Bundaberg born and bred, Les Hancock recently celebrated 20 years on the Board of Directors with the Friendlies.
In the past two decades Les said he had been involved in some significant changes to the medical field in the Bundaberg Region, and he was honoured to be in his position.
Les joined the Board of Directors for the Bundaberg Friendly Society Medical Institute in 1999 and became chairman of the Board in 2015.
He brought his considerable experience and knowledge across law, business and charitable activities.
During his time, Les said there were many highlights that came to mind, and the official launch of The Friendlies Foundation in 2016 and the introduction of the Cardiac Cath Lab were milestones he wouldn’t forget.
“The Friendlies Foundation was established more than three years ago, with a charitable intent,” Les said.
“And the advent of the cardiac services and the Cardiac Cath Lab with Doctor Andre Conradie – now that was a game changer for the direction of the hospital.”
Les said these, along with the changes to the Friendly Society Private Hospital’s Emergency Department and the new expansion of the hospital, gave the Bundaberg Region an advantage over other regions.
“The Friendlies is a unique organisation, contrary to what some may think, members of the Friendly Society started the hospital and it is not owned by another organisation,” he said.
“Every cent goes back to the hospital and back to the community, not to shareholders.
“The stakeholders are the medical professionals, the staff and the community. This is something I am very proud of.
“We control our destiny, we are nimble and react with the times.”
The current $32 million stage six expansion of The Friendlies will place it among the leading private hospitals in regional Australia.
Les said being part of the rapid growth of the Friendly Society Private Hospital in the last 20 years had been very rewarding.
“We have a very small board, but an effective board,” Les said.
“I was the legal advisor for the hospital operations for 20 years before, and I thought I knew the workings of the hospital, so I joined.
“Business in Bundaberg had always been good to me and I wanted to give back, and we do.
“We have developed a culture, and a great culture doesn’t come by accident; it takes strength from all the members.”
Les accepted his 20 years of service award from long-term board member Dawn Murdoch, whose father Bob Phillips retired handing his board position to Les 20 years ago.
“I would certainly like to see my time through to the next expansion of the hospital and continue on with the charitable work,” Les said.