottery and traditional arts and crafts, as one of the most satisfying of his career and one that has been influential in learning the skills of management.

For a total of five years, including the two years at Bathurst and Melville Islands, he was employed by the Australia Council as Craft Adviser in Aboriginal Communities and as a consultant to the Aboriginal Arts Board of the Australia Council.

His commitment to Indigenous peoples has remained undiminished and later in his career he held important positions as Chair of the NSW Reconciliation Committee, Chair of the National Advisory Group on Indigenous Health Information and Data and much more recently was appointed as a mentor by the Australia Council to Aboriginal Theatre organisations. In the area of health he undertook the first comprehensive study of the morbidity and mortality of Aboriginal communities in Australia.

One of Gillian’s grandfathers was the British Resident in the Persian Gulf; the other started Australia’s first whiskey distillery at Corio, near Geelong. I leave it to you to decide who made the greater contribution!

Gillian’s parents met and married in India and came to Australia after Partition with her three older siblings. Gillian was born in Sydney and learned to swim at Manly beach. The family moved to Tasmania when she was seven, where she finished her schooling as dux and captain of the school – perhaps a sign of things to come. She was also a junior state badminton and swimming champion. After deciding not to study medicine, of the four typical options of the time – teaching, secretarial, nursing or matrimony – she started her hospital based nurse training at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

One of her early, formative experiences was nursing burns patients during and after the Tasmanian bush fires in 1967.

She worked as a nurse in Melbourne and Adelaide before embarking on the trip O/S when she worked in London for two years, traveling around Europe at every opportunity.

On her return to the Royal Hobart Hospital after an absence of some years the doorman greeted her: “Welcome back Sister Biscoe. Had a nice holiday?” Clearly you can’t always be a high impact personality!

California and consulting
Gillian rose to be the Deputy Director of nursing in Hobart and was understandably busy; too busy to complete the forms to undertake a Kellog Foundation Fellowship in America until two friends and colleagues sat her down and forced her too. She was awarded the scholarship and spent two years studying at the University of California , San Francsico (UCSF) for her Masters of Science. Surprisingly she found she had many friends from Australia who really needed to see her while she was in San Francisco!

While in California Gillian undertook her first consulting assignment as part of the Magnet Hospital study at UCSFand Stanford Universities. She continued to build her international network of friends and colleagues.

The Commonwealth and Canberra
In the mid 1980s Gillian spoke at a conference and Ann Kern, then Deputy Secretary of Commonwealth Health returned and instructed; “Recruit that bird”. There was, regrettably, no actual vacancy in the Senior Executive Service at the time. But those who know Ann – at least then – knew that “no” was never a good response to a direction!

Soon Gillian’s brightly colored suits, energy and commitment were shaking up the floors of the Alexander and Albermarle buildings in Woden, ACT and around the country. Because she had never been a proper bureaucrat she did not know what she was not supposed to do, so got on and did it!

The Hawke government was new, Neal Blewett was Health Minister and Bernie McKay was Secretary of the Department. The Better Health Commission, National Campaign against Drug Abuse and HIV AIDS were front and centre and the Health Advancement Division was the place to be. Gillian led on the Transfer of Nurse Education from hospitals to tertiary education and the Doherty enquiry into Medical Education.

While she was in Canberra she was seconded as the chief executive of the Royal Canberra Hospital.

New Zealand and change
In 1988 Gillian went to the New Zealand Department of Health as Corporate Change agent to help redesign the Department as part of the reforms to devolve to Area Health Boards. On her first day at work, thousands of public servants went on strike and marched on Parliament to oppose the State Sector Bill. That night on TV, Stan Rodger, the Minister for State Services, said: “Well, that was a waste of time. You’ve all lost a day’s pay and we’ve saved seven million dollars in wages”. Clearly a different public sector climate than that in Hawke government Australia.

She moved on to become Deputy Director General as the Department moved to become a Ministry of Health focusing on a policy and advisory role. This was fundamentally a change of culture, and not just a technical restructuring exercise.

During her time in New Zealand Gillian went to China to consult for the World Health Organisation (WHO). This was in May, June 1989 and for those who know their history these were indeed “interesting times”. Prior to this adventure her father gave her two pieces of advice: “Do what you normally do as that seems to work … just add a few noughts” and “You need only ask three questions. What do you have, what do you desire, how can I help?” And in so doing gave Gillian a foundation for her consulting activities.

Australian Capital Territory
In 1991 Gillian returned to Canberra as Secretary of ACT Health and Chief Executive of the Canberra Hospital Board. The first thing she set about doing was making the two jobs one. The ACT is always challenging due to size and politics – and this was before the Minster took to having an office in the hospital!

About five years after Gillian left ACT Health was of her former executive management team said: “I have only just begun to realise what Gillian was on about”!

Coming “Home”
In 1993 Gillian was given to opportunity to go “home” to Tasmania as the Secretary of the recently created Department of Community and Health Services formed from the Departments of Housing, Community Services and Health. Over the next few years the benefits to client and patients of truly merging these functions began to become evident.

While Secretary, Gillian initiated a multi-stakeholder 2020 project to imagine what the system might be like in 25 years time. This was a considered a strange thing to do at the time – especially by the people from central agencies who were asked to participate! That early work has informed thinking and planning over the last fifteen years.

She was Secretary of the Department at the time of the Port Arthur tragedy in 1996.

The Consulting Life
During her time at the top of health organizations Gillian continued to undertake consulting assignments; the logical next step was to do this full time and in 1996 she did. Since then she has worked in over fifty countries for international organizations like WHO, governments, organizations and individuals across the public, private and not for profit sectors. She has been active in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the Americas and the Asia Pacific region.

A recent assignment saw her working on a free trade agreement for which she was required to sign the Official Secrets Act and not discuss any of the proceedings. To which a young friend exclaimed to her husband, Brian: “How good is that! You don’t have to do any of that boring ‘how was your day, dear’”!

But it is not all work. Gillian is a Board member and facilitator of the Tasmania Leaders Program – a not for profit organisation now in its fourth year- which develops leaders across the Tasmanian commuity, across all sectors. She plays regular tennis and occasional golf; she is committed to family and friends; she travels for work and play and enjoys time at the family “retreat” at Bellettes Bay, Tasmania.

Many people who get to the “top” of the health system and “go consulting” find that they make perhaps a more significant contribution in this role. This is especially true if their consulting activity focuses on what they enjoy most, and are best at; which is not always possible in executive jobs.

Gillian’s work on whole system change, leadership, people development, mentoring, and energizing, envisioning and inspiring the next generation, plays to her strengths.

Her life has themes throughout: travel, service, vision, commitment, energy, achievement and compassion.

  • She has done work in Iran and India echoing the contributions of her grandfather and father … and forged her own path in life.
  • She has developed national health workforce strategies … and helped put wells in villages.
  • She has led multi year health reform projects … and nurtured young graduates in their career and life struggles.
  • She has guided Boards on strategy … and been a friend to many.
  • She has provided strategic policy advice to WHO global meetings in Geneva …and she has worked on HIV/AIDS projects in China where all the young prostitutes wanted, was a hug.

Steve is well-known for his outstanding work, particularly his contribution to health knowledge and systems and to innovative medical education.

Medical Education
His first opportunity in the area of medical education came through the great Newcastle University experiment led by Professor David Maddison, who had been appointed Foundation Dean and who became a great friend and mentor of Steve’s.

He attracted Steve from McMaster University in Canada to join the fledgling Faculty of Medicine at Newcastle.

Steve was instrumental in developing an assessment system for the Medical Faculty that encouraged cooperation between students rather than competition, and contributed to changes in assessment in medical courses throughout the country.

From 1976 to 1985, as Foundation Professor of Community Medicine, Steve contributed to the Faculty’s Education Program. He was instrumental in promoting the development of Community Medicine within the Faculty as well as throughout the Hunter Valley region, working through the University and the NSW Department of Health.

Health knowledge and systems
Steve has also made a significant contribution to health knowledge and systems through his own research across two critically important health areas – both as a physician and an epidemiologist.

He has undertaken significant research into respiratory disease, especially asthma, and cardiovascular disease. His focus has been on the epidemiology of heart disease and the personal, social and economic impact and burden of coronary vascular disease on sufferers and their communities.

Steve has contributed to this area nationally and internationally through involvement in projects like the World Health Organisation’s MONICA project which measured trends in coronary heart disease and mortality in many countries.

He successfully attracted Rockefeller Foundation funding to Newcastle University and was Director of the Rockefeller Asian and Pacific Centre for Clinical Epidemiology which trained epidemiologists from Australia and neighbouring countries.

