11 May 2009

Hawkes Bay specialist general practitioner Dr Peter Foley has been re-elected as Chairman of the New Zealand Medical Association for a second term.

Dr Foley has vast experience in medical politics, having been the chair of the General Practioner Council, and then the General Practice Leaders Forum, before being first elected to the overall chairmanship of the NZMA in 2007.

Dr Foley, a third generation Hawkes Bay doctor, graduated in medicine from Otago University in 1981. He has practised as a GP in Hawkes Bay for over 25 years.

In an historic “first” the NZMA will retain the same leadership for the next two years, with Dr Paul Ockleford, a senior Auckland pathologist, also being returned as Deputy Chair.

Dr Foley says: “While this is a challenging commitment, I would see it as potentially of great benefit to have stable leadership, with a new Government that is committed to real engagement and encouragement for greater clinically driven leadership. I look forward to making an even greater contribution to the wellbeing of our health system for both our patients and the members of my dedicated profession.”

“The NZMA’s priorites will continue to see us advocate for urgent and effective solutions to the crisis in the medical workforce, the viability of general practice, a healthy balance between private and publicly funded services, and policies that mutually enhance the medical profession and the health of all New Zealanders.”

“Our advocacy on workforce issues has contributed to greater recognition of the need to train and retain more medical practitioners.”

Dr Foley is also committed to achieving strong sector unity and a higher profile for the medical profession. “We need a resurrection of professional collegiality.”

“I am keen to continue the progress being made to strengthen cohesion across the sector, hospital and non-hospital specialist, general practice, and our doctors-in-training. Cohesion gives the medical profession a stronger voice, and one which is increasingly being heard when advocating on behalf of doctors and their patients.”

“I am looking forward to continuing the challenge of representing all NZMA members and making progress on issues which affect our members and their patients.”

Dr Jonathon Fox, the current President of the College of the New Zealand General Practitioners has also been elected to the NZMA Board, and Dr Andrew Old, a public health specialist from Waitemata, has been returned to the NZMA Board.