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.