2019 Patient Experience Symposium


The Agency for Clinical Innovation, Clinical Excellence Commission, Bureau of Health Information, Cancer Institute NSW, Health Education & Training Institute, eHealth NSW, Healthshare, System Purchasing Branch and NSW Health Pathology are pleased to include the following Plenary Speakers at the 2019 Patient Experience Symposium.



Luke Escombe is an award-winning songwriter, musician and comedian who has turned his 25 years of living with Crohn’s disease into inspiration for his art.

Luke’s breakthrough as a writer/performer came in 2011 with his one-man show “Chronic”, which combined multiple music styles with candid stand-up comedy about his many hospital stays. It was Luke’s ticket to festivals all over Australia, and led to him becoming an ambassador for Crohn’s and Colitis Australia.

The follow-up to “Chronic” was a show called “The Vegetable Plot”, which premiered at the 2014 Sydney Fringe. After years of speaking about illness, The Vegetable Plot was Luke's way of making a fresh start - a roots music show for kids, families, and foodies with an emphasis on having fun and being healthy. It won the award for the Best Kid’s show at the festival and has since played at major events all around the country, including at the Sydney Opera House and Splendour in the Grass.

Luke has spoken for three years in a row at Parliament House in Canberra, as well as at the New Zealand National Museum in Wellington, the 2012 and 2014 National Medicines Symposiums, the 2013 Pharmacy Australia Congress, and at conferences, workshops, support groups, Medicare Locals and training seminars across the country. 2017 saw him crossing the Pacific for the first time, speaking at events in Chicago and Miami and receiving standing ovations at both. His work was recognised at the end of the year by WEGO Health, who named him as the winner of their 2017 “Hilarious Patient Leader” award.

He was once described by John Shand in the Sydney Morning Herald as a “rock-soul singer, raconteur, blistering blues guitarist, comedian and songwriter...and very good at them all”, and is most often described by himself as the Mick Jagger of inflammatory bowel disease.
After successfully MC'ing the 2018 Patient Experience Symposium at the Hilton Hotel Sydney, Luke Escombes has been invited back to host the 2019 Patient Experience Symposium and looks forward to welcoming us all to the ICC Sydney soon!




In 2015 Darren Compton and Jacqui Cornforth founded Muggera Dancers, a family group who prides itself on its cultural knowledge and professionalism.

The members for Muggera come from a long line of cultural leaders, song men, world-class dancers and didgeridoo players with a formidable respect for culture.

All members of Muggera have been performing and sharing their culture for many years and have been guided by their Elders over many decades.

Muggera has ongoing support from community and family Elders, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities to share culture, establish the Muggera Dance group and set a new standard for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural performance and engagement in Australia.


Brad Hazzard is a senior Minister in the NSW Government and in 2017 was appointed as Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research.

He oversees record investment in Health infrastructure and services which has resulted in a hospital building boom across the state and the funding of thousands of new frontline positions.

NSW also has a robust and innovative medical research knowledge economy which the NSW Government seeks to encourage and expand.

Brad started his professional life as a graduate science teacher at North Sydney Boys’ High School. He later studied law at the University of NSW and was admitted as a solicitor in 1977. He also holds a Master of Laws from the University of Sydney.

He entered Parliament in 1991 as the State Member for Wakehurst, on Sydney’s northern beaches.

Brad has previously served as Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister for Social Housing, Attorney General and Minister for Justice and as Minister for Planning and Infrastructure as a Leader of the Legislative Assembly.



Victor was born and raised in the Ryde area. He went to school at Marist Brothers Eastwood before studying law. He was a partner in a commercial law firm, where he represented clients in a number of landmark cases.

Victor was elected as Member for Ryde at a by-election in October 2008. He was re-elected at the 2011 state election.

In April 2011 he was sworn in as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Minister for Citizenship and Communities. His portfolio responsibilities included multicultural affairs, veterans’ affairs, volunteering and youth.

Following the Liberals & Nationals Government’s re-election in March 2015, Victor was sworn in as the state’s first Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation.

In this role Victor was responsible for the Office of Fair Trading, the State Insurance Regulatory Authority, Safework NSW and DFSI’s Services & Digital Innovation Division.

Victor oversaw a number of reforms including the establishment of a NSW Data Analytics Centre as well as changes to strata title laws, real estate underquoting laws and the use of sunset clauses in off-the-plan property contracts.

He also led the Social Innovation Council, a partnership between NSW Government agencies and NGO leaders, established to drive sectoral reform in human service delivery.

In January 2017, Victor was appointed Minister for Finance, Services and Property and has responsibility for Service NSW, Property NSW, the State Insurance Regulatory Authority, Revenue NSW and more.

His portfolio achievements included reforms to the CTP Green Slip scheme, the rollout of additional Service NSW Centres in regional areas, launch of the real-time FuelCheck app, the Toll Relief program, and the NSW Digital Strategy.

