56th Princess Alexandra Hospital Health Symposium Official Opening
I am delighted to join this eminent gathering of medical and allied professionals for the opening session of the 56th Princess Alexandra Hospital Health Symposium.
As Governor of Queensland, and for the time being Administrator of the Commonwealth while the Governor-General is overseas, I extend a warm welcome to local, interstate and overseas participants. I particularly welcome Dr Thomas Payne, of the University of Washington, Seattle, a key speaker supporting the 2016 theme, ‘Healthcare in the Digital Age’.
You have a busy schedule over the next three days, coming to grips with some issues that sound familiar and others guaranteed to stump the lay person, such as “positron emission tomography”. And there are some startling titles, too, in the individual sessions devoted to gut bacteria.
The titles may be startling but they are not unexpected.
The community at large would want those at the forefront of medical research and clinical practice to investigate the latest technologies, and to discuss gut bacteria at whatever length is necessary, if the result is better research, diagnosis and treatment of serious diseases.
Nevertheless, it is reassuring to see a substantial amount of time devoted to patient and community-centric approaches to health care, and to engaging communities in a variety of ways along the pathway from research to clinical application.
The application of digital technologies to the work of health professionals and institutions is one area in which community engagement remains of substantial importance.
It is also reassuring to see that two of the many topics set for discussion over the next three days are prominent issues for Queensland communities – mental health and domestic violence.
Both were once regarded as unseemly for public discourse, and best kept sheltered from scrutiny.
Though there is undoubtedly more to do, the tide has turned. We – and I acknowledge that “we” extends well beyond the health sector – can now acknowledge and appreciate the scale of the challenges involved. We can move, as appropriate, with openness, honesty, compassion, better knowledge and firm commitment, towards more effective responses in both these spheres.
The breadth and depth of the program for this year’s Symposium is testament to the Princess Alexandra Hospital’s commitment to doing even better what it already does so well.
That approach seems to come with the territory. This institution stands on a site that has been devoted to health care almost continuously since the 1890s.
When looking back along that timeline, we might be tempted to shake our heads at how ill-informed some of the earlier clinical practices now appear.
Without wishing to be disrespectful, I suggest that we should all hope that, in the not-too distant future, the next generation of health practitioners will shake their heads at some of the knowledge and clinical practice we now regard as cutting edge.
Multi-disciplinary gatherings of knowledgeable and experienced practitioners, like this Symposium, have helped drive that progress, and will continue to drive it.
As this is the 56th Symposium, I thank and congratulate the PA on its impeccable record of commitment to this kind of knowledge-sharing and collaboration since it was established as the South Brisbane Hospital sixty years ago.
I thank all the organisations and institutions, supporters and sponsors whose hard work and generosity have made the 2016 Symposium possible.
I thank all participants for devoting their time and energy to this event, whose ultimate beneficiary is the community.
I wish all of you a most interesting, challenging and productive three days.
And it is now my great pleasure to declare officially open the 2016 Princess Alexandra Hospital Health Symposium.