Behind the News

Bow-tiful farewell for Philippe

Mount Hospital's most colourful character, Philippe Binder, is hanging up the 'bow tie' after more than three decades helping patients with their meal selection and adding a touch of French flair to their day.

The 68-year-old - synonymous for wearing a bow tie and a rose on his lapel, along with his French accent - has been a fixture on the wards since the Healthscope-operated hospital first opened its doors in 1986.

Philippe has been coming to 150 Mounts Bay Road for work each day for even longer than that - he was originally employed as a maitre'd at the Riverside Lodge in 1973, before new owners took over, transformed the hotel into a hospital and offered him a new position.

In honour of his service, Mount Hospital's 700- strong team of doctors, nurses and administration staff will each don a bow tie and lapel rose on Thursday, 27 July.

Mount Hospital acting general manager and director of nursing, Claire Byers, said the team wanted to give Philippe the special send-off he deserved.

"Philippe has been a much loved presence in the hospital for over three decades and he will be missed by staff and patients," she said.

"He has a unique ability to brighten people's day and has certainly brought a touch of France to the Mount.

"He has also been responsible for introducing significant positive changes, including establishing the role of menu monitor.

"At the time, Mount was one of the first private hospitals in Western Australia to have a dedicated team member visit patients daily to discuss their dietary requirements, so he was integral in leading the way in that regard."

Philippe emigrated to Australia from France in 1972 as a fresh-faced 22-year-old and worked at the Sheraton in Perth, before landing a position at Riverside Lodge.

He said he embraced the opportunity to take the unusual step from hotel to hospital and had not looked back, covering a number of roles over three decades, including catering supervisor before becoming the menu monitor.

Two other staff members who transferred from the hotel to the hospital still work at the facility today.

"Working at the hospital was very different, of course, but I enjoyed talking to the patients," said Philippe.

"As a maitre'd I always wore a bow tie, so when I started at Mount I continued to do so, along with adding a rose.

"People really loved it and it got to the point where if I didn't wear them, they would ask where they were."

Philippe, an avid gardener, said he grew his own roses and, in his retirement, would spend more time tending to his beloved garden.

"I intend on spending time gardening, with my grandchildren, playing golf and bike riding, along with visiting my home country of France," he said.