Following the Liberals & Nationals Government’s re-election in March 2019, Victor was sworn in as the state’s first Minister for Customer Service.

Prior to his parliamentary career, Victor cherished the opportunity to travel to many places around the world and looks back fondly on his experiences in India, Central and South America, Europe, the US and Asia.He is also a passionate supporter of West Tigers rugby league team.

Victor completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course in 2017.



Elizabeth has held a number of Senior Executive roles within the NSW health system, across operational and policy portfolios.

Elizabeth was appointed Secretary, NSW Health in 2016. As Secretary, Elizabeth is responsible for the management of the NSW health system and setting strategic direction to ensure NSW continues to provide exceptional healthcare, research and education.

Elizabeth is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology Sydney, and a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).



Professor Brian McCaughan is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Sydney and cardiothoracic surgeon at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. 

Brian's major clinical interest is the management of lung cancer. He has held a number of positions with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and was President of the NSW Medical Board for five years.



Susan is the Deputy Secretary of the System Purchasing and Performance Division at the Ministry of Health.She is responsible for front-end system management across NSW and acts as the interface between the Ministry, local health districts, specialty health networks, and health organisations to support and monitor overall system performance.

Susan started her career as a registered nurse across rural, remote, and metropolitan areas of NSW.She has held a number of senior executive positions in NSW Health including Director of Operations at Northern Sydney Local Health District and the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer at the Ministry of Health.She has managed large portfolios, including:acute health services, mental health, public health and health promotion, workforce, clinical training and education, and Aboriginal health.

Susan’s commitment to drive change in the public health system makes a positive difference to patients’ health outcomes and care.



Wayne started in health over 30 years ago undertaking his generalist nursing training. For the next 10 years Wayne obtained multiple post graduate nursing qualifications in areas including Intensive Care and Cardiology and he has also obtained graduate qualification in Health Management.

Wayne then progressed into a variety of nursing management roles and eventually came up to the Northern Rivers as the Executive Officer of Lismore Base Hospital. Prior to his appointment as Chief Executive Wayne has held a variety of roles in the North Coast including Manager of Planning, Director of Clinical Streams and Chief of Staff prior to his appointment as Chief Executive Northern NSW Local Health District.



Dr Diane Watson is the Chief Executive of the Bureau of Health Information. She has led the establishment of three reporting agencies in Australia that use big data to drive decisions on healthcare provision nationally and locally.

Prior to joining BHI, Dr Watson was the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Agency for Health Information, established in 2016 to monitor and report on public and private services that stimulate quality and safety improvements, increase transparency and accountability, and inform the community. She was also the inaugural Chief Executive of the National Health Performance Authority, established by the Australian Government to monitor, and report on, the performance of 1000+ public and private hospitals and 300+ health regions.

Dr Watson was the inaugural Chief Executive of the Bureau of Health Information from 2009 to 2012. She has held senior management positions for almost 20 years measuring, monitoring and reporting on the performance of healthcare systems to drive improvements in health, care and productivity. During this time, she has set the future direction of high profile, board governed agencies and inspired a strong sense of purpose among a highly talented and specialised workforce.




Helen Sanderson was originally an Occupational Therapist, and has worked in health and social care for over 30 years. She has led the development of person-centred thinking and planning in the UK over the last twenty years. Helen was the Department of Health’s expert advisor on person-centred approaches for 10 years. She co-authored the first Department of Health Guidance on Person-Centred Planning, and the 2010 guidance ‘Personalisation through Person-Centred Planning’. Her PhD is on person-centred planning and organisational change and she has written over 20 books on person-centred thinking, planning and personalisation.

Helen leads the international social enterprise, Helen Sanderson Associates (H.S.A), working internationally to embed person-centred practices in the heart of organisations and communities - creating better lives together. H S A developed one-page profiles, person-centred reviews and Working Together for Change. They led the development of personalised care and supported planning in individual budgets in the UK. In 2016 H S A started working towards becoming a ‘teal’ organisation. This meant working as a self-managed team, bringing your whole self to work and seeing their purpose as evolving. Helen is a certified Holacray Practitioner, a process used in self-management.

Helen’s purpose is to demonstrate new ways of working, where the wellbeing of people and colleagues’ matter, in ways where communities benefit. This has to start with compassion, for ourselves, each other and together in communities. Two years ago Helen founded a new organisation called Wellbeing Teams, to demonstrate how a provider can use person-centred practices in supporting people to live well at home. Wellbeing Teams are self-managed neighbourhood teams inspired by Buurtzorg.

She is one of 50 New Radicals in the UK, and has won multiple awards for innovation in health and care and value-based recruitment. Helen is a TedX speaker, on self-managing teams, the inside story.



Ken Hillman is Professor of Intensive Care and Foundation Director of the Simpson Centre for Health Services Research at the SWS Clinical School, University of New South Wales which is affiliated with the Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research.