Steve was a moving force in the evolution of the Public Health Association of Australia, which developed from the Australian and New Zealand Association for Epidemiology and Research in Community Health Association of the 1970s.

During the time when Steve was National President, the Public Health Association made an outstanding contribution to national health issues, including supporting the preservation of Medicare when it was under threat in the early years of the Howard government.

He was also instrumental in establishing the Australasian Epidemiological Association and headed it from 1991 to 1995.

Community advocate
When Steve moved to Westmead Hospital in 1985 as head of the Department of Community Medicine and Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine, he began a long association with the people of Western Sydney. In his view, these are people who are often overlooked by their more influential neighbours in Central and Eastern Sydney.

To the surprise of his Sydney University and Hospital medical colleagues, he surfaced as a member of the Area Health Board of the Western Sydney Area Health Service, not wearing either of those hats, but as Community Representative. He had earned this because he lived at Westmead.

In this position, he was able to encourage improvement in health services through his research, his lifelong passion for equity and his interest in prevention. Added to this was his vast experience in health services from a medical, academic and administrative perspective. He has chaired the Human Research Ethics Committee for that area continuously since 1992.

Steve does research, writes, speaks out, advises, trains and puts people in touch with each other across discipline boundaries in the name of better health for the people of Australia.

Throughout his time at Newcastle, and then in Sydney, Steve fought for many health issues through his journalism and radio and television appearances. He was a regular contributor to the Newcastle Herald, as well as the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, the Medical Journal of Australia, Australian Doctor and Australian Medicine as well as many other journals.

He has written in many different settings, spoken on countless television and radio programs, championing an improved health system for everyone but especially for the disadvantaged in the community.

This has required half a lifetime of instant availability for the media – Steve learnt early on the importance of the timely response and the sound bite.

You may be surprised to learn that Steve’s friends believe he would like to have been a journalist and poet. His contributions to the Newcastle Herald included many poems and independent book reviews, and not just articles on health or wider medical political issues.

National committees and organisations
Steve was able to make a significant national impact on the health of Australians through his long involvement with national organizations like the National Health and Medical Research Council and its associated bodies, promoting substantial research efforts with energy and common sense.

He has been chairman or member of numerous advisory councils and committees contributing on a wide range of health issues at national, state and regional levels for more than 30 years.

As a member of the Australian Better Health Commission from 1984 to 1986, he was a champion of expert committees which gave authoritative information and advice in areas like nutrition and prevention of injuries. He was involved in establishing targets for health and health promotion, some of which have recently been updated in government reports released this year.

He has been a member of advisory committees to State Health Ministers across the field of health and hospital services including health promotion and education.

From 1997 to 2002, Steve was Dean of the Sydney University Medical Faculty. After years of contributing to the development of education and research in the Faculty, he was able to oversee the transformation to a graduate program in medicine and a problem–based learning approach, taking advantage of the lessons from Newcastle, and providing leadership to other universities across the country.

During that time, he was also instrumental in the establishment of rural clinical schools like that at Broken Hill. These schools became centres of education and training and part of the support of health services for rural and isolated Australians.

Chronic disease
During his time as Dean and beyond, Steve continued his efforts nationally and internationally helping to lead international awareness of the emergence of chronic non-communicable diseases.

While at Columbia University in 2003 and 2004, he and colleagues at the Earth Institute published an influential report called Race Against Time. This report documents the opportunities for emerging economies to combat the coming epidemics of Coronary Vascular Disease before they become economically catastrophic burdens to those economies.

Since 2004, Steve has developed the concept of a Health Policy Unit, now the Menzies Centre for Health Policy. It devotes energy to researching, advising on and publicising many health policy issues, especially those relating to chronic disease. It also trains PhD students and other professionals who want to learn how to make better health policies.

Steve has received many awards in recognition of his efforts. In 2004 he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia and in 2007 he was awarded an honorary Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners for his contribution over many years to primary health care and general practice.

As those who invite him to comment on programs or ideas will know well that he is a forceful, experienced and at times uncomfortable voice for the best in health services for Australians.

Helen has made an outstanding contribution to health services policy, organisation, delivery and research in this nation. Her achievements in, and contribution to, the development and improvement of the Australian healthcare system have been outstanding. She has published extensively on health policy.


Through her lifetime commitment to the health system, and related services, she has achieved national and international recognition.


First and foremost, Helen is a health economist. As such, she has had substantial influence in health policy development in Australia. She has a considerable intellect and has gained profound professional standing.


The traditional role of a good university academic requires a capacity to be skilled in the three areas of teaching, research and services. Helen, in her long academic career mainly, at the University of New South Wales in the School of Health Services Management, has been and continues to be an outstanding achiever across all three aspects.


Teaching has been conducted in a variety of multi-level programs. Many of her former students in health service administration and management are currently employed throughout health services in Australia. She currently holds positions at Queensland and Hong Kong Universities.


As her curriculum vitae reveals, there is a substantial national and international research and scholarship performance, including an international track record in tobacco health research. Her work as a health economist has led to a number of consultancies with international agencies, including the World Bank, World Health Organisation, the International Red Cross and AUSAID.


In terms of the third arm of the academic role – ‘service’ – Helen has complemented her formal academic work by contributing to the Australian healthcare system in a wide variety of other roles with numerous health and health-related organisations at both the state and national level. These roles have included a whole range of board roles, including the NSW Medical Board, as well as editorial roles on key academic journals. All these roles have involved a high level of personal commitment in a very busy and active career.


She has also been a dedicated contributor to academic journals: For example, the Australian Health Review, Australian Casemix Bulletin, Journal of Health Administration Education and Australian Studies in Health Service Administration.


This outstanding contribution to the improvement of the Australian healthcare system is underpinned by her ability to instil the complexities and debates on contemporary health issues and to facilitate outcomes through the direct application of friendly critique.


In summary Helen Lapsley has:

  1. A long-standing and current voluntary contribution to a very wide range of organisations.
  2. Current academic roles in Hong Kong and Queensland University and a lengthy career at the University of New South Wales.
  3. Substantial contributions in research and teaching to medical and health professionals in health economics and related subjects, including over 60 publications.
  4. An international reputation in health economics, including many consultancies.
  5. An extraordinary variety of complex organisational and leadership commitments in health bodies.
  6. A capacity to clarify changing complex health issues, using a facilitative style, such as with the National Health Summits of 2003 and 2004.
  7. A high level of critical inquiry skills that ease pathways and solutions, for example in the NSW Medical Board.
  8. A unique capacity to link the academic with the experiential and to apply this with great ease to health service matters.
  9. A set of personal qualities that allows her to communicate clearly with the health sector.


The Australian Healthcare Association has great pleasure in awarding the 2004 AHA Sidney Sax Medal to Helen Lapsley.

Professor Duckett has made an outstanding contribution in the field of health services policy, organisation, delivery and research. His achievements in, and contribution to, the development and improvement of the Australian health care system and health policy are outstanding.

Professor Duckett’s commitment to policy leadership in the health sector spans more than 20 years. He is respected nationally and internationally as a leader in health policy. Professor Duckett also has a long-standing commitment to high quality teaching and research in health-related fields and he is a well known and sought after commentator on a range of health policy issues.

An economist with a PhD in Health Administration, Professor Duckett is currently Professor of Health Policy, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Health Developments) at LaTrobe University in Melbourne. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Health Service Executives.

As well as his academic career, Professor Duckett has also had a distinguished bureaucratic career, culminating in the position of Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Human Services and Health. In this role he held statutory responsibility for a range of policy areas including health insurance, aged care, children’s services, disability services, drug regulation, public health and research.

He encouraged innovative policy solutions and a new approach to Commonwealth-State relations in public health in Australia based on negotiated performance targets.

He set standards to improve accountability to the public and Parliament by an increased emphasis on open and honest evaluation of programs, development of performance indicators and public reporting on those.

Over the course of his career so far, Professor Stephen Duckett has contributed significantly to the transformation of health services nationally, particularly in Victoria. His major initiatives include the implementation of casemix funding for public hospitals, for which he earned himself the title of ‘Captain Casemix’, and the recent reconfiguration of the Victorian public health sector.

Professor Duckett has continued to lobby for improvements to health service governance and for greater accountability by Boards of Directors for the safety and quality of health services.

Professor Duckett was nominated by Bayside Health, a large Victorian Metropolitan Health Service. He has been Chair of the Board of Directors of Bayside Health since it was first established in June 2000 and was recently reappointed for a further 3-year term.

