3) On Sabbatical in New Zealand - MWF President Elect Dr Sally Davies tells us all...
The sun is shining on a clear crisp day here in Auckland. Daffodils are out and native plants are coming into bloom at the suggestion of early Spring. The citrus trees are laden and I love the novelty of picking a fresh juicy lemon straight off the tree. My taste buds have become accustomed to both the tamarillo and vegemite.
The last few weeks has been very busy, including meetings with the Medical Council of New Zealand, the Health and Disability commissioner and a trip to Sydney to speak at the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. There is great interest in New Zealand in the support provided for doctors especially as the requirements for annual recertification of all doctors are increased. The system of no fault compensation works and the consumers of health and social care have identified rights including the right to be treated with respect and to appropriate standards. There is great importance placed on the understanding of culture within health care.
My leisure time has been filled with long walks on the glorious beaches of the North Island, some wine tasting and generally participating in the uniquely relaxed outdoor lifestyle of New Zealand. The earthquake in Wellington has been a sobering reminder to everyone of the experience in Christchurch. It is remarkable to see a community pull together in such adversity.
Now as my sabbatical period draws to an end, I can recommend the value of spending time in another health care system and taking time to value our own NHS and the common challenges faced. I am really looking forward to seeing whanau (Maori word for family) and catching up with all the gossip.
Dr Sally Davies
MWF President Elect