He is an actively practising clinician in Intensive Care at Liverpool and Campbelltown Hospitals. He graduated from Sydney University and trained at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney and St. Bartholomew’s hospital in London. He was the first candidate to pass the Australian intensive care examination in 1980 following which he became the Director of Intensive Care at Charing Cross Hospital in London before returning to Australia to become Director of Anaesthetics, Intensive Care and Coronary Care at Liverpool Hospital in Sydney.

He has over 185 peer-reviewed publications; 65 chapters in textbooks; co-authored an intensive care textbook; co-edited several textbooks; and written two books – Vital Signs and A Good Life to the End.He has been awarded over $24 million in grants, has been an examiner for 12 years in intensive care and has held many professional positions related to health.

He is internationally recognised as a pioneer in the introduction of the Medical Emergency Team and is part of the Executive of the International Rapid Response Society.He has published extensively on the care of the elderly frail at the end-of-life and has a NHMRC Program grant to continue research in this area. In 2016 he was an invited presenter at TEDx which was held at the Sydney Opera House.

Ken's research now concentrates on Health Services Research, especially in relation to the potential inappropriate health management of the elderly frail.He is also the recipient of the Order of Australia for his work.



Emma Gee is an acclaimed International Inspirational Speaker & Author, offering her thoughts and solutions on person-centred care and resilience through her keynote presentations, workshops and consultancy.

With a background in Occupational Therapy and as a Stroke Survivor, Emma is a renowned expert and a living example of what it takes to step in another’s shoes and truly bounce back in life.

Through her inspiring presentations, Emma is able to both captivate and challenge her audiences to consider what IS possible in their own lives. Learning to speak again post-stroke, and realising the importance of sharing her story to help others, were the catalysts for Emma taking on speaking professionally.

Today, and thousands of presentations later, Emma as an Inspirational Speaker has incredibly broad client group: from healthcare (associations, hospitals and rehabilitation facilities); businesses & corporate events; community organisations; through to educational facilities. She has also just published her first book entitled Reinventing Emma.

Emma is passionate about enhancing person-centred service delivery and resilience in the lives of all she works with and promises to leave her audiences inspired to bounce back and step up.

Emma Gee’s signature phrase is “that it’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s how you choose to deal with it!” will see her audiences moving past life’s hurdles to what’s possible.



Don is the Founding CEO of The Malpa Project which delivers innovative projects across Australia to assist Indigenous communities take control of their health futures.

As an academic Don has trained some of Australia’s foremost journalists and as an adjunct professor trained Indigenous business students from across Australia. He served on the NSW Clinical Excellence Advisory Board.

Don is a documentary film producer and journalist with programs aired on the ABC, SBS, NITV, BBC and commercial networks. He was awarded a United Nations Media Peace Prize and served on the ABC Advisory Board.

He is a Winston Churchill Fellow and has been adopted into the Warlpiri and Pintupi people of Central Australia.



Dr. Jordan Nguyen is a young man on a mission to change the world. He is an acclaimed thought leader on the intersection between technology and humanity.

At a moment of the most extraordinary breakthroughs in our understanding of the human brain, Jordan has a magical combination of technical brilliance with the unique ability to inspire people.

A truly inspirational communicator, Jordan presents on technology and the power of the mind at prestigious events internationally including Think Inc., Wired for Wonder, and the Engineering for Medicine and Biology Conference – the world’s largest annual biomedical conference.

Upon completing his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Technology Sydney, Jordan was accepted into the prestigious UTS Chancellor’s List. Now his mission is to improve the lives of as many people as possible. As founder of Psykinetic he designs life-changing technologies focusing on intelligent, futuristic and inclusive technology.

Drawing on his experience of almost breaking his own neck, Jordan developed a mind-controlled smart wheelchair for people with high-level physical disability.

A hot topic of discussion in the media, Jordan’s amazing work has been featured in a range of TV, radio, magazine and newspaper interviews, including ABC’s Catalyst and Channel TEN’s The Project.

Jordan is a NSW State Finalist for Australian of the Year 2017.

As a speaker Jordan has the ability to translate highly technical concepts and future trends into clear and concise content, relevant to any organisation looking to proactively embrace and adapt to technological change. His recent documentary, 'Becoming Superhuman' won the 2017 Eureka Prize for Science Journalism, adding to the list of numerous awards it has achieved so far:

*Winner ATOM Award Best Factual Television Series Australia 2016
*Winner ROCKIE Award Best Science and Technology, BANFF
*World Media Festival, Canada 2017
*Winner Gold award for NSW ACS awards Australia 2016
*Winner Best Documentary Picture This International Disability
*Film Festival, Canada. 2016
*Winner Gold REMI Award 50th Annual International Independent
*Film Festival, WorldFest, USA. 2016
*Finalist Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Eureka
*Prize for Science Journalism
*Official Selection SUPER GEEK Film Festival Florida Supercon USA
*Official Selection SCINEMA International Science Festival, Australia
*Official Selection ASSIM VIVEMOS International Disability Film Festival, Brazil
*NSW State Finalist for Australian of the Year