The Bruce Shepherd Medal Previous Awardees

List of the distinguished professionals that were awarded the Bruce Shepherd Medal

Dr Stuart Boland AM

When A/Prof Stuart Boland graduated in medicine from Sydney University in 1967, he could not have foreseen the events that would propel his medical career from highly regarded Honorary General Surgeon at Sydney and Mona Vale hospitals, to President of the NSW AMA and, for the last ten years of his 50 year career, as Chairman of Australia’s largest medical indemnity insurer, Avant Mutual.

Stuart’s experience in the 1984 Doctors’ Dispute drew him to a closer association with his Sydney University colleague, Dr Bruce Shepherd. Dr Boland was one of a group of doctors who decided to reform the AMA by active participation in its leadership, and although not seeking conflict, he was not backward in standing against unreasonable demands of government and fighting for better conditions for VMOs in the NSW Public Hospital system.

When the medical indemnity crisis hit the NSW Medical Defence Union in 2000, it was Stuart Boland who stepped in to negotiate the minefield of new legislation and regulation needed to restore stability to the medical indemnity insurance market. Without this leadership, Australia’s doctors would have come under greater government control. Few could have achieved the results that Dr Boland was able to deliver. His strong leadership makes him a worthy recipient of the Bruce Shepherd Medal for distinguished service to independent medicine.

Dr Chris Davis

Former Queensland Assistant Health Minister Dr Chris Davis was awarded the Bruce Shepherd Medal at a gala dinner in Sydney on 13 June 2014, to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Doctors’ Dispute. Dr Chris Davis is a Rehabilitation Physician from Cape Town, South Africa. He migrated to New Zealand and later to Queensland, where he served with distinction as a Director of Geriatrics and Rehabilitation at Prince Charles Hospital.

In the recent QLD hospital contracts dispute Dr Davis was fearless in his determination to ensure that contracts being offered to doctors were fair and reasonable. He withstood enormous pressure and personal tragedy, remaining steadfast for the principles and ethics of the profession he so loves and has so nobly served.

Dr Chris Davis is a man of significant courage and conviction, an outstanding doctor, a fearless and inspiring leader of his profession and a worthy recipient of the Bruce Shepherd Medal for Distinguished Service to Independent Medicine.

Dr Stan Doumani

As the 1984 Doctors’ Dispute unfolded, Dr Bruce Shepherd was introduced to a young General Practitioner in Canberra, recently appointed as President of the ACT Branch of the AMA – Dr Stan Doumani. Dr Shepherd stated, ‘One could not help but be enormously impressed by the grasp of this man on the issues, the embedded concept of quality independent medical practice, and the doctor/patient relationship. Not only did he have those concepts thoroughly and clearly in his mind, he expressed them clearly and confidently to all who would listen, and he handled the media superbly. It was Stan Doumani who made the profession aware of the threat of nationalisation and fought it so handsomely. I still cannot but marvel at the way Stan conducted himself during those difficult days. In the ensuing years he has continued to use these great talents for the good of the medical profession and his patients. He has held many positions in professional organisations, all onerous and anything but glamorous.’

What is not well known or appreciated is his role as a counsellor to distressed doctors, who he has cared for with remarkable confidentiality and kindness.

Dr Doumani served on the Management Committee of the Australian Doctors’ Fund (now Australian Doctors’ Federation) for almost 30 years, and continues to be a Director of the ADF. His devotion to patients set a gold standard for medical practice in the ACT. It is only fitting that his contribution be acknowledged through the presentation of the Bruce Shepherd Medal for outstanding service to independent medicine.

Dr Ian Farey

There is no more respected name in the challenging field of Spinal Surgery than Sydney Spinal Surgeon Dr Ian Farey. Ian was educated at Blacktown Boys High School in Western Sydney, before graduating with honours from Sydney University in 1978. Dr Farey obtained his fellowship in Orthopaedic Surgery in 1986 and became the Senior Clinical Fellow in Spinal Reconstructive Surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, USA. In Australia, Ian has developed an enviable reputation by obtaining outstanding results in Spinal Surgery, both in the public hospital system at Royal North Shore Hospital, and in private practice.

