When Focus spoke to Doctor Frederik Lips shortly after speaking with Dr Gillespie, he had just announced his candidacy for the ALP. We asked the same questions of both men and, with the PM’s hospitals’ takeover plan in flux at the time of going to press, we excluded its specifics from our story.
I graduated MBBS from Sydney University in 1970; my clinical student years were spent at RPAH. After residency I started specialist training at Royal Newcastle. In 1974 I made a gliding trip across Australia and my then wife and I travelled to PNG to work at a hospital in Rabaul. I completed anaesthetic training at London’s St George’s Hospital and also gained a degree in internal medicine. I worked in the Netherlands briefly and in 1977 returned home to a short locum at RNSH, then moved to Adelaide on the staff of Flinders Medical Centre in Australia’s first academic anaesthetic department. Over the next 12 years I worked in anaesthesia and pain management, did academic research, trained anaesthetists and was director of a community palliative care service. In 1989 I came to Port with my second family.
I was born in Indonesia of Dutch parents who travelled to work there after the war; Dad moved our family to Australia in 1951. I grew up with my younger sister on Sydney’s lower North Shore, had a solid education backed up by the first-generation migrant ethic of hard work and study. My godfather, Dad’s best friend, an ENT surgeon in Eindhoven in Holland, may have influenced my becoming a doctor. My other travels abroad have been a month in East Timor in 2001 and two medical missions to China to help cure cataract blindness, in Inner Mongolia and in Gui Zhou province. I anaesthetised up to 100 cataract patients a day there.
I came to Port to downsize, start a young family and be nearer my parents and sister. Five years ago my wife Pamela and I moved to a Heron’s Creek property. We’re establishing a macadamia orchard and have a Landcare grant to help us replant the creek banks with 3000 trees. We’re going solar, aiming to be carbon-neutral in domestic power. Pamela’s in charge of the operating theatre at PMBH; my children have grown up but come to visit; the two youngest are still at uni.
Why are you standing? At last we have a federal government prepared to tackle and change what’s been business as usual on many policy fronts. If elected I’d be a member of the next Labor government, participating in decision-making and representing local needs to those in power. If I’m elected Member for Lyne, the residents of Port and the electorate will have their representative in government as part of the decision-making process.
Main issues, excluding health? A growing economy’s important: the government’s GFC spending initiatives prevented a recession – unemployment in Port fell in the last nine months of 2009. Transport and infrastructure: done in an environmentally-sensitive manner underpin economic growth, reduce the cost of doing business and benefit working families and retirees.
Main health issues in Port? Both the NSW and federal governments have stepped up to relieve pressure on cancer care and accident and emergency at PMBH. We now urgently need to get the NCAHS and DOH ‘shovel ready’ and the master plan approved to expand capacity (beds, operating theatres) and roles (coronary care unit, cardiac catheter and angio suite, to name a few). The greater needs of aged, primary and mental healthcare must be addressed. Labor has policies to tackle those issues; if elected, I’d look to implementing them.
What professional/personal qualities can you bring to being an MP? There’s a crisis in both the funding and delivery of healthcare: how it’s delivered in future will be the biggest election issue. I’ve 40 years experience as a doctor and would contribute my professional knowledge for optimal outcomes.
Will you continue practising if elected? No.
I lecture to nurses, medical students and trainee specialists and lay groups like Rotary and Probus. I participate in my college’s continuing professional development: you can’t renew your registration without it. I play six-a-side soccer, tennis and occasional golf. I’m a past secretary of Port Saints Soccer Club and coached a junior development squad for two years. I’m a member of Players Theatre and had roles in musicals such as Annie, The Boyfriend and The Merry Widow. I hold a commercial pilot’s licence with an instrument rating and used to fly twin-engine aircraft. I’d like to take up gliding again. I ride a motor bike and enjoy long off-road safaris such as to Cape York.