He has emphasised that the key to quality management is the development of a culture of openness and innovation within each health care organisation and that this culture is necessary to sustain an environment where, should adverse events occur, they are reported and analysed to minimise the risk of similar events occurring in the future.

In addition to his own research, his conference and committee participation and his extensive list of publications in health policy, Professor Duckett has fostered research related to health policy within his own university, nationally and internationally over many years. His influence continues to be far reaching.

Professor Duckett’s contribution to the fields of health services policy, organisation, delivery and research have been outstanding and he is a worthy recipient of the 2003 Sidney Sax Medal in recognition of his past and ongoing work.

Throughout his career Jon has exhibited a dedication to and a belief in the public health system. Professionally he is interested in the application of principles of general management to health service management; the authority, autonomy and accountability of health professionals; the management of professional staff; bioethics and quality concepts.

These interests are clearly demonstrated by the manner he had undertaken senior positions in both the Tasmanian and Western Australian Health systems. Currently he holds the position of Director Medical Services, Bunbury Health Service. Previously he has held the positions of Tasmanian Director of Hospitals and Ambulance Service, Director and General Manager of the Northern and Southern Regional Health Boards in Tasmania, and Chief Executive Officer of the Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital Perth and of the Royal Hobart Hospital. Jon has also been extensively involved in the Australian Healthcare Association, Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators and the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards, recognising these associations play an invaluable role in the Australian Health System.

Jon has a unique capacity to examine particular issues or situations and carefully make a recommendation for action that is in the best interests of the total system. He is respected across the health system and throughout the country as a man of outstanding integrity. He is not one to provide an expedient response to resolve an issue. He will always examine the future consequences.

Jon has a great feel for people. He has never lost his respect for people as individuals and his respect for others is reciprocated by those around him and those with whom his responsibilities bring him in contact. He is respected universally for his quiet unassuming manner, making himself available to support others, and his provision of sound counsel. He manages to ensure that all parties believe they have been given a fair hearing even though the outcome may not be what they initially set out to achieve. Jon will have ensured the outcome is what is best for the public health system.

Since graduating from medicine Jon has maintained a passion for learning. He is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators, and the Australian Institute of Management, and has been a fellow of the King Edward’s Hospital Fund for London. Indeed, many owe the progression of their careers to what they learnt whilst working with Jon.

The majority of Jon’s professional career has been spent in Tasmania and Western Australia. Following his acceptance of a position in the Bunbury Regional Health Service in February 2001 he commenced his third stint in the West which has been interspersed with three periods in Tasmania. Throughout his career he has also worked overseas spending three and a half years in the Republic of Nauru as the Senior Medical Officer for the Nauru Phosphate Corporation and had twelve months as a research fellow at the Flinders Medical Centre.

Following his return to Tasmania in 1996 as the Northern Regional Director a major review was undertaken of the public health system which resulted in a restructure of the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services. Jon was appointed the inaugural Director of the Hospitals and Ambulance Service, responsible for the three major hospitals and the Tasmanian Ambulance Service.

During this period he was committed to improving the quality of services provided and ensuring equitable access, by Tasmanians to appropriate public hospital services. He established clinical advisory structures within the key areas of surgery, medical, women’s and children’s services, pathology and imaging in order to allow a statewide perspective and clinical overview to balance regional developments and local needs, and he ensured that policy development carried the same balance. Indeed it was this sense of the needs of the whole system which distinguished Jon’s approach. He was always regarded as a person of outstanding integrity and fairness. He was also known as a valuable mentor and support to his staff.

Throughout his professional career Jon has made an enormous contribution to improving the quality of health services and systems. He was an inaugural member of the Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Healthcare. For nearly 10 years he was an accredited surveyor for the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS) and for five years was a preceptor for surveyors in Western Australia. In 1994 the Australian Healthcare Association nominated Jon as a Councillor for ACHS and in 1996 the Councillors elected him as a Board member. He is currently vice president of the ACHS Board. His extensive involvement in the health system and experience as a surveyor enables him to bring a wealth of knowledge to the ACHS Board. All councillors and Board members hold him in very high regard for his wise, carefully assessed and balanced views. The President has absolute faith and trust in his capacity and contribution to the Council and to the betterment of care for clients of the health system. Jon was also a member of the Australian Council for Safety & Quality in Health Care until his return to WA in February this year.

Jon has been a National Councillor for the Australian Health Care Association, initially for Western Australia and then for Tasmania. His contribution to national council was invaluable as he not only understood service delivery issues but also his involvement in national policy development enable him to present views at council meetings that others couldn’t. Jon has also been extensively involved in the State branches of the AHA and upon his return to Tasmania in 1996 was responsible for re-invigorating the State branch and ensuring it provided its members with a range of activities.

There are few individuals within the Australian health system who have Jon’s record of quiet integrity and performance, intellect and humanity. He is held in the highest regard by those he works with and that exceptional regard has generated this nomination

Dr David Watson has shown total commitment to the Australian healthcare system, both at Federal and State levels and in numerous capacities right from the beginning of his medical career.

Since graduating in medicine in 1968 it has been clear that David has always been willing to assist in improving the Australian healthcare system and delivery of hight quality clinical care. In the early 1970s, while employed at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, he promoted nursing and allied health professional education. His interest in improving the education and training of healthcare professionals has continued throughout his career.

David has continued this drive to improve healthcare delivery through his own clinical work while at the same time being involved in organisations such as the Australian Healthcare Association, at both State and National levels; St John of God Hospital, Subiaco and Geraldton; Australian Medical Association, at State and National levels; Hospital Benefit Fund of WA; Medical Defence Association of WA; Quadriplegic Centre Board; Westcare Board; and recently through his appointment to the St John of God Australian Catholic Health Board.

Importantly, David once appointed or elected to a position actively participates and maintains his enthusiasm for a considerable number of years. Unlike many who serve on committees he gives long-term commitment and is not there for short-term gains. Also, he fulfils a senior role within the organisation either as chairman or vice-chairman. This is clearly an indication of the standing he is held by his peers. For example David has contributed 13 years to HBF of WA, four of which as deputy chairman; 13 years on the Medical Defence Association, currently President; 12 years to the Quadriplegic Centre Board, currently deputy chairman; 13 years on the AMA WA State Council during which time he served as president and nine of these years he was a member of the AMA Federal Council; 7 years to AHA, including holding the position of national vice-president; and 18 years to Healthcare Association of WA, including holding the position of vice president.

In addition to his involvement in organisations David has sat on numerous Federal and State Ministerial Committees. His name is usually the first mentioned when looking for someone with a balanced, intelligent and informed view on healthcare matters.

While operating his own very successful private practice he continues his interest in teaching and for the past five years has been a member of the medical teaching unit at St John of God Hospital, Subiaco.

Medical administration has no escaped his interest and for four years he occupied the position of Director of Medical Services at St John of God, Subiaco.

David has always given freely of his time and is held in high regard for his commitment, compassion, patience and understanding. To say the nuns at St John of God Hospital adore him is an understatement.

When looking at his CV one wonders how he finds the time, energy and enthusiasm to undertake his numerous roles. An extremely important aspect that should not be overlooked is that while undertaking these duties David also has a very balanced family life with his wife and two daughters.

But there is more.

Healthcare is not his only interest as sport also plays an important role in his life. From his days as school swimming captain, then 4 years as a swimming coach and more recently as Vice-Patron and Patron of Swan Districts Football Club, a very successful club in the Western Australian league he has shown that there are no half measures if you want to succeed.

Not content purely to be a participant he throws himself wholeheartedly into the fray – often at a high personal cost and a sacrifice to his leisure time. He has an infinite capacity to read, absorb and analyse all documents and then prepare at rapid speed a succinct, astute and reasoned informative report on meetings at the speed of the return flight to Perth.

Renowned as a very skilled physician for compassion, caring and an exemplary bedside manner, David is highly sought after in the medical management of difficult and complex cases eg. chronic fatigue syndrome and involves himself with passion in these cases.

David has over the past 20 years shown his total commitment to the Australian healthcare system through a diversity of roles, organisations and services. It is well recognised that David always puts the good of the service ahead of his personal interests. For a person to be able to balance his healthcare interests, his family life and his sporting interests is clearly a person that should receive full public recognition by being awarded the Sax medal.

The recipient of the 1999 Sax Medal is a person who has made a major contribution to the Australian healthcare system over twenty-five years and is held in high esteem throughout the industry.

