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.