Dr Shepherd recalls that in the 1984 Doctors’ Dispute, Ian was the only junior Orthopaedic Registrar at Hornsby Public Hospital. There was substantial pressure on him to undertake the role of Senior Orthopaedic Surgeons who were involved in the dispute, even though he had not been at that stage trained for this. Ian fought back against this pressure. It was an early indication of his commitment to high standards of surgical practice.

In addition to his reputation in all aspects of Spinal Surgery, Dr Farey became a prolific scientific researcher, presenter and publisher in international journals and clinical textbooks. His leadership was acknowledged in 2004 when he became President of the Spine Society of Australia.

Throughout his clinical career, Dr Farey has insisted on the maintenance of high standards of clinical care and support for spinal patients in the overcrowded and often chaotic public hospital system where he worked for many years as a VMO, despite the high demand for his services in the private sector.

A doctor’s doctor, a surgeon’s surgeon, Ian has enhanced the reputation of Spinal Surgery in Australia. According to one of his patients (Dr Bruce Shepherd) “Ian saved me from being a paraplegic”. Dr Ian Farey is a worthy recipient of the Bruce Shepherd Medal for Distinguished Service to Independent Medicine.

Dr Martin Flood*

In the early days of Medicare, Dr Martin Flood became a Branch Councillor of the New South Wales AMA. Like many before him, he found the culture of the organisation difficult. The Branch Council had a reputation for lengthy deliberation and lack of action. Despite years of frustration Martin remained on the Council, determined to find a better way to maintain the independence of the profession he loved. His colleague and friend, Dr Bruce Shepherd states, ‘It was due to Martin’s determination that a group of us were inspired to form a team to contest the 1987 NSW AMA Branch Council elections.’

Dr Flood’s jovial disposition and incisive mind have been used in many leadership positions in the AMA and the Australian Association of Surgeons (AAS), which formed the nucleus of support for the 1984 Doctors’ Dispute.

His sacrifices on behalf of his colleagues in the defence of an independent profession are rightly acknowledged through the awarding of a Bruce Shepherd Medal for outstanding service to independent medicine.

Dr John Harrison AM *

Dr John Harrison has served the Australian medical profession almost unceasingly since he graduated from Medical School; indeed, he has lived a life of concern for his colleagues on a daily basis. At the same time, John represented Australia at Water Polo as an Olympic goalkeeper, team manager and team doctor. During his career John has also maintained an active interest in water polo and open ocean swimming, as well as running a highly successful private practice, along with many years of service as an honorary VMO in the NSW public hospital system.

Dr Harrison played a leading role in the 1984 Doctors’ Dispute and later accepted the position of Treasurer in the NSW AMA as part of a reform group. He subsequently went on to serve as a Director and Chairman of the ADF, Director of the Council of Procedural Specialists (COPS), Chairman of the Australian Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons and President of the Australian Orthopaedic Association, where he was awarded the L O Betts Medal for clinical excellence.

The profession will always remain in enormous debt to John Meredith Harrison. No one could have a better soldier on their side, and there is no more deserving awardee of the Bruce Shepherd Medal for outstanding service to independent medicine.

Dr Lehonde Hoare *

Lehonde (Frosty) Hoare was a pioneering President of the Australian Association of Surgeons, bringing a sense of unification and inspiration to that body which endured for many years and made it a bastion for the independence of the profession. He has, amongst many other posts, held the position of State President of the AMA South Australian Branch, Federal Councillor of the AMA and, of course, President of the Australian Association of Surgeons.

It was Frosty Hoare, and his wise counsel, who gave Bruce Shepherd the confidence to pursue his attempts to maintain the independence of the profession and supported him and those with a like mind for many years.

His gentlemanly disposition, never failing good humour and hospitable nature are backed by a determination to uphold the values of his profession, which he has done successfully for many years. It is fitting that his years of commitment be acknowledged through the awarding of a Bruce Shepherd Medal for outstanding service to independent medicine.

Dr Aniello Iannuzzi

Australia’s rural doctors are a unique group: self-reliant, independent and comfortable with the complexities of treating patients miles from major hospitals. For over 20 years, Aniello Iannuzzi has served the people of Coonabarabran and the surrounding district as their family and hospital doctor.