Ron Tindale entered the health system in 1971 in the position of financial controller at Canterbury Hospital Sydney. Ron was a qualified accountant and had held positions in a number of commercial enterprises, including Alcoa with whom for a time he was stationed at Nhulumby, Gove, in the Northern Territory.

In 1973 he was appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Lewisham Hospital and became Chief Executive Officer of Canterbury Hospital in 1975. In 1980 he became CEO of the 400-bed Wollongong Hospital, situated some 80km south of Sydney in an expanding industrial centre.

From early times in his career Ron Tindale displayed special commitment to his primary responsibilities and this is reflected in his rapid career progress. He also entered into the professional activities that accompany those destined to make a wider contribution to health management. He undertook further studies and attained a Bachelor of Health Administration from the University of NSW.

In his own health management career Ron moved to the position of Chief Executive Officer of Hornsby and Ku-ring-gay Hospital and Health Services in 1983. This was the flagship organisation in NSW in terms of its piloting of conjoint community health and hospital management and its conduct of the NSW branch of the ACHSE’s highly regarded Management Training Program. Ron Tindale added to the reputation of Hornsby in both these regards. He made great efforts to see expansion of activities and quality services at his place of work.

In 1986Ron was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the newly established Area Health Service based at Hornsby in Sydney. He continued in this role until the amalgamation of this area in 1988 with four other areas formed the larger Northern Sydney Area Health Service. He was appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Director of Operations of this complex organisation that employed some 8,000 staff. In this role Ron again displayed his enormous capacity for hard work, wise decision-making and people skills. His contribution enhanced the progress of the new area.

In 1991 he transferred to Western Sydney Area Health Service in the same role. Closer to his home and in the company of Dr Owen Curteis as Chief Executive Officer, Ron was able to concentrate his efforts in the development of Western Sydney in addition to his professional commitments.

In 1978 Ron joined the NSW Branch of what is now the Australian College of Health Service Executives, and by this time was active in the Australian Hospital Association and the newly formed Australian Council on Healthcare Standards. He soon made a mark in all these bodies with recognition quickly given to his skills, commitment and talents.

Senior executive positions were soon offered to him to enable his contribution to be facilitated. He also became a Fellow of the College.

Ron, as President for two years of the NSW Branch of the College was highly visible, articulate and forthright in his view. He brought credit to the College and advanced many opportunities for the positive development of health management. He became a visiting committee member of the School of Health Services Management of the University of NSW.

As a Federal Councillor Ron gave 9 years service to the College and had been the Honorary Treasurer of the College in that time. His service in this capacity has been excellent. In recent time he has represented the College internationally, being an invited speaker at the 1997 Hong Kong Hospital Authority Convention. His two papers on ‘Leadership’ and ‘Transforming the Practice of Management’ were outstanding. Their rigour, insight and intellectual depth are characteristic of Ron. His is a true professional.

His contribution to the Australian Healthcare Association has been even more commendable. He became one of the architects of the amalgamation of health associations in NSW which resulted in the formation of the Health Services Association of NSW in 1992. This new body was able to progress largely because of the skilled contribution of Ron Tindale from his executive position in the former AHA (NSW Branch).

In 1995 Ron Tindale became Federal President of the AHA and led the organisation through a period of transformation and potential restructure. His capacity and abilities have served the newly titled Australian Healthcare Association in an outstanding fashion.

In 1999 Ron was appointed as a member of the Council of the International Hospital Federation. This is a measure of the esteem in which Ron is held not only in Australia but internationally. In 1981 Ron played a vital role on the Organising Committee for the IHF Conference held in Sydney in that year.

As stated earlier Ron has always had a strong commitment to the quality and performance improvement aspects of the industry. This is reflected in his contribution to the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards over the past two decades as a surveyor initially and then in his role of Councillor and Board Member representing the AHA.

Throughout Australia, Ron has been recognised as a person of integrity, a person committed to improving the system and a person with the knowledge and skills to implement such improvements. His financial background, management know-how and experience coupled with his cool unflappable approach and negotiating skill shave ensured that his council, input and advice has been sought on a myriad of matters by the broad cross section of the Australian Healthcare system.

The unstinting devotion of his time, intellect and energy is a measure of Ron’s dedication and commitment. This has continued over this past twelve months despite his fluctuating health status.

Ron is a person who whilst achieving hight office has not sought a high profile or wanted the overt recognition that goes with such achievements.

He is however, one of the most influential, respected and effective health management professionals in Australia.

He is a most worthy recipient of the AHA Sax Medal.

Owen Curteis graduated in Medicine from the University of Sydney in 1960 and received his Graduate Diploma in Health Administration from the University of New South Wales in 1973.

He undertook his residency and registrar training at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in North Sydney and the Repatriation General Hospital at Concord.

In all he spent some 25 years at Concord, 15 of those as Chief Executive Officer.

He was then appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Western Sydney Area Health Service.

In 1996 Owen took the extraordinary step of reentering clinical medicine. The magnitude of this change and challenge can only be fully appreciated by his medical colleagues; suffice to say that few would have entertained the idea, but it is a measure of the intellectual capacity and commitment of this man that he is now the senior medical officer for the Brisbane Waters Private Hospital.

Owen is an active member of both the Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators and the Australian College of Health Service Executives.

He was Chairman of the New South Wales Branch of RACMA in 1982 83 and has been a member of the Federal Council of that College since 1988.

He has been a surveyor for the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards since 1976 and I doubt any surveyor in the Council’s history has surveyed more hospitals. He is also a member of the Board of ACHS, representing the Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators.

Owen has encompassed an enormous range of extracurricular activities including an executive member and Treasurer of the Postgraduate Medical Council, member of the Minister’s Health Advisory Council, member of the Board of the Ambulance Service of NSW and a director of various health credit unions.

He has been a stalwart supporter of the Health Services Association of New South Wales and the AHA, being President of the New South Wales Branch of AHA from 1988 1990 and President of the Health Services Association of New South Wales in 1996 and 1997.

Owen Curteis enjoys enormous respect and regard throughout the entire health system across Australia. Of particular significance is the fact that this regard and respect encompasses virtually every professional discipline within the health system; medical, nursing, administration, allied health and the other professional health disciplines throughout our industry.

He has a recognition amongst all his peers as a very “honest broker”, a person who can be relied upon to comment openly and frankly on issues affecting the health system, without fear or favour.

Apart from his outstanding intellect and understanding of the health system, his unreserved sincerity and integrity encompasses everything he does and everyone with whom he comes into contact. People at all levels relate and respond to him accordingly.

His compassion and understanding of human emotions and frailties make him a close confidante and colleague of an incredibly wide range of his peers, friends and associates in the health system. Despite all this, he is not an individual who seeks out positional status, image of personal or formal recognition; indeed he is a person who works very much behind the scenes to encourage others to assume senior and public roles, advise and influence their thinking and provide them with the confidence and the expertise to undertake these roles.

His expertise, knowledge, understanding and experience has been sought after and used extensively by Health Departments at both State and Commonwealth level, various medical colleges, hospital industry associations, accreditation bodies, academic and postgraduate medical councils and many others.

His commitment to developing continuous improvement and quality throughout the health system and indeed sharing this experience and expertise is reflected in his commitment to the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards accreditation process.

Whenever and wherever health managers and professionals gather throughout Australia, it would be unusual for the name Owen Curteis not to be raised in one form or another.

Dr. John Yu has given a lifetime of commitment to hospitals and health services and the current and future children of Australia owe him a huge debt.

Late 1995 this man realised one of his life’s great passions when the New Children’s Hospital at Westmead in New South Wales officially opened a world’s best practice facility, a facility which marries art, design and the best in medical care for young people.

It is widely acknowledged that the New Children’s Hospital and the high standards of paediatric care and research in Australia would not have been possible without this man’s vision, perseverance and commitment made over almost forty years in medicine.

Dr. John Yu has made an incredibly valuable contribution to Australian medicine, and the quality of life of thousands of Australian children during his journey through life.

He was smuggled out of Nanking in China as a three year old shortly before it fell to the Japanese forces in World War II.

He travelled to Australia with his mother and sister to join relatives who had been living here since the Victorian gold rushes in the 1860’s.

As an Australian born overseas, Dr. Yu is an Australian who has spent almost all of his adult life making a major contribution to his country.

Paediatrics and South East Asian decorative arts have been the key threads which John Yu has woven through the fabric of his life.

He is an acknowledged expert on the decorative arts of South East Asia and has written and lectured extensively on the subject.

With his keen interest in art and in making it more accessible to Australians, he saw the opportunity to use art and the best in medical care at the New Children’s Hospital to create a nurturing and gentle environment for young patients and their families.

