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PAH farewells long-serving link in Supply chain

9 January 2024

A steadfast link on the health supply chain for more than four decades, PAH Supply Manager Alison Luxton has helped to move countless volumes of supplies to some of Queensland’s busiest hospitals. Now as she signs off on a remarkable 44-year career, Alison reflects fondly on her “second home” at PA Hospital’s Supply Unit. 

Alison’s passion for supply hails back to 1979 when, as a teenager fresh out of high school, she started her PAH career working on the front counter at the old building. Before long, Alison moved into the Supply team and found her calling. 

“I moved to Supply fairly quickly, and I just fell in love with it. What was supposed to be a 12-month job became my career, and here I am 44 years later,” she said. 

Reflecting on her early career when manual stock cards and microfiche readers were used in place of modern computers, Alison says much has changed in Supply over the years, but her passion for her work has remained constant. 

“When I started, every hospital had its own warehouse, and inventory was managed using manual stock cards. The only thing that was electronic was the contract database on microfiche. A lot has changed since hospital supply departments were moved into the Shared Services model,” she said.

“Supply is a lot of hard work, but I’m really proud of all the goals we’ve achieved over the years. It's all about the patient at the end of the day, because we’re here to deliver a service to the people of Queensland, and other places in their time of need.” 

Clocking up to 300 KMs a week conducting site visits, Alison says managing the Supply Imprest teams across all South-East hospitals was a highlight of her career in Shared Services before “coming full circle” to her first home base at PAH in 2013. 

After a surprise breast cancer diagnosis set her on a personal journey through the other side of the health system in 2003, Alison says it was early detection and the support of her team at the Newmarket Supply Hub that got her through treatment. 

“I got a free breast screen referral from my GP when I turned 40, but I didn’t even know I had a problem. I was very fortunate they caught it so early. 

“Between surgery, 18 weeks of chemo and another six of radiation, work was really good to me, and thankfully I've been clear ever since.” 

Sporting her characteristic splash of purple through her hair and wardrobe, Alison proudly advocates for breast screening among everyone she meets. 

“I lost all my hair with the chemo, so when it grew back differently, I decided to colour it in, and it’s been purple ever since. It’s also a great conversation starter and it’s something people recognise.” 

Though she is accustomed to working behind-the-scenes, Alison’s wealth of experience and positive attitude have resonated with colleagues across the Metro South and Metro North supply chains, and sealed her reputation as one of Queensland’s most experienced and most widely beloved health supply specialists. 

While she has come a long way from her humble beginnings, Alison credits the success of the Supply unit to her team members’ tireless efforts that hold up every link in the chain. 

“This team doesn’t get much press, but they’re an essential and hard-working team managing an inexhaustible volume of product. Everyone here tries their best to support and help each other, and they're terrific problem-solvers. We've got all sorts of people working here, both young and older people. We don’t discriminate against anyone, and we all pull together to get a massive job done.”

As she looks forward to investing time into personal passion projects and quality time with her family, Alison says it is the people of PAH she is most sorry to leave behind. 

“I know almost everyone around the hospital and I have a lot of love for the people here, from the NUMs to the cleaners and the boys in the trade shops. It's a real community here, so it’s really the people I’ll miss the most.” 

Congratulations on your retirement, Alison, and thank you for your contribution to Supply over the past 44 years. 

Last updated 16 January 2024
Last reviewed 9 January 2024

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