Mrs ARMITAGE ( Launceston ) - Mr President, I speak today about one of Australia's top surgeons, Professor Berni Einoder, and the contribution he has made during his time in the role of director of surgery at the Launceston General Hospital. Professor Einoder recently announced his intention to retire from this position but thankfully he will continue teaching at the medical school, and with his surgical practice in Launceston . I asked him recently how he saw his contribution to the LGH, and he simply said:
I have achieved a few things in my time in Launceston , but to be fair it was always a team effort and it has been my privilege to have been the captain of a wonderful group of professional people at the LGH. As in all teams, the coach can't make the changes unless the players willingly and enthusiastically contribute, not only with their effort but also with their new ideas.
I have no doubt that his comments truly reflect how he sees his contribution, but if you ask anybody else at the LGH how they see Professor Einoder's contribution I am sure you will get a totally different answer. To say he has achieved a few things during his time at the LGH is an understatement of epic proportions, with many of his achievements being Australian firsts. Professor Einoder graduated with an honours degree in medicine in 1967 from Monash University. He was a general practitioner in the Pacific Islands, senior orthopaedic registrar at Sussex County Hospital in the UK and registrar at the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London.
Professor Einoder was at the LGH as a registrar in 1975 and realised that the environment was right for progressive thinking. It was not overburdened with, in his words, the 'old farts and bureaucrats' he had experienced in Melbourne. When he came back in mid-1977 after three fellowships in Europe, the LGH allowed him to perform the latest procedures that were not, as yet, accepted by the more important metropolitan hospital hierarchies.He found it was a place where he could immerse himself in the community and work with a small team of professionals. He speaks proudly of the good reputation the LGH has and believes that this hospital adequately demonstrates it is possible to provide world's best practice in a regional, smallish hospital.
He started arthroscopic surgery in Tasmania in 1977 and did the first arthroscopic procedure in public hospitals in Australia. He also did the first hip arthroscopy in Australia in 1978, as well as undertaking the first cultured articular cartilage implant in a patient's knee in 2001. In 1996 he stepped into the position of LGH Chief Executive and publicly warned the government to increase the LGH's miserable budget. Never afraid to speak his mind, this temporary position turned into an almost two-year stint in which he is credited for turning the hospital into a successful operation with an international reputation.
Never one to personally accept credit, he said:
All I can say was my contribution was to get the spirit back in the place and make everybody feel proud to be part of it. In my opinion bureaucrats are there to make things happen while the clinicians are in a hospital to decide what should happen, not the other way around. Clinical outcome for our patients is paramount. How we go about doing it is in second line of importance and whether we do or don't come in on budget is third line of importance, not the other way around.
With achievements too many to list during his illustrious career, but including being given the Australian Orthopaedic Association medal in 2005, and being named a Member of the Order of Australia in 2006, Professor Einoder credits his long list of achievements to hard work and a positive attitude. He said:
People tell me I'm lucky but I say the harder I work the luckier I get. I have a very positive attitude - I believe that mind over matter is definitely possible if you pursue that attitude.
I am sure you will agree Professor Berni Einoder is an incredibly accomplished individual and I am sure his leadership skills will be greatly missed at the LGH. Fortunately Professor Einoder is not retiring completely and will continue with his responsibilities at the medical school and as a VMO orthopaedic surgeon. He says he loves his jobs, especially teaching the medical students and training registrars, and I know they love and respect him. Of course his private practice is still as busy as always and he keeps fit by working on his farm and skiing, with any spare time spent with Anna and their eight children and nine grandchildren. He is adamant that he doesn't intend to stop working until he gets 'a bit slow, tired, sick' or when his colleagues give him 'the hint', which I am sure will not be any time soon.
Ms Rattray - Hear, hear.
Mr Wilkinson - Well done.