This facility, where art, colour and open space are far more common than the traditional white coats, is a culmination of Dr. Yu’s patience, drive and personal effort, which has set new world standards in paediatric care.

As well as his Asian heritage and his interest in Asian art, John Yu also sees a strong future role for Australian medicine in assisting Asian Pacific nations to develop health education programs. He has, and still is very active in the pursuit on such initiatives.

His concern for children also extends beyond medicine. He believes strongly that the needs of Australian children must be considered when Governments develop policy and draft legislation. He says that all too often the impact on children of major decisions which affect their capacity to learn, achieve and experience life, is an afterthought instead of a priority.

John Yu has been the Chief Executive of the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, now the New Children’s Hospital, since 1978 and before that was head of the hospital’s Department of Medicine and he continues to practice paediatrics.

He has served on the Council of the Royal Australian College of Physicians, the Paediatric Research Society and was formerly Treasurer of the Australian College of Paediatrics.

From 1990 1995 he was President of the Australian Association of Paediatric Teaching Centres.

He is the National Patron of the Australian Association for the Welfare of Child Health and is a member of the Board of the Health Services Association of New South Wales and the Starlight Foundation.

John has for many years fulfilled roles of consultant, lecturer and examiner throughout Australia and South east Asia in areas of medical education, research and teaching.

He has held senior positions in a number of professional bodies including the Postgraduate Medical Foundation and the Royal Australian College of Physicians. He is on the Board of Trustees of the Powerhouse Museum, as well as being an honorary associate of the Museum and has published extensively on paediatrics, management issues and the decorative arts.

In recognition of an outstanding life of service and commitment in which he has profoundly enriched
Australia and Australians, he was honoured in 1996 by being named Australian of the Year.

John Yu is quoted as saying “I am proud of my Chinese heritage, but even prouder to be an Australian”.

It is both an honour and a privilege to present the 1996 Sid Sax Medal to Dr. John Yu.

Dr Rex Joyner was born and educated in Queensland where he graduated in medicine from the University of Queensland in 1963. After completing internships and residencies in obstetrics and gynaecology and paediatrics he set up as a general practitioner in suburban Townsville where he gained valuable experience in the practice of medicine at the direct community face, gaining a deep insight into the health problems and expectations of the widest cross section of the Australian community. During this period, from 1966 73, he worked also in the Hospital Child Guidance Clinic, introducing classes and treatment programs for children and parents of the nuclear families affected by Townsville’s isolation and its peculiar population structure. From 1974 76 Dr Joyner assumed the post of Medical Officer in Charge of the Community Health Service, an administrative role which involved the supervision of multidisciplinary teams associated with the health and welfare of the North Queensland community. This was to serve him well in his future career as a medical and health services manager.

His career aspirations brought Dr Joyner to Western Australia in 1976 to the position of Assistant Medical Superintendent at Royal Perth Hospital. In 1978 he was awarded a prestigious National Health & Medical Research Travelling Fellowship which took him to London to St Thomas’ Hospital and to various centres throughout the UK where he studied particularly the application of computer systems in clinical and patient management and general hospital administration.

Dr Joyner returned to Royal Perth Hospital and in 1980 was seconded to the Department of Health & Medical Services to assist in policy and planning. He travelled extensively in Australia and to New Zealand on behalf of the Director and the then Minister of Health, contributing to many projects and initiatives. Late in 1980 he was appointed Medical Superintendent of Royal Perth Hospital, the executive position responsible directly to the Board for the administration and management of all clinical services of the State’s largest teaching hospital. In this capacity he either chaired, or was a member of, all the major committees of the Hospital and served on numerous State committees. He visited organisations overseas to study developments, often at the invitation of major international bodies involved in health care.

In 1987 he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Royal Perth Hospital, following wide advertising of the post, which resulted from the restructuring of the two positions of Hospital Administrator and Medical Superintendent to a single executive position responsible to the Board of Management. Dr Joyner’s new post, with wide responsibilities, provided the opportunity for innovative measures in hospital management and clinical services and in the further development of RPH in teaching and research. Under his direction RPH has extended its outreach services and has enjoyed some success in the AHA’s Outreach Award program.

As CEO of Western Australia’s leading teaching hospital, Dr Joyner has exerted a major influence on the education and training of clinicians and the various health professional groups in the State’s universities. This influence is always positive and has been the major factor in facilitating clinical access for their students at a time of rapid growth and development which has severely strained the ability of the Royal Perth and Royal Perth Rehabilitation hospitals to accommodate these needs.

Curtin University in 1994 awarded Dr Joyner the honorary degree of Doctor of Technology which is conferred for “distinguished performance in the application of knowledge within the chosen profession of the person concerned and contribution to the community and service of support to the community”. Dr Joyner, by this award, joined a very select group which, in the health and medical field, includes the late Sir George Bedbrook who played a key role in the development of rehabilitation education and research at Curtin.

In recognition of Dr Joyner’s management expertise and wide knowledge and experience of health services generally, the Minister of Health in 1988 appointed him as a protemp Commissioner of Health. In this role for a limited time he was involved in considerations of reforms in the State’s health care system. These organisational reforms are now coming to fruition largely due to the personal efforts of Dr Joyner. In July 1992 he was appointed General Manager of the East Metropolitan Health Region to pilot one of three different organisational structures established in the greater Perth metropolitan area. It is a tribute to his management expertise and leadership that the system he established, in a remarkably short time, was selected, well prior to the completion of the comparative evaluation of the three structures, as the future organisation for all regions. The Minister, in reviewing the regional structure, decided not to proceed with the metropolitan area reorganisation but has moved to ensure that achievements in terms of a better articulated system developed by Dr Joyner will be retained. The Minister publicly and formally acknowledged Dr Joyner’s excellent contribution towards the development of costeffective structures and mechanisms for WA’s health system. Dr Joyner’s contribution to the hospital and health services systems in Western Australia on the widest possible front from acute care services to communitybased health care is unmatched.

Examples of Dr Joyner’s influence and achievements affecting the health of all Western Australians are numerous and span many activities. He was a prime mover in developing a unique service encompassing all metropolitan hospitals in a uniform computer system. He has been a strong proponent of relevant university studies in management for clinicians moving into administration positions. He has encouraged research and has played a major role in establishing the Royal Perth Hospital Medical Research Foundation which includes WA’s first purpose built medical and health research facility. The first stage of what is developing into an excellent research facility was built without government funding and stands as a tribute to Dr Joyner’s dedication to research.

His contribution to health sciences is also acknowledged by his appointment in 1993 to the Health Advisory Committee and also as Chairman of the Health and Medical Services Standing Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council.

It is testimony to his management and leadership that Royal Perth Hospital in the national accreditation system has been widely acclaimed by external reviewers as one of, if not the, best managed hospitals in Australia and an exemplar of the highest quality in the provision of patient services.

Dr Joyner is one of the best known and highly respected medical and health administrators in Australia and his endeavours and achievements provide an excellent example of application of knowledge to professional practice and community service. He has served his professional associations in the highest executive positions as national councillor and senior vicepresident of the Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators and is a Fellow of a number of the medical colleges. Dr Joyner is a Surveyor for the hospital accreditation program of the Australian Council in Health Care Standards.

His foresight in hospital management led to Royal Perth Hospital’s involvement in the National Program of Management Development for Clinicians being conducted by the Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators and the King’s Fund College of London. The funding for this project is provided by the Commonwealth Department of Health. Royal Perth Hospital is one of two trial sites selected in Australia.

This project, which has been undertaken over the past eighteen months, has resulted in a complete restructuring of the Hospital’s clinical service delivery from a departmental basis to a divisional structure based on disease categories.

The new structure is intended to ensure swift response to rapid changes occurring in the health system while maintaining high quality services, research and teaching. Importantly, this has enabled management responsibility to be devolved to clinicians so that they are better equipped to make management decisions affecting patient care.

Although only in its formative period, there has been considerable interest from within Australia and from overseas. Of particular interest is the involvement of the Hospital’s most senior and respected clinicians and many of whom have accepted positions as Divisional Directors.

Dr Joyner’s management skills are also well recognised outside of the health field. Since 1988 Dr Joyner has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Australian Institute of Management. In 1994 he was appointed State President after a serving a year as Vice President. The Institute is recognised as one of the Western Australia’s leading management institutions.

