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.