Dr Rachel Mackie is our new Board Apprentice

1 September 2021

Congratulations to Dr Rachel Mackie (Ngātiwai), who is the College’s new Board Apprentice. The appointment was announced by President Dr Samantha Murton at the College’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday 7 August 2021.

Dr Mackie is currently the Chair of Te Akoranga a Māui, the College’s Māori special representative group and works as a Clincal Project Lead at Waitematā DHB. “My most recent GP role was a part time one earlier this year for the Calder Centre at Auckland City Mission which is a great organisation with an awesome team,” she says.

She applied for the Board Apprentice role to gain an insight into how a highly functioning board works. Having recently taken on some governance roles both within and outside of the College she was interested to learn how to manage people’s expectations when hard decisions have to be made, and about the financial impacts and risks to be considered for all decisions.

“I’m also quite nosey and interested to learn about how different systems work within healthcare.

“Understanding how you get a consensus – especially when there are 5,500 GPs’ views to keep in mind was also of interest to me. I am really looking forward to seeing leadership in action.”

“I’d like to encourage others in Te Akoranga a Māui to put themselves forward for roles like the Board Apprentice. It’s a great way to develop and build on your skills, and looking ahead, we’ll need more Māori in leadership roles so we can contribute to, and advocate for positive changes and continue to reduce inequities in the health system.” 

Dr Mackie says this role will help to enhance what she does every day clinically and improve her quality of care for patients. She says in medical school you learn how to be a doctor, but not necessarily to see the bigger picture. 

“I think my time as the Board Apprentice will allow me to focus on what issues I see within the workforce, or coming through in my consultations, and how I should push for change.”

“I was really happy to hear from the previous Board Apprentice Nina Bevin after my appointment who told me how much she’d gotten out of the role, and how much I would too.”

In her role as a GP, Dr Mackie says there is a lot to love.

“I enjoy building relationships, working with people and being a part of their healthcare decisions, and I love that we can make an impact to the lives of our patients quickly. And I love seeing the milestones that people can achieve.

“I remember having a patient who was a heavy smoker, and it was affecting their health, despite what advice I was giving. But one day this patient came into the clinic specially to see me and to say that they had decided to quit smoking – and they did. It was such a milestone for both of us.”

Dr Mackie’s own GP when she was growing up in Hawke’s Bay, Dr Murray Wiggins, is one doctor who she admires. “He always made you feel at ease and was always running late as he spent so much time with each patient because he wanted to help everyone.”

Later, when she worked in Hawke’s Bay, Dr Mackie had the opportunity to work with Flaxmere GP Dr Sandra Jessop. “The dedication she shows to her work, and patients, is inspiring.”

When it comes to changes she’d like to see in the future, Dr Mackie says it’s the model of care and 15-minute appointments that needs to change. It is not sustainable in today’s environment when the complexity of what we see in primary care has increased.” 

“I think my time as the Board Apprentice will allow me to focus on what issues I see within the workforce, or coming through in my consultations, and how I should push for change.”

“In general practice we need to provide a more holistic model of care as focusing only on the physical aspect does not provide care to our whānau. We need to collaborate with other services to provide the support that some people in our community require.”

Dr Mackie says her colleagues in Te Akoranga a Māui are a great group of doctors to learn from and work alongside to support the College in their strategic plan.

“The passion they have for the community and their whānau to improve health outcomes is inspiring.”

“I’d like to encourage others in Te Akoranga a Māui to put themselves forward for roles like the Board Apprentice. It’s a great way to develop and build on your skills, and looking ahead, we’ll need more Māori in leadership roles so we can contribute to, and advocate for positive changes and continue to reduce inequities in the health system.”