In the international sphere he has consulted in China under the auspices of the Australia – China Council to develop programs in hospital management and medical technology. He has consulted in Indonesia on behalf of the health sector and a delegate of the Australian Institute of Management of which he is State President. His knowledge and experience has, led to an invitation to join the previous Minister for Health, Mr Peter Foss, and to explore cooperative opportunities in medical and health services. It is significant that in such projects, as well as on local issues, Dr Joyner is invariably the first person consulted by the Minister and the Commissioner.

In recognition of his capabilities, Dr Joyner was recently appointed to the parttime (3 sessions) position of Director of the WA Health Export Unit. This unit has been established by the Government to promote the State’s health industry resources in South East Asia.

In this role he will accompany the present Minister, the Hon Graham Kierath MLA to Jakarta in October to attend a major exhibition of Australian health products and medical setvices for Indonesia.

Independent of this responsibility, RPH has also established formal links with three major hospitals in Indonesia through the signing of Memoranda of Understanding. Under these agreements the hospitals have agreed to work towards the “promotion of better relationships and quality of care to mutual benefit” through the transfer of knowledge, technology and technical assistance and the training of staff.

Dr Joyner’s broad understanding of health and community issues was also recently acknowledged by his appointment in January 1995 to the Board of the WA Drug and Alcohol Authority.

John Deeble seems a native of Canberra because he has lived and worked here in senior policy positions for over twenty years. But he is in fact a Victorian, having been born in the Wimmera wheatfield town of Donald, not far from the South Australian border.

John left school at the age of fifteen and went to work in junior clerical positions at the Peter McCallum Institute – Melbourne’s specialist cancer treatment facility.

Through part time study he completed first a Commerce Degree at Melbourne University and then a Diploma of Hospital Administration from the University of New South Wales. His public policy career really began in 1965 when he obtained a fulltime research position at the Institute of Applied Economic Research at the University of Melbourne, headed by Professor Ronald Henderson.

Another of the Institute’s researchers was Dick Scotton and John and Dick were to form a close professional partnership that has greatly shaped Australian health policy.

Much of this early history about John comes from Dick Scotton’s recently published history of “The Making of Medibank.” It records that:
” The complementary nature of their backgrounds, research interest and temperaments led Deeble and Scotton to a close and mutually supportive partnership, fortified over the next decade by shared experience. They worked jointly on all aspects of their research, to the point that it became impossible, at times, to say who had originated what. While they shared a general small-l liberal philosophy, neither was politically active or personally acquainted with politicians of either party. Their research and career objectives were basically academic.”

Much of John’s early work in health economics was the dusty pursuit of assembling the first set of Australian health expenditure statistics.

So John’s progress from academic researcher to social reformer and Medibank architect was not planned or foreseen, but a case of analysis and personal experience shaping his world view.

For those who do not recollect the social problems prior to Medibank that motivated John’s reforming ardour, it is useful to remember this anecdote from Scotton’s book:
“The statistical analysis which prompted scepticism about the social outcomes of the voluntary system was fortified by a personal experience. A staff member of the faculty underwent an acute psychiatric collapse which resulted in her admission to a private hospital for several weeks, after which she received accounts from many doctors, most of whom she had no recollection of seeing. When she submitted her accounts to the health insurance fund of which she was a member, she found that her costs exceeded the benefits payable to an extent the financially embarrassed her. The medical fees were far in excess of the combined fund and Commonwealth benefits and her hospital benefits had been reduced to half the insured rate because she had been transferred to the special account on the grounds of a “chronic condition” – as psychiatric illness were customarily classified.

The staff member was too distressed to take any action on her own behalf. Scotton drafted a letter for her to send to the health insurance fund, which relented and paid here benefits at the full rate. Henderson rang the psychiatrist to ask him to consider the financial and emotional circumstances of his patient and reduce his fees. He was told in no certain terms that he had no status in the doctorpatient relationship, and that if the patient wanted any consideration she should confront him in person. Still affected by her breakdown, she never did. This experience highlighted the arbitrariness of a system in which the administration of informal means tests was in the hands of individual doctors whose financial interests were opposed to fee concessions based on their patients’ capacity to pay.”

All these events resulted in a fateful meeting in Melbourne in June 1967 of Scotton and Deeble with Labor party leader and future Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam. Others at the meeting also played an important role in future national health policy – Dr Moss Cass was to become a Whitlam government minister; Professor Rod Andrew, the Dean of Medicine at Monash University; and Jim Lawson, then Medical Director at Footscray Hospital was to become Professor of Health Care Management at the University of New South Wales and the very first winner of the Sax Medal in 1986.

At the conclusion of a long discussion about the inadequacies of voluntary private insurance, Whitlam turned to Deeble and Scotton and said: “Well you’re described the problem. Have you any solutions?”

It would take eight difficult years of political debate and planning before universal health insurance was delivered. But from that meeting onward John was committed to achieving that goal. Firstly through submissions to the 1968 Nimmo Inquiry into health insurance, and then in shaping the Labor Party’s health policy for the successful 1972 election campaign.

Then came the difficult task in government as Special Adviser to then Social Security Minister (and now Governor-General) Bill Hayden of designing the administrative and legislative detail of Medibank. John chaired the Health Insurance Planning Committee in 1973, and became Deputy Chairman of the fledgling Health Insurance Commission in 1974. It is worth recalling that Sid Sax was a member of that planning committee, in his then role as Chairman of the Hospital and Health Services Commission.

Two and a half years of planning and political battles (including a double dissolution election fought largely on health issues) eventually resulted in the delivery of Australia’s first universal health insurance scheme, Medibank, in July 1975. For the first time everyone could have free access to a public hospital as a public patient.

But all good prophets and biblical sagas must experience “the fall” before the ultimate redemption and the change of government in December 1975 meant that the original Medibank could not survive under a conservative government. John was forced to resign as Deputy Chairman of the Health Insurance Commission, and became an Economic Adviser in the Federal Health Department.

Eager to preserve as much of the Medibank program as possible, John worked with the Fraser Government’s Medibank Review Committee and was the architect of the first 1976 amendments that allowed opting out of the levy into private health insurance for the higher earning half of the population. In designing a private insurance alternative to Medibank, John and Dick Scotton convinced the Fraser Government of the need for a government owned insurer, Medibank Private, which has now grown to be the largest private health insurer in the country.

Unfortunately the Fraser government could not resist constant tinkering and the eventual dismantling of Medibank. Disillusioned by this process John left the Federal Department and became the Inaugural Director of the NH and MRC’s Health Economics Research Unit at the Australian National University. Between 1977 and 1983 John dedicated himself to the growth of health economics as a discipline, and re-established the health expenditure series he had first founded in the mid 1960s. He also became the founding president of the Health Economist’s Group of the Economic Society of Australia and New Zealand from 1979 to 1985.

While pursuing these worthy objectives, John still keenly felt the political injustice of Medibank’s demise and the social and economic waste that this created. From 1980 he aligned himself closely with the Labor Shadow Minister, Neal Blewett, and they jointly planned Medibank’s resurrection under the name of Medicare.

For three years John supplied the Caucus Committee revised costing and administrative options, so that the Hayden Health Plan (hastily renamed the Labor Health Plan six weeks prior to the election due to a sudden leadership change) was resoundingly endorsed by the voters in the Hawke Government’s election victory of March 1983. Medicare was much like the original Medibank, except that compensation grants to States replaced the Cost Sharing Agreements of the 1970s.

It’s implementation was far smoother than the politically troubled Medibank and in February 1984 Australia had its second universal public health insurance program. John was again intimately involved in its planning, and has been a member of the Health Insurance Commission from 1983 to the present.

With the relative security of a decade of Labor government to embed Medicare into the social structure, John has increasingly turned his interest to issues beyond health insurance. He was the chief advocate for an Australian Institute of Health to become a central collector of statistics on the health status and utilisation patterns of Australians. John served as its inaugural Director in 1985 and 1986.

He has also been a member of the Health Care Committee of the National Health Medical Research Council. He was chair of the National Health Technology Advisory Panel concerned with managing the proliferation of expensive new technology in the health industry.

John was a major contributor to the National Health Strategy, and the author of its reviews of medical service use and the pathology industry. He has promoted international cooperation and the image of Australian health care abroad, through his writings on “Financing Health Care in South Pacific Countries” and his recent visits to South Africa to advise on universal health insurance for the newly united country.

John’s social attitude and work ethic is exemplified by his studies over recent years of the deteriorating building and equipment capital stock of the public hospitals. Having perceived that this was becoming a major problem, he developed a methodology for valuing and ageing the useable life of hospital buildings and equipment.

