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New CEO to lead safety and quality health commission

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) today announced the appointment of Conjoint Professor Anne Duggan as the Commission’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Professor Duggan has more than 30 years’ experience in the health sector and will take on the role of CEO from Monday 27 March 2023.

As Chief Medical Officer of the Commission since 2021, and previously, Clinical Director and Senior Medical Advisor from 2014, Professor Duggan is well positioned to lead the Commission at a time when the safety and quality of health care is a national priority.

Professor Duggan succeeds Adjunct Professor Debora Picone AO, who retired in September 2022 and was CEO from 2012.

Commission Board Chair, Professor Villis Marshall AC, said he was pleased to welcome Professor Duggan to the helm of the organisation, which leads national improvements in the safety and quality of health care.

“The Board is delighted to welcome our new CEO and we look forward to working closely with her to further improve the safe delivery of health care across the country,” Professor Marshall said.

“Professor Duggan brings to the role a deep understanding of the complex issues surrounding safety and quality in Australian health care, including the importance of partnering with consumers and improving the value and sustainability of our health system.

“As a respected, committed and progressive health leader, Professor Duggan is ideal to lead the Commission in its next phase and is well placed as CEO.

“Her experience as a practising clinician, policy maker and accomplished health sector leader is vital to the Commission, which has a critical role in leading improvements that underpin the safety of our healthcare system.

“Professor Duggan has championed a focus on improving access to quality health care, wherever people live. I have no doubt she will do a tremendous job leading the Commission,” Professor Marshall said.

Professor Duggan said she would continue to focus on improving patient-centred care for all Australians.

“As CEO, I am thrilled to be able to continue to work with inspiring colleagues, leaders and healthcare services across Australia to deliver excellent health outcomes for patients,” Professor Duggan said.

“I am energised by the evolution of our healthcare system in the digital age and passionate about finding ways to ensure better care by improving access to quality health services.

“I will work for a seamless transition and ensure the Commission continues to collaborate with individuals and organisations across healthcare disciplines and jurisdictions, to respond to changes in the sector and to achieve better healthcare for all Australians.”

Prior to joining the Commission, Professor Duggan was Director, Clinical Governance, with the Hunter New England Local Health District. She is a respected gastroenterologist and is also Conjoint Professor, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle.

Professor Duggan is Chair of the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Advisory Committee and has a leadership role on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority and Medical Board Expert Panel relating to the review of cosmetic surgery.

Professor Marshall paid tribute to former CEO Adjunct Professor Debora Picone, who led the Commission for a decade and delivered significant change in safety and quality standards, clinical governance, infection control, open disclosure, informed consent, monitoring and measurement for improvement.

He also applauded the work of Acting CEO, Chris Leahy, over the past six months. Mr Leahy will return to his role as the Commission’s Chief Operating Officer.

The Commission is part of the Health portfolio of the Australian Government. Established in 2006 by the Council of Australian Governments, it has been an independent statutory authority since 2011 and is funded jointly by the Australian Government and state and territory governments. The Commission’s role, functions and responsibilities are governed by the National Health Reform Act 2011.


Media release

The Commission has appointed Conjoint Professor Anne Duggan as the Commission’s new Chief Executive Officer. Professor Duggan has more than 30 years’ experience in the health sector and took on the role of CEO from 27 March 2023.

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