Government appoints new CEO for health services after first choice quits

Ian Bushnell 20 September 2018

Bernadette McDonald will lead the ACT’s health services, including Canberra Hospital. File photo.

The ACT Government has moved quickly to fill the leadership void for the new health services organisation, after the sudden resignation of Janet Anderson who quit for personal reasons after only three days in the job.

Bernadette McDonald has been appointed Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the new Canberra Health Service organisation, which will run the clinical side of ACT Health, including Canberra Hospital.

Ms McDonald has been appointed to the role for a period of six months, pending finalisation of a long-term recruitment process, and will take up the role on 1 October when ACT Health will be split into two distinct organisations.

Heading up the strategic policy and planning side of things will be Michael De’Ath, who has been appointed director-general of the Health Directorate.

Ms McDonald is a former Deputy Chief Executive Officer and acting Chief Executive Officer of Austin Health in Victoria, and has an extensive hospital, health services, policy development and program management background. Ms McDonald has occupied senior roles in Victorian hospitals and in the Victorian Health and Human Services Department.

She holds a Bachelor of Nursing, a Masters of Health Administration, postgraduate diplomas in Health Services and Health Systems Management, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris said she was looking forward to working with Ms McDonald and the leadership team to continue to deliver quality health care to the Canberra community.

“With the establishment of Canberra Health Service as its own organisation, the CEO role is a key leadership position,” she said.

“Ms McDonald comes to the role with significant experience leading hospital and health service delivery, as well as policy and program delivery. She has strong health leadership credentials and a commitment to working in partnerships and promoting positive workplace culture. Ms McDonald will play a key role in ensuring a smooth transition process for the organisation.

“Ahead of the separation of ACT Health next month, I am pleased that the leadership roles for our ACT public health system are now in place.”

Ms Anderson’s resignation was a further blow to ACT Health, which will now be the subject of an independent inquiry into its workplace culture and bullying allegations.

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