Dr Neale Fong has been awarded the prestigious ACHS Medal at the 2023 Annual Awards Ceremony in Sydney.
Nominated for his outstanding achievements in the promotion of quality in health care, Dr Fong has an extensive history of accomplishments, and his contributions cover many areas of the healthcare system.
As a registered medical practitioner with over 35 years’ experience in a wide range of leadership roles in the private and public health systems, Dr Fong has held and continues to hold senior positions in all health care sectors covering government services, private hospitals, academia, health research, public health, aged care and not for profit organisations.
During his early career as a doctor, he was asked to establish and manage the first HIV/AIDS Assessment in Perth WA. This was a new disease at the time and attracted a lot of public angst and attention. He was involved in establishing new policies, standards, and protocols for assessing, diagnosing, and referring patients with a positive HIV diagnosis.
This was not his only “first” during his career as he was the Founding Partner and Chief Medical Director of Bali International Medical Centre, the first Western Standard tourist and expatriate medical service in Bali, Indonesia. This clinic cared for the first 70 casualties of the Bali Bombing in 2002.
It was from this basis of providing safe and quality medical services to less well supported communities that Neale felt he could make a bigger, more systemic impact in leadership roles.
In 1998 he was appointed CEO of Australia’s largest private hospital at the time, St John of God Hospital Subiaco, where he was appointed the first consumer advocate to the Hospital Management Committee.
In 2004 Dr Fong was appointed the full-time Executive Chairman of the Health Reform Implementation Taskforce to implement the Western Australian Government’s Health Reform program including a major capital works program before being appointed Director General of the WA Department of Health in 2005. During this time as Director General of WA Health Neale was responsible for developing and launching WA Health’s inaugural safety and quality framework.
He was heavily involved through the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council and Council of Australian Governments in the establishment of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care in 2006.
Following his time as WA Director General, Dr Fong led the project to establish Australia’s newest medical school through Curtin University. The medical school enrolled its first students in 2017 and focused on training doctors for rural and remote areas focusing on high quality education.
In his role as President of the ACHSM, he has championed the importance of quality and safety in all aspects of health care management including through educational webinars and conferences.
Congratulations Dr Neale Fong on being the deserving winner of this prestigious ACHS Medal 2023, your experiences and achievements continue to inspire us all.