During this time he has served on a number of boards including the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), AMA NSW, and the Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS). Dr Iannuzzi has also been a member of the NSW GP Council, NSW Medical Services Committee, and the Doctors’ Health Advisory Service. He has also been a long-standing member of the Practice Incentives Programme Advisory Group.

Those who know the sacrifices that Dr Iannuzzi has made to his vocation, and in particular rural Australians, are humbled by his capacity and outstanding leadership which is driven by an absolute commitment to the principles of professional independence and social responsibility. The Bruce Shepherd Medal is one way we can acknowledge his outstanding commitment and service to independent medicine.

Mr Alan Jones AO

‘Teacher, mentor, athlete, coach, communicator, champion of all worthwhile causes whether popular or not, generous to a fault, not only with his finances, but with his even more precious time and energy.’- Dr Bruce Shepherd AM

Alan Jones has always given wise counsel and wonderful help to those who support quality independent medicine and the doctor/patient relationship. He instinctively understands the philosophy of those who stand for the right to be the patient’s doctor rather than the government’s doctor or the doctor controlled by business interests.

Alan’s public, outstanding and extraordinary achievements as a commentator on public affairs over many years are well known. He has been and remains a trusted household name in Australia as one of the world’s most successful media broadcasters.

Despite his extraordinary success, Alan has never forgotten the plight of Australians who are doing it tough. The Bruce Shepherd Medal is one way that the Australian medical profession can acknowledge Alan’s contribution to ensuring that all Australians have access to quality medical care, delivered by a profession whose only interest is the patient’s welfare. Thank you Alan for your unique and outstanding contribution to independent medicine.

Mr Roger Kilham

Roger Kilham graduated from Sydney University in Economics and pursued a distinguished career as an economist in the Commonwealth Treasury before becoming a highly respected health economist. He commenced an association with the Federal AMA in late 1989 and continued for almost 25 years to give expert advice on all matters of health policy. Roger’s advice, and in particular his papers and presentations, became ‘hot property’ on any contentious issue regarding health policy. His knowledge of government and grounding in classical economics, and his determination to see behind the ‘process’ to the fundamental issues at the heart of any debate or deliberation, are invaluable to all those who have had the privilege to know and work with him.

Doctors across Australia could be forgiven for not appreciating or even knowing the contribution that Roger has made towards independent medicine. Due to his astute analysis and courage to face criticism of his public position concerning poor policy proposals and government decisions, Roger has prevented and exposed numerous policy failures.

Roger Kilham is a worthy recipient of the Bruce Shepherd Medal for Distinguished Service to independent medicine. Congratulations Roger.

Dr Amanda McBride *

Dr Amanda McBride first met Dr Bruce Shepherd on a dark and stormy Sunday night when he was summoned to Mona Vale Hospital to treat the victim of a road traffic accident (namely, Amanda herself). Dr Shepherd said he knew Amanda was special when she became the only patient who has ever apologised to him for getting him out in the night for emergency medical care.

Dr McBride went on to establish a successful General Practice which also included looking after Bruce’s wife, Annette, in the latter stages of Annette’s life. As such she was a great personal support to the Shepherd family at a difficult time, which coincided with the 1984 Doctors’ Dispute.

Later, Amanda stepped forward to be part of Dr Shepherd’s reform group that took over the NSW AMA Branch Council in 1987, and went on to become a Federal Councillor of the AMA and radio broadcaster on Sydney radio 2GB, where she answered numerous calls on complex health issues, phoned in by listeners, with professional grace and expertise.

In her latter years, Amanda became an academic at the newly formed University of Notre Dame Medical School in Sydney, and continued to support the Australian Doctors’ Federation, injecting a cheerful disposition that inspired her colleagues in their ongoing determination to maintain an independent medical profession. We thank you Amanda by awarding you the Bruce Shepherd Medal for outstanding service to independent medicine.

Dr William (Bill) McCubbery

Dr Bill McCubbery is one of the most well-known General Practitioners in Victoria. He is held in high regard by all who know him and appreciate the decades of service he has given in a range of organisations, including being a Foundation Director and Victorian Chairman of the Australian Doctors’ Fund (now Australian Doctors’ Federation). Above all, Dr McCubbery has spent his medical career as a family doctor, treating generations of patients with the caring and kindness that accompany his sharp, medical mind.

