The College’s National Advisory Council (NAC) has a new Chair, Dr Stephan Lombard, owner of Cook Street Health Centre in Palmerston North and a GP with over 30 years’ experience.
The NAC is made up of a member from each Chapter, Faculty, and Te Akoranga a Māui. The NAC meets quarterly to kōrero local and national member issues, with significant concerns taken to the College Board for their consideration. The Board may request NAC to canvas their local members to provide input to specific matters under consideration.
As Chair of the Council, Stephan will become an ex-officio member of the Board, a role he says he looks forward to sinking his teeth into.
“I’m just passionate about medicine – always have been – I wouldn’t do anything else.”
On a personal note, Stephan says he is also passionate about sport and has found the perfect way of combining the two.
“I’ve been team doctor for the Manawatū Turbos and New Zealand’s under 21 hockey team on one of their trips to India, so I’ve made it possible to combine two things I love which has been a great privilege.”
In terms of what he would like to achieve in his new role as Chair of the NAC, Stephan says there are a few key principles he operates by.
“I think healthcare is all about relationships – there are many forces that would pull us all apart, but I think we have to do our best to operate as a united front.
“We’re all working really hard. I believe most people in our field get up every morning and want to do the best job they can, so leaders need to try and remove the obstacles that prevent that from happening.
“In this governance role I plan to lead by example just as I do at my practice – myself and my team of four fellow GPs, two nurse practitioners and four nurses all work together, actively listening and supporting each other, because we know that’s the best way to withstand the pressures and demands of primary care.”
Chatting on the phone after his appointment, the father of three is wrapping up a long overdue holiday in Queenstown which he says has involved lots of good wine and food, reading, and time outdoors, before he heads back to Palmerston North and gets stuck into his new role.
“I want to help to grow leaders, and really walk the talk when it comes to equity – not exactly sure how we’ll achieve that, but we have to work together to figure it out.”