2) On Sabbatical in New Zealand - MWF President Elect Dr Sally Davies tells us all...
I cannot believe how quickly my sabbatical period here in Auckland is passing, five weeks since I arrived and the prospect of returning to the UK approaching rapidly. The luxury of a sabbatical period away from the workplace is having time to read those articles and relevant documents that you would not get the opportunity to read in the busy clinical world. There is the added benefit of digital technology to keep up with rapidly occurring events at home and face-to-face contact with family and friends.
My activity is focussing on doctors' performance and health as well as the literature concerning women in medicine, or more importantly the lack of them in the higher echelons of health delivery and academia. My discussions with leaders in New Zealand confirm that similar issues exist elsewhere outside the NHS.
It is winter here and yes it is cold and raining. The occasional glorious sunny day provides the opportunity to see the North Island scenery at its very best. I am enjoying the different fish, vegetables and fruit available as well as becoming addicted to my "trim flat white" (a semi skimmed milky coffee) in the morning. The culture here is one of cooking from the basic seasonal ingredients and the availability of any ready meals is limited.
The inclusion of many Maori words and place names in everyday speech is a constant reminder of the history and multicultural nature of the community. It is something that I appreciate as a Welsh visitor.
Sport is a great part of the New Zealand culture. As a rugby fan it has been a revelation to be here during the rugby season and especially to find a rugby channel covering all internationals, regional games and even schoolboy rugby. It is no wonder that the All Blacks and other New Zealand international sports succeed.
Dr Sally Davies
MWF President Elect
Keep an eye out for the next instalment of Sally's a Sabbatical adventure...