Neale Fong

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Dr. Neale Fong is a businessman, Australian rules football administrator, Churches of Christ chaplain, and former public servant in Perth, Western Australia. As of 2016, he is chairman of Bethesda Hospital, a member of the Ministerial Council for Suicide Prevention, and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management (2013–present). He is a controversial figure, and allegations of misconduct resulted in his departure in January 2008 from the state's best-paid position—Director General of Health.

Career[edit]

Football[edit]

Neale Fong commenced his career with the Western Australian Amateur Football League as an Australian rules football player and administrator in 1981, and has been described as "one of the most important figures in Western Australian football history." After 12 years as a successful amateur player, he was elected a Commissioner of the West Australian Football Commission from 1999 until 2010, and chairman from 2002 until 2010.[1] As of 2016, he serves as chaplain of the West Coast Eagles Football Club. He is the brother of former WAFL club West Perth captain Les Fong.

Health services[edit]

Fong graduated in the University of Western Australia's Graduate School of Management with an MBA in 1996. Also having degrees in medicine and theology, he served for five years as the chief executive officer of WA’s largest private hospital, the St John of God Subiaco Hospital. Other positions he has held include project director for the establishment of the Curtin Medical School, and director general of the WA Department of Health.[2]

In 2004, he was appointed by the Gallop Ministry to implement reform in Western Australia's public health system. He became the executive chairman of the Health Reform and Implementation Taskforce, charged with implementing the recommendations[3] of the Reid Report.[4] He became director-general of the Department of Health, the state's highest-paid public servant with a salary of A$600,000, before resigning over adverse corruption findings when he was found to have exchanged highly confidential information with lobbyist and disgraced former WA Inc premier Brian Burke.[5][6] The matter was the subject of an investigation by the state's Corruption and Crime Commission, which recommended that Fong be disciplined on two counts and prosecuted on a third.[7]

In September 2012, Fong commenced an appointment by Health Solutions WA Pty Ltd (of which he was managing director)[8]:16 as managing director of Peel Health Campus, a private hospital at Mandurah which was also embroiled in allegations of fraud and corruption,[9] It was found that doctors were being paid $200 per patient as inducement for admissions to the hospital. A subsequent parliamentary inquiry found that the scheme incorrectly generated $1.78 million from the Department of Health, which was able to recover the amount.[8]:10–11 Within four months, Fong quit, announcing acquisition of the business by Ramsay Health Care.[10]

In November 2015, he was appointed by the Minister of Health to chair one of a number of interim regional health service boards, pending new proposed legislation to establish health services as separate statutory authorities.[11]

Fong is president of the WA Branch of the Australasian College of Health Services Management, having been made an Honorary Fellow in 2011. He is also a Member of the Ministerial Council for Suicide Prevention (2013–present), Chairman of the Rhonda Wyllie Foundation (2012–present), and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management (2013–present).

Awards[edit]

He was a finalist in the 2010 Western Australian Citizen of the Year Award (Community Service). He was also a recipient of the Centenary of Federation Medal in 2003.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Player/administrator 1981-2010. WAAFL official website, 2016.
  2. ^ Board of Directors official website of Bethesda Hospital, Perth, 1960. Accessed 3 May 1960
  3. ^ Reid M. et al. A Healthy Future for Western Australians: Report of the Health Reform Committee Western Australia Department of Health, March 2004.
  4. ^ "Neale Fong to head health taskforce". deadurl=yes. 18 June 2004. Retrieved 25 January 2008. 
  5. ^ "WA Govt braces for further CCC fallout". ABC 7.30 Report, 29 January 2008. Accessed 3 May 2016
  6. ^ "Neale Fong quits over CCC findings". News Limited. 25 January 2008. 
  7. ^ Report on the Investigation of Alleged Misconduct concerning Dr Neale Fong, Director General of the Department of Health. W.A. Corruption and Crime Commission, 25 January 2008, p.6. Accessed 3 May 2016
  8. ^ a b Inquiry into Peel Health Campus Payments Report, W.A. Legislative Council, November 2012
  9. ^ Herbert, Bronwyn "Public health, private profits" ABC 7.30, 19 December 2012. Accessed 3 May 2016
  10. ^ Newton, Charli Hospital CEO "had enough". Mandurah Mail, 8 April 2013. Accessed 3 May 2016
  11. ^ Hames, Kim Eastern suburbs to have own health service. WA Department of Health, ministerial media release, 25 November 2015

External links[edit]