His passionate interest in health economics and philosophy have underpinned his service to an independent profession. During the latter years of his medical career, he has taken this experience into the areas of independent medical assessments and the reform of the VIC worker’s compensation system. With the weight of experience and a keen eye for the ‘solution in search of a problem’, Dr McCubbery has ensured that those who advocate for the profession stay on course, uphold the values of personal freedom and resist executive government overreach into medical practice.

Our family doctors are the backbone of Australian medicine and we acknowledge today one of Australia’s finest with the presentation of a Bruce Shepherd medal to Dr Bill McCubbery for outstanding service to independent medicine.

Mr Stephen Milgate AM

Bruce Shepherd describes Stephen Milgate as ‘My greatest gift to the medical profession. His enthusiasm, his energy, his generosity of time and spirit, the deep friendships and affection he has formed with many of our colleagues are wondrous to behold’.

The Australian Doctors’ Fund (now Federation) would not exist without Stephen Milgate. The Orthopaedic Surgeons would be an even more motley lot than they are now. Indeed, there is scarcely a medical organisation which has not received his help and wise counsel.

‘There are few, if any, doctors who are aware of innate qualities that are required of a doctor and indeed the health requirements of the populace. One wonders where he finds the energy to do all these things for the profession and at the same time be such a community minded and family-oriented person. Many a young person in the St George District has been saved from the traps of adolescent life which pervade in the community due to Stephen’s enormous heart. His contribution is recognised with the awarding of a Bruce Shepherd Medal for outstanding service to independent medicine.’

Dr Brendan Nelson AO

Dr Brendan Nelson first met Dr Bruce Shepherd through the late Dr Michael Wertheimer, who described Brendan as, ‘a young snoozer who was showing some good form down here (as President of the Tasmanian branch of the AMA).’ Their first meeting saw Brendan express disapproval of some of the positions Dr Shepherd had taken, whereupon Dr Shepherd supported Dr Nelson’s election to Vice President of the Federal AMA (the first Vice President of the AMA to hold office without having held any prior federal office).

Brendan’s natural talent for communication is self-evident. He has achieved high public office, as a Federal Minister, Leader of the Federal Opposition, Australian Ambassador to the EU, Belgium and Luxembourg, Australian Special Representative to NATO, and Director of the Australian War Memorial.

Listening, consulting, seeking to understand, Brendan is always able to articulate, both to his profession and to the wider public, what needs to be done to make things better. Throughout his entire career, Brendan has remained true to the principles of independent medicine, genuine in friendship, intellectually honest and willing to sacrifice himself for others. Dr Shepherd described Dr Nelson as, ‘An outstanding representative of our noble profession.’

Brendan is a worthy recipient of the Bruce Shepherd Medal for Distinguished Service to Independent Medicine.

Dr Shirley Prager

Dr Shirley Prager is a Victorian Psychiatrist who has contributed significantly to the work of the Australian Doctors’ Fund (now Doctors’ Federation) in the areas of patient access to mental health and psychotherapy, gender-based abortion, resistance to managed care, bureaucratic encroachments into the doctor/patient relationship, and medical indemnity issues affecting psychiatry and the wider profession, and the list goes on. Dr Prager was also called as an expert witness at the Ipp Inquiry into reform of Australia’s negligence laws.

Shirley also pioneered the introduction of doctor peer review groups in Australian psychiatry, an innovation which has now been adopted across a number of medical disciplines, as a practical enhancer of clinical standards and support for doctors.

Dr Prager’s intellect and energy are matched by her deep compassion for the sufferer, particularly those with mental illness. Her no-nonsense decision making and affirmation of the rights of patients to treatment, have generated respect from all those who have had the privilege to work with her.

An outstanding leader and champion of medical independence, Dr Prager’s contribution is recognised with the awarding of a Bruce Shepherd Medal for outstanding service to independent medicine.

Dr Richard Prytula

Dr Richard Prytula was president of the National Association of Medical Specialists (NAMS) from 1989-1995. In 1996, NAMS joined with the Australian Doctors’ Fund to fight the introduction of US-style managed health care into Australia. Richard has served for 23 years as a Director of the Australian Doctor’s Federation and an active member of its management committee. His contribution has been significant and greatly appreciated.

