A true appreciation of engineering and medicine

15 Aug 2023

Philip Spry-Bailey’s relationship with St Vincent’s Hospital spans over 30 years.  

It began in 1989 when he was invited by St Vincent’s Hospital founders, the Sisters of Charity, to join the finance committee of St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. At the time he was CFO of Alcoa Australia. Philip then became the Chairman of the first St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne (SVHM) Board when it was formed a short time later.

Philip recalls, “It was certainly an honour to be asked by the Sisters of Charity. They are such an extraordinary example of achievement, dedication and tenacity. They have made such a great contribution to the community, always staying true to their Mission to care for the sick and the poor.

“The early 1990s was an intense time because we were building the new public hospital, arranging finance, dealing with the banks and negotiating with the Government to enter into an agreement for St Vincent’s to provide medical services at a tertiary training hospital.”

About the time the hospital was finished in 1995, the Sisters of Charity decided to establish a national board to oversee their 17 health facilities. Philip spent the next seven years as Chairman of this board.

PHOTO: Philip Spry-Bailey with his grandsons Declan and Callum Blackburn. 

This strong connection to St Vincent’s has inspired Philip to be a loyal, long-time, generous supporter of two key St Vincent’s projects that are particularly close to his heart. Caritas Christi Palliative Care Services and the Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery (ACMD), Australia’s first collaborative, hospital-based biomedical engineering research centre.

When asked what attracted Philip to support the ACMD, he said there were two reasons; his interest in engineering (he is a graduate in engineering) and for having the good fortune to personally benefit from the wonders of two medical devices.

“It’s thanks to St Vincent’s and the doctors that I’m alive today. I’m a recipient of several remarkable devices, a pacemaker and an artificial sphincter. Devices that combine both engineering and medical science.

“The human body seems to be a constant conundrum, but we’re fortunate to have such skilled and dedicated people focused on solving the many problems. You can clearly see the great benefit you get when you combine engineering and medical technology – artificial limbs, what they’re doing with the brain – it’s a wonderful scientific world we’re living in. Researchers need our support now so they can help future generations.

“My great grandfather died at the age of 60 from heart failure. He probably would have lived a lot longer had he been fitted with a pacemaker. I’m now in my 90s. It’s because of medical research and development that people can live longer, spend precious time with their families and enjoy living,” Phillip said.

Philip Spry-Bailey and his family foundation, The Patricia Spry-Bailey Charitable Foundation, have generously given significant gifts to St Vincent’s Hospital, Caritas Christi Palliative Care Services and the ACMD.

Click here to find out more about the ACMD


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