There is a familiar pattern in all his work of identifying emerging problems; followed by extensive data collection and analysis; them formulating policy responses that fit the facts rather than the prejudices; and finally energetic, personal advocacy about these issues and policies to government, politicians and interest groups. His current position as a Senior Health Service Fellow at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University allows him to engage these diverse interests in public health issues.

In concluding, it is John’s personal qualities that make him a worthy recipient of this Award. There are four that come most to mind.

• Generosity
• Integrity
• Ingenuity
• Persistence

Firstly, generosity – John will lend his time and insights to anyone with a serious interest in the public health sector. Whether you are a supporter or detractor he will lend his time to educate and persuade.

Secondly, integrity – There are many who disagree with John but very few who dislike him. Those that do dislike him unknowingly reveal their own character flaws. John has sustained a consistent belief in universal public health insurance since the 1960s as the most feasible, efficient method of achievable an important social objective of access to health care. While generally a strong supporter of Labor governments, he is no unquestioning political stooge. His principled stands against Ministers on issues like medical co-payments and gap insurance have caused him considerable personal distress. John believes in the power of ideas and that long term principles should not be compromised for short term expediency.

Thirdly, ingenuity – many of us have seen John deal with an issue that has confounded health departments service and managers. His broad command of the issues, interests and dollars involved, allows him to see the options and connections that have escaped others.

Lastly, persistence – his career record really says it all. Once convinced of an idea’s worth John will continue to research, argue and cajole until others take note. He is a persuasive advocate who can get the ear of the media and politicians for a good idea.

John doesn’t believe in fads or fashions. He is an initial sceptic until he has researched an issue, but once convinced of its worth he is a persistent, persuasive advocate.

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.

Diana’s achievements and extraordinary commitment to improving health care in Australia are so well known, that I am sure her award will come as no surprise to anyone in this audience.

You may not be sure of her extensive qualifications and work history. Diana graduated in Medicine from Sydney University in 1968, and has also completed a Masters in Health Planning from the University of New South Wales.

Her service commitment is exemplified by her continuing involvement as a member of the medical faculties of both universities. She is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Medical Administrators; the Australian College of Health Services Executives; and the Faculty of Public Health Medicine of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

After undertaking her internship at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney much of her early career was involved with the development of community health services in New South Wales. In 1974 she became the first community physician at Mount Druitt Centre in the early days of the Western Metropolitan Health Region.

Diana established community nurses at all schools and a back-up service at the Mount Druitt shopping centre which became the pattern for community health services delivery in Western Sydney.

This experience led to her becoming Principal Adviser in Community Services in the Health Commission of New South Wales. These were the important years for the establishment of the National Community Health Program under the Whitlam Government. Diana was responsible for the direction of the program in New South Wales, and for negotiating with the Federal Health Department and the Hospitals and Health Services Commission. As many of you know, the Hospitals and Health Services Commission was chaired by Dr Sid Sax, the person whose contribution to Australian health services is honoured by this medal. Dr Sax tells me that he first met Diana at this time and commented that one of her great qualities was that “she knew to get things done.”

Many of us have great aspirations and good ideas, but find it hard to translate them into reality. Diana has always had the strategic sense to involve other people in her vision, and the persistence to ensure that things happen. In 1977 Diana returned to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, where she had undertaken her internship. Initially she worked within the Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology; then Deputy Director of Medical Services; and in 1982 the Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive for the Hospital.

It was in 1980 that she first became a council member of the New South Wales branch of AHA, which subsequently became part of the Health Services Association of New South Wales. While the Sax Medal is for contribution to the health sector rather than just to the Australian Hospital Association, it is worth noting that she has been a National Councillor of AHA since 1981. She was also heavily involved in the organisation of the International Hospital Federation Congress in Sydney in 1981.

Her work at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital culminated with becoming General Superintendent in 1987, which made her responsible for the management of the total hospital complex. Her career at Royal Prince Alfred makes it apparent that personal and institutional loyalty is also a hallmark of Diana’s character.

Since 1989 she has been the Area Director of Health Services for the Eastern Sydney Area Health Service. That position requires an intimate knowledge of the workings of the public health sector, so that planning for future health services and the needs of the community can be effectively put into place. Eastern Sydney Area Health Service faces the challenge of many inner city areas in having several teaching hospitals with long established centres of clinical excellence, but a declining population as our cities continue their suburban speed. The Area is fortunate to have a person of the calibre of Diana Horvath to assist them in achieving this difficult balance of services, resources and population needs.

It is apparent that the guiding value in Diana’s career has been improving the health status of the community. There are many hospital managers who are highly skilled and dedicated to the organisational success of their institutions. Others have a commitment to promoting clinical excellence in their hospital. Few are able to marry those skins in a way that shapes health service provision for the benefit of the community.

This overall health care perspective was recognised in Diana’s appointment as the Chairman of the National Health and Medical Research Council in 1991. She had previously been a member of the NH&MRC’s Medical Research Committee, and chair of the Health Care Committee from 1988-1990. The NH&MRC is the peak body for shaping health care priorities and standards in this country, so in many senses it can be said that Diana Horvath has achieved the pinnacle of her profession.

She has also served since 1988 as a member of the board of the Health Insurance Commission, which is responsible for administration of the Medicare benefits program and the Medibank Private Health insurance fund.

How any individual can meet all these commitments, let alone excel in them, is difficult to answer. I am told that mainly it is a work ethic that maintains regular 12 hour work days including many weekends. Of course modem technology helps, but Diana is the only person I know who can keep an office phone, a mobile phone and two fax machines, all simultaneously engaged. She is Australian Airlines favourite corporate customer, and drives in a manner that suggests the next meeting she attends will be her last.

It is a mystery to many that she always arrives in the right place at the right time, but this reflects her extraordinary personal organisation and dedication. Many people with those qualities become rather single-minded and insular, but Diana always manages to do it with style and humility.

These must be the qualities that have enabled her to combine work career, public service and being an exemplary wife and mother. One daughter, Lisa, is just finishing Medicine at Sydney University, and is getting married in November. The other daughter, Penny, is doing an Arts/Law Degree at the ANU here in Canberra.

Diana’s family and career success reflects her partnership with John, who has his own successful career in medicine and public service. I suspect that marriage to Diana has seen John cast in the role of house-husband more often than would be customary for an eminent physician.

Diana Horvath has lived a life of commitment and achievement that daunts us mere mortals. She has achieved so much, but is still only in mid-career.

The Australian Hospital Association hopes that recognition through the award of the Sax Medal, will further encourage Diana in her career. Her example should be inspiring to all of us.

John Blandford, who was brought up in Yorkshire, England, completed his National Service in the Royal Navy, before reading Law at Oxford University. He trained in hospital administration at King’s College Hospital, London, then worked at St Georges’ Hospital, London and the Cardiff Royal Infirmary in Wales, before coming to Australia in 1970 as the Project Director for the Flinders Medical Centre.

From 1973 to 1980, John worked in policy planning and administration, first as Deputy Chairman, Hospitals and Health Services Commission; Chairman of the ACT Health Commission and Commissioner, SA Health Commission.

Since 1980, he has been Administrator of the Flinders Medical Centre, a major Adelaide teaching hospital.

In recent years, John has been actively involved in the work of the National Health and Medical Research Council as a member of the Health Care Committee, and in Working Parties on C.A.T. Scanning and the Ethics of Resource Allocation.

As proof of his continuing commitment to the provision of a quality health service for all Australians, John continues to teach in various undergraduate courses at Flinders University and in the joint Flinders University and University of South Australia Masters Degree in Health Management.

He was elected President of the Australian Hospital Association for a two year term in 1989 and is currently Immediate Past President.

His main research interests are bio-ethics, public health policy and the financing of the health system.

Dr Amos has had a distinguished career in health care delivery since graduating in medicine from the University of Sydney, taking up his current position in 1989, shortly after being appointed a Member of the Order of Australia.

His professional career includes positions with the Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney; membership of the Project Planning Team of Westmead Hospital; General Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer of the Parramatta Hospitals and Chief Executive Officer of the Western Sydney Area Health Service.

His curriculum vitae witnesses membership of a wide range of professional and other associations, including President of the Medical Board of NSW; member of the Australian Medical Association and a member of the Council of the Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore).

Following his graduation in Medicine at the University of Adelaide, Dr. Brand took up medical appointments in Papua/New Guinea, and was Medical Superintendent of the Port Moresby General Hospital from 1961 until 1963, when he was appointed Medical Superintendent of The Geelong Hospital. In May 1970, he became Executive Director of the Preston and Northcote Community Hospital (PANCH). He was a member of the Board of Management of PANCH from 1980-95. In 1978 he was seconded to restructure the Queen Victoria Medical Centre, and in 1980-81 spent 12 months on secondment to the Health Commission of Victoria. In 1995 he was appointed Group Director of Clinical Services and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the North Eastern Health Care Network, which position he held until he retired in 1998. Since then he has been Medical Adviser at The Northern Hospital at Epping, Victoria.

