iyarn Yarn #5 X Dr Neale Fong – Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director of Bethesda Health Care

iyarn Yarn #5 X Dr Neale Fong – Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director of Bethesda Health Care

Dr Neale Fong

Dr Fong is a registered medical practitioner with over 35 years’ experience in a wide range of leadership roles in the private and public hospital systems. He holds senior positions in all health care sectors covering government services, private hospitals, academia, health research, public health, aged care and not for profit organisations.

Dr Fong shares with Lockie what it’s like to be in leadership and the public eye, his strategies for dealing with public pressure, and his ideals as a father.

Dr Fong says his strengths lay in governance, leading large executive teams, implementation of reform and change management, developing strategic directions and leading turnarounds.

He is currently Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of Bethesda Health Care, Chair of the Western Australian Country Health Service Board, Professor of Healthcare Leadership at Curtin University, and a director of a number of health companies. He is the managing director of his own consulting company, Australis Health Advisory with a strong track record of engagements with state and commonwealth governments, and private and not for profit health companies. He is also involved in a number of digital health start-ups based in WA, Singapore and China.

He is national President of the Australasian College of Health Service Management, the peak professional body for health executives and Chair of the International Hospital Federation Global Healthcare Management special interest group. He was Project Lead to the Australian Health Ministers Council in developing Australia’s first Health Leadership Development Capability Framework.

Dr Fong has recently held positions as interim Chief Executive Officer of Peel Health Campus and as Director of the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute at Curtin University.

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 capital works programme of $5 Billion. In 2005 he was appointed Director General of the WA Department of Health, responsible for an annual budget at the time of $4.5 Billion and 37,000 staff.  He was a member of the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council and Chairman of the Health Workforce Principal Committee from 2005-2008.

Prior to joining the Department of Health, Dr Fong was the Chief Executive Officer of St John of God Hospital Subiaco, Australia’s largest private hospital at the time, with over 500 beds and 27 operating theatres.  He has served on numerous health and aged care boards over the past years in the private and not-for-profit sectors. 

Dr Fong has a very strong leadership background in sport and was the Chairman and Commissioner for 12 years of the WA Football Commission, responsible for governing Australian Rules Football in WA. He was Chaplain to the West Coast Eagles Football Club for 22 years.

He has unique academic qualifications as he holds Bachelor Degrees in Medicine and Surgery (Uni of Western Australia), a Masters in Theological Studies (Regent College, University of British Columbia) and a Masters of Business Administration (UWA). He remains a registered minister of religion and has 40-year record of youth and community service leadership roles, co-developing a national youth work organisation for Churches of Christ in Australia.

The Australasian College of Health Service Management awarded him Honorary Fellow in 2011 in recognition of his outstanding leadership in health. Dr Fong was a founding Partner and Chief Medical Director of Bali International Medical Centre, the only Western Standard tourist and expatriate medical service in Bali, recently sold to Siloam Hospitals.

Dr Fong was named a finalist in the 2010 WA Citizen of the Year Awards in the category of Community Service and awarded a Centenary Medal in 2011 for services to healthcare by the Australian Government.

Check out our yarn with Dr Fong on the podcast: