The Board of Western Health is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Russell Harrison as Chief Executive.
Board Chair The Hon. Bronwyn Pike today congratulated Mr Harrison, who she said was an "exceptional" leader with the vision and experience to take the organisation forward.
"Russell has made an outstanding contribution to Western Health over almost five years in the role of Executive Director Operations, as well as on the occasions he has led the organisation as Acting Chief Executive," Ms Pike said. "During his time with us, Russell has provided exceptional leadership in the face of many major challenges and implemented some of the most significant changes to occur in Western Health.
"As resident of the West, Russell is acutely aware of the many barriers and healthcare challenges facing our culturally diverse and socio economically disadvantaged communities and he is dedicated to achieving the best possible outcomes for our patients and their families, despite those challenges.
"Since joining Western Health, Russell has demonstrated his capacity to put our patients first when making the tough decisions required of the leader of a major health service."
Mr Harrison began his career in Britain with a B.Sc in Applied Biology from John Moores University Liverpool. He then worked in the independent aged care sector in England before joining the National Health Service. During his 16 years in the NHS, Mr Harrison held numerous executive roles across multiple sectors, from mental health, acute care and community care, as well as a period as a Commissioner of Health Services. He also served as Project Director for the construction of several new hospitals, and earned his Master of Business Administration degree.
Ms Pike said Mr Harrison's extensive experience meant he was very well-placed to guide the organisation through the completion and commissioning of the Joan Kirner Women's and Children's Hospital and the planning and commencement of the new Footscray Hospital.
Mr Harrison replaces A/Prof Alex Cockram, who stood down from the Chief Executive role in August after five highly successful years.
Western Health manages three acute public hospitals: Footscray Hospital, Sunshine Hospital and Williamstown Hospital. It also operates the Sunbury Day Hospital, a Transition Care Program at Hazeldean in Williamstown, as well as a wide range of community based services and a large Drug and Alcohol Service.