Richard trained as a Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst and Group Analyst, and has worked in private practice for over 30 years. He is a foundation member of the Faculty of Forensic Psychiatry (RANZCP), as well as being an Independent Medical Examiner and Chair of the Victorian Medico-legal Group. Dr Prytula also served as President of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

Richard’s contribution to the maintenance of an independent medical profession springs from his deep understanding of the motivations of those who seek to misuse authority to pursue political and personal agendas. His expertise in the areas of mass psychology, advertising and marketing have been extremely helpful to every organisation which has had the privilege to be associated with him.

This contribution has been acknowledged with the presentation of a Bruce Shepherd Medal for outstanding service to independent medicine.

Mr Paul Ramsay AO*

Few Australians today could imagine a time when Australia’s private hospital system was smaller than a cottage industry. The vision of one man, Paul Ramsay, changed all that when in 1964 he opened a 16-bed mental health facility in a house in Sydney and through sheer hard work and commitment went on to become Australia’s largest private hospital operator. With 69 hospitals in Australia and 151 facilities throughout the world, Ramsay Health Care is a testament to one man’s vision to make a difference to the quality of health care for his country and elsewhere. This investment has benefited all Australians.

Part of Paul’s remarkable success was his commitment to the independence of the Australian medical profession. He understood that, given the facilities and the support, Australian doctors could achieve world class results. The growth of private medicine following the 1984 Doctors’ Dispute in NSW owes much to two men who became close friends, namely Bruce Shepherd and Paul Ramsay.

It is fitting that Paul Ramsay is recognised with the Bruce Shepherd Medal for outstanding service to independent medicine.

Dr Don Sheldon*

Dr Don Sheldon will long be remembered by those who knew him for his outstanding contribution to independent medicine. His dedication to clinical excellence saw his reputation as an Upper GI (Gastroenterological) Surgeon of the highest order propel him into leadership positions firstly in the Australian Association of Surgeons and then as Chairman of the Council of Procedural Specialists for many years.

Although it is not widely known, Don Sheldon played a leading role in the medical indemnity crisis and was chosen by Prime Minister John Howard to represent the profession on the now highly regarded Ipp Review Of The Law Of Negligence, whose work transformed the laws of negligence in Australia and provided the framework for the financial restoration of the Australian medical indemnity insurance model.

Along with his colleagues led by Dr Bruce Shepherd, Don Sheldon took action in the 1984 Doctors’ Dispute to prevent the nationalisation of Australian medicine. These experiences grounded his belief that the price of freedom was eternal vigilance. His contribution is recognised with the presentation of a Bruce Shepherd Medal for distinguished service to independent medicine.

Ms Anne Smith

Anne Smith was working in a leading stockbroker’s office as an administrator when she made a historic decision to become a practice manager for Dr Bruce Shepherd. Over the next 42 years, Anne ensured that the administration required to drive Dr Shepherd’s multiple activities, both clinical and medico-political, was always available 24/7. There is no one who is more committed and talented in all aspects of administration than the lady with a quiet voice and warm smile who is respected and admired by all who know her.

In the words of her boss, Dr Bruce Shepherd, ‘No one person has given more of her time so generously, so effectively, for the preservation of quality independent medicine. Besides her work as my Practice Manager she has used her boundless energy and her skills to keep so many balls in the air at one time that one can only marvel.’

Few practice managers have had the privilege of having a black-tie dinner held by Orthopaedic Surgeons in their honour. Her corporate knowledge, energy, integrity, loyalty and selfless sacrifice will be forever appreciated, respected and admired by all who have come into contact with the most remarkable back-room operator in Australian medicine. It is fitting that Anne’s achievements be recognised with the awarding of a Bruce Shepherd Medal for outstanding service to independent medicine.

Dr Dana Wainwright

Australia’s General Physicians are a special and declining breed. It takes considerable intellectual discipline to master the complexities of the whole-body system and deliver practical, timely treatment and advice to those who suffer chronic illness and often multiple conditions. Brisbane General Physician Dr Dana Wainwright is one of this special group. Throughout her professional career, her predominant concern and effort has been directed to maintaining high standards of medical care and teaching in the QLD public hospital system.

