Graeme Loy is leading Western Sydney Local Health District towards creating the Westmead Precinct as a global destination and one of the leading ‘go to’ precincts in the world – think here of the reputation of the Mayo Clinic.

Graeme has, over the past 12 years, successfully led private and public organisations. He has a reputation for his affinity to create a narrative people can understand and through people engagement, deliver complex healthcare services – at large scale.

Graeme was appointed CEO, WSLHD in December 2018 through a talent search conducted by Paul Ingle and myself. The search was global. The competition impressive. I caught up with Graeme this week. We discussed how he communicates complex ideas to his workforce, the aspects of his role in WSLHD that are unique, what he looks for in building a leadership team and what’s not negotiable.

KH: You have an affinity for leading the implementation of very complex and large scale healthcare services. As a leader, how do you create a narrative that people understand?

GL: I try to make the conversation about the patient. So, I like to focus on key strategies – short and clear and try not to overload people with too much detail. I then link the strategies to the patient. Examples of key strategies might be the creation of the Westmead Precinct or at the LHD level, A Healthy LHD Culture. It is also important that we ask staff look after ourselves in order to better provide services to patients.

KH: What two values are sacrosanct to you?

GL:

  1. “What if it was your Mum?” If it was your mum, then you would be setting high expectations and levels of care. You would be proud of the care that was provided 
  2. It is incumbent on me to role model behaviours and standards. How could I expect others to follow if I cannot set high standards? Organisations are led from the front. It is about integrity.

KH: What aspects of being CEO Western Sydney Local Health District are uniquely complex to the role and the organisation?  

GL: The Precinct at Westmead is a unique opportunity to bring health, research and education together. It is not just a health facility. It is the combination that will deliver the highest standards of care and be a “global destination”. I want The Precinct to be considered one of the leading “go to” places in the world. I want people when they think of places like the Mayo Clinic to think also of the Westmead Precinct.


“I want The Precinct to be considered one of the leading “go to” places in the world.”


Western Sydney LHD is linked to the growth of Sydney. There is significant Government and private investment. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create and be in front of the wave and provide a cohesive and coordinated range of services for the people of Western Sydney.

KH: What is not negotiable for you as a CEO? 

GL: In a word – Culture. We must communicate with each other. We need to be clear about what we expect of each other. I want an environment where people enjoy coming to work and how we relate to each other with the patient as the central focus.

KH: What three essential leadership skills or attributes do you look for in leaders?

GL: 

  1. Approachability – it is critical that leaders are not or do not isolate themselves 
  2. Work cohesively with peers – no silos; no egos. It is a team effort and we are only successful if all succeed 
  3. Visibility – you have to be out and about. You have to take the opportunity to connect with people. I work in the cafeteria one day a week and anyone can come and talk to me. Just being in public spaces gives you good indicators of the environment, the energy, the “vibe”.