He became a Fellow of the Australian College of Health Service Executives in 1966, and was a member of the Victorian State Council of that College for 17 years, being President in 1971 and 1988. He was a member of the Federal Council of the College for 15 years, (President in 1991/2) and Chairman of the Education and Examination Committee from 1973-79 and 1987-91. He was awarded the Gold Medal of the College in 1993, and was made a Life Member in 1998.

Dr Brand was a Foundation Fellow and Signatory of the Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators, and was a member of the Board of Censors and a tutor and examiner for the College from 1968 to 1973. He has also been a member and Chairman of the Victorian State Committee of the College.

In recognition of his work as a tutor and examiner, Dr. Brand was made an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia in 1966. He was a member of the Board of Censors of the Society from 1965 to 1998 (Chairman from 1983). In 1987 Dr. Brand was elected to Honorary Membership in recognition of his work in education for the Society, and in 1999 was the first non-pharmacist to receive the Society’s highest honour, the Fred J Boyd Award. Dr Brand is a Fellow of the Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants, and has published some 50 papers on various administrative topics, as well as being very involved in teaching in the health field.

Dr. Brand was Chairman of the Victorian Hospitals Association from 1987-91, and a member of the Board of Directors and the Division 1 Council from 1974 to 1995. He was Chairman of the Victorian Hospitals’ Industrial Council for eight years, and of V.H.A.’s Nursing Advisory Committee. In addition, he was Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Cairnmillar Institute in Melbourne (from 1972-85).

Dr. Brand was Chairman of the Committee of Management of the Bundoora Extended Care Centre from 1987-90 (Treasurer from 1971 to 1995), and in 1992 the Ian Brand Nursing Home was opened, named in recognition of his work for the Centre. In 1981 he was appointed Administrator of the Fairfield Hospital in Melbourne, and for 14 months following his restructuring of this hospital he was, in effect, the Board of Management of the hospital. Following this he was elected Chairman of the Board of Management of the hospital from 1982 to 1984, and was Chairman of the Finance Committee until the closure of the Hospital in 1995.

In September 1981, he was invited to report to the Tasmanian Government on the Mersey General Hospital, and his report was tabled in the Tasmanian Parliament in November 1981. He has carried out numerous hospital investigations in Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia, and was a surveyor for the Australian Council on Hospital Standards from the inception of the program in 1975 until 1982.

He was Chairman of the Working Party responsible for drawing up the program for delineation of clinical privileges in Victorian hospitals, and has served on many Committees in Victoria, including Health Commission Committees on paediatric services and nursing manpower needs. He was Chairman of the Working Party which reviewed the Victorian School Medical Service in 1983.

In 1983, he was a member of the Sax Committee which enquired into hospital services in South Australia, and was Project Director for the Economic & Budget Review Committee of the Victorian Parliament in that Committee’s hospital and health enquiries.

In 1984/85 he was appointed Chairman of the Review Committee of the Repatriation Hospital System in Australia for the Australian Government.

In 1985 he was appointed Chairman of the Course Development Committee, Graduate Diploma and Masters Degree in Health Services Administration of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and has been a member of course development and advisory committees of tertiary institutions in the health field.

In 1986 he was appointed a member of the Victorian Advisory Committee, School of Health Administration, University of New South Wales.

In February 1986, he was appointed as a member of the Review of the Teaching Hospitals Financial Performance for New South Wales major teaching hospitals, and in 1991 he was Chairman of the Review of the Victorian Health Care System.
In 1986 he became a member of the Victorian Drug Usage Advisory Committee, reporting directly to the Minister of Health.

In 1987 he was a member of the Day Procedure Centre Task Force, a Committee set up to assess the current demand and future need for day procedure facilities in Victoria. From 1990-98 he was Chairman of the Ministerial Consultative Council on Emergency and Critical Care Services in Victoria.

In 1991 at the request of the Chinese Minister of Health he advised on the setting up of a post-graduate health management training program in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province in China, which by 2002 had over 1,000 graduates, and in 1994 was made Australia’s first honorary citizen of that Province. He is an honorary fellow of the Beijing Society of Hospital Management, and was the first foreigner to present a paper at the quadrennial meeting of the Chinese Society of Hospital Management in 1994.

In 1983 he was honoured by the award of Membership of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours for services to medical administration, and in 2002 he received the Centennial Medal. In 1998 he was made an Adjunct Professor at LaTrobe University, and in 1999 Adjunct Professor at the Jiangsu Medical Staff University in Nanjing, China.

By way of recreation, he is interested in philately, painting, music criticism and musicology, and the collection and propagation of plants, particularly roses, grevilleas, and cymbidium orchids.

Dr Don Child has provided leadership in the field of Australian Health Services over many years. It is believed that this contribution should be recognised.

Dr Child has held most of the executive positions in the Australian Hospital Association. Until September 1984 he has been the Association’s immediate past President, having served as President for two years during 1981 and 1982. The Presidency of the Australian Hospital Association requires of the incumbent a considerable amount of work outside the individual’s own professional responsibilities. The Association itself represents most of Australia’s public hospitals. The President has a major role in advising Governments on health matters. During the period of Dr Child’s Presidency, the Association launched its Community Outreach Programme for Australian hospitals. This is an educational and motivational programme designed to encourage hospitals to work outside their walls in the community. It is a programme which, it is hoped, will bring about a permanent change in the way hospitals perceive their role in the community. Dr Child nurtured this programme to fruition such that it is now a permanent Association programme.

Dr Child has been at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital since 1956 where, until 1961, he was Resident Medical Staff. From 1961 to 1967 he was Assistant General Superintendent, and from 1967 to the present time, General Superintendent. During his time as Chief Executive of the hospital it has been recognised as one of Australia’s great hospitals. In the years of Dr Child’s administration the hospital has developed many new services and facilities including a number of Community Outreach Clinics which take the role of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital into the community.

Dr Child is presently the President of the University Teaching Hospitals’ Association of New South Wales. This organisation represents teaching hospitals and has a particular interest in the educational and research functions of the teaching hospital system.

From 1967 until recently Dr Child served in the Royal Army Medical Corp. In his capacity with the Army he was required to assist with the planning of medical services for armed forces personnel. At the time of resignation from the reserve forces Dr Child held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

During 1979 and 1980 Dr Child also served as Chairman of the NSW Branch of the Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators. This College is the educational and professional body for medical administrators in Australia.

Another of Dr Child’s roles is with the University of Sydney where he is on the Medical Faculty, but in particular, is involved with the development of a Cancer Research Institute. It is expected that this Institute will be the leading research facility in this field when underway.

The development of Australia’s Hospital Accreditation Programme has been assisted by Dr Child’s involvement with the initial planning. From 1971 during its formative years, and in 1974 to 1978 he served on the Australian Council on Hospital Standards and eventually became its VicePresident in 1979 to 1980.

Dr Child is also a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians.

In summary, Dr Don Child has been a major contributor to the development of Australian Health Services through his involvement with many health care organisations.

Dr. Lawson has made a major contribution to hospital and health services in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales. He has published widely on a variety of topics and has helped contribute academic credibility to many health administrative issues.

His work as one of the original Regional Directors in New South Wales and for that matter Australia, is outstanding. The Northern Metropolitan Region of Sydney under his leadership has been widely accepted as an outstanding model. He achieved an integration and rationalisation of Health Services as well as stimulating considerable interest in newer areas of health care, such as health promotion and health education. It should be noted that three hospitals in the Northern Metropolitan Region have won A.H.A. coveted “Outreach Award”, Hornsby, Chatswood and Gosford. He has successfully managed to change roles of hospitals which under different leadership, would have either closed or fought bitterly to retain their traditional roles. His works on drugs and alcohol and related health promotion services, which commenced in the Northern Metropolitan Region of New South Wales, have become statewide services and developed national reputations.

In his period with the Hospital and Health Services Commission and with the Central Administration of the New South Wales Health Department since 1980, he has played a key role in the development of health policy, which will have lasting benefits to the hospital and health industry.

He is held in the highest regard by his colleagues. Not only has Dr. Lawson made an outstanding contribution in demonstrating that regionalisation can be a beneficial model for health administration but, he will undoubtedly continue to make a significant contribution for many years to come.

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