During this time, she has faithfully served on the executive of the Australian Doctors’ Fund (now Doctors’ Federation) and as President of the Queensland Branch of the AMA. Dana has also been Chair of the Council of the Federal AMA. In all this time, Dr Wainwright has never been backward in seeking direct action where it is required to maintain professional independence and high standards of medical care.

Outspoken, with a kind and considerate disposition, Dana has earned the respect of all who have worked with her in the noble cause of maintaining a profession we can all be proud of. We thank her by awarding her a Bruce Shepherd Medal for outstanding service to independent medicine.

Dr Michael Wertheimer *

Tasmanian General Surgeon Dr Michael Wertheimer became a central figure in Australian Medico-politics when he encouraged his colleague Dr Brendan Nelson to run for office in the Australian Medical Association. The rest is well known. It was shortly after the NSW Doctors’ Dispute that Dr Wertheimer threw his weight behind the AMA presidency of Dr Bruce Shepherd and worked tirelessly to gain him support in Tasmania, which proved invaluable in the final, successful result.

Dr Wertheimer served with distinction as a Naval Surgeon in the Gulf War. A brave and dedicated Australian and friend to all who loved and worked for freedom and justice. His hospitality and generosity to anyone who cared to visit Tasmania on medical business were legendary.

Michael’s natural, Australian charm was infectious. You were never going out for a meal — you were going for a ‘nose bag’. Sadly, for all of us these sayings were not recorded for posterity, but all those who knew and loved Michael will recall his unique sense of humour and dedication to his patients, his profession and his country.

We salute and remember him fondly with the presentation of a Bruce Shepherd Medal for outstanding service to independent medicine.

Dr James (Jim) Wilkinson OAM

There is no one more committed to the enjoyment of sacred music than Sydney and now Queensland Anaesthetist Dr Jim Wilkinson. His professional relationship with Dr Bruce Shepherd was formed early in their medical careers when Dr Shepherd was searching for an Anaesthetist with an excellent clinical record and strong repertoire of good jokes and in particular, new material. Together they became a dynamic duo, pioneering hip surgery and successfully undertaking many difficult cases, referred to them by other specialists.

During the 1984 Doctors’ Dispute, Dr Wilkinson took a leadership role, calling on Anaesthetists to support Bruce Shepherd in the conflict with the NSW Government over the right of private practice in public hospitals. Many young doctors can be forgiven for not realising how close the profession came to nationalisation during this time.

Over the years, Jim Wilkinson has contributed significantly to the independence of the profession and the maintenance of high clinical standards of Australian Anaesthesia. He went on to pursue a medico-legal pathway as an expert witness and obtained a professional understanding of the Australian legal system, which also proved invaluable to the ADF.  Jim can quickly read any complex legal case and give you a precise summary of the issues at hand.

In the words of his colleague and friend Dr Bruce Shepherd, ‘As a surgeon I have never felt more comfortable in a theatre as I have with Jim as the Anaesthetist. The courage his ability has given him has been used for the great benefit of many extremely sick patients.’ There can be no more fitting acknowledgement than to award Dr Jim Wilkinson the Bruce Shepherd Medal for outstanding service to independent medicine.

Dr Cholm Williams

Breen vs Williams is a landmark court case in Australian legal history. The case arose when Sydney Plastic Surgeon Dr Cholm Williams decided to give the Australian legal system the opportunity to determine the ownership and control of confidential patient medical information. His subsequent victory in the High Court gave the first comprehensive legal explanation of the competing rights of patients, doctors, plaintiff lawyers and other third parties, who wanted access to confidential medical files. As a result of the case, the Federal Government introduced legislation to regulate what was previously unknown territory and restore confidence in medical record keeping.

Dr Williams came to prominence in the 1984 Doctors’ Dispute when he led the Plastic Surgeons who refused to allow government intervention into the doctor/patient relationship. Since that time, he has contributed significantly to the work of the Australian Doctors’ Fund (now Doctors’ Federation). His reputation for clinical excellence in Plastic Surgery has also earnt the respect of all those who understand the complexities of this demanding specialty.

Dr Williams continues to serve on the management committee of the Australian Doctors’ Federation, and there is no more deserving awardee of the