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On Wednesday, Metro South Chief Executive Dr Richard Ashby was farewelled with a special event in the Russell Strong Auditorium at Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH).
Dr Ashby has a long history in health in Queensland and started his career at PAH as an intern in 1976.
After a few years working in rural and regional Queensland, he returned to Brisbane to work at QEII Hospital from 1981 to 1989.
In 2006 he came to PAH from Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, to take the position of Executive Director Medical Services under newly appointed clinical CEO Dr David Theile.
“David created the vision of high-quality patient care and that really unified everyone and [started] the collaboration we see today,” Dr Ashby said.
In 2012, Dr Ashby was appointed Chief Executive of Metro South Hospital and Health Service.
PAH Executive Director Medical Services Dr Michael Cleary said he had known Dr Ashby for 31 years.
“It has been a privilege to work with Richard in many roles for many years. His leadership, authenticity and his loyalty to the organisation is unwavering and he will be sadly missed, and we wish him well for the future,” he said.
Director of PAH Emergency Department Dr Philip Kay said he and Dr Ashby did first-year medicine together at the age of 18.
“There are two types of people you work for—leaders and managers. Managers do things right, and leaders do the right things and have vision,” he said.
“Since Richard started in medicine, he has always been a leader. He has led every step of the way in every role he did.”
PAH Executive Director Nursing Services Veronica Casey formally thanked Dr Ashby for his support of nursing and midwifery over the past 10 years at PAH and QEII.
“The journey to Magnet was foreign, it was different and it had not been heard of. But Joy had a vision and Richard supported us and took PAH through our first designation, which saw PAH leading the way,” she said.
PAH Executive Director, Clinical Support Services Kathy Grudzinskas said Dr Ashby’s vision was something allied health had really admired over the years.
“I’d also say that if you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of needing treatment here at the PA Hospital, there are a number of allied health professionals who’d love to be able to help you. Physios, OTs, we’re just waiting to get our hands on you,” she said.
The event was live-streamed to participants from across Metro South Health facilities.
Board Chair Terry White AO sent a touching message on behalf of the Metro South Hospital and Health Board.
“We have been so fortunate to have had [Richard] as our CEO for the last five years,” Mr White said.
“He leaves us with a great legacy and more to come on the eHealth front! More importantly he leaves behind a great team to build the future.”
Executive Director PAH-QEII Network Dr Stephen Ayre presented Dr Ashby with a commemorative statue.
“In recognition of our absolute admiration for your leadership over many years,” Dr Ayre said.
“It’s a wave sculpture to reflect the wave of innovation, development and leadership that you’ve achieved in Metro South.”