Faculty Focus – Hawkes Bay

21 February 2021

Category: College and members


Building relationships between primary and secondary health care practitioners is a key focus for the Hawkes Bay Faculty – and if that happens in a socially convivial atmosphere then so much the better!

“Absolutely it’s more fun to build relationships in a relaxed manner with some nibbles and a few drinks,” laughs Faculty Chair Kerryn Lum. “And the benefits we have been experiencing professionally prove that if we can just talk to each other, most problems can be solved.

The Faculty began hosting social get-togethers a year or so ago, with members inviting secondary care specialists to come and join them to network and make friends.

“We have seen a huge improvement in relations with our secondary care colleagues,” says Kerryn. “We even have a Facebook group where GPs can ask questions and get the answers they need informally, without the need to arrange meetings and take up time.

“The need for information goes both ways too, with the surgeons recently using the Facebook page to ask our GPs what could be improved in a new referral form – that was a enormous step forward in dealing with frustrations and confusion for both GPs and hospital doctors   as now we have a system that works for us all.

“By meeting each other socially, any preconceptions are thrown out the window before people need to talk professionally. It’s so much nicer to know who the person is at the other end of the telephone line!”

While the Hawkes Bay Faculty is relatively small geographically speaking (runs from Wairoa in the North to Waipukurau in the South),  it is very active. The last AGM saw around 60 members show up, a bit of a record for any Faculty.

“We make a point of introducing any new Fellows at our AGM, so it was great to see so many people there to congratulate  them,” says Kerryn. “We held a dinner afterwards which Keriana Brooking, the new CEO of the Hawkes Bay DHB, attended, along with our secondary care friends. It was a lovely evening.”

The nine members of the Executive team are kept busy with key events such as the Hawkes Bay Primary Care Symposium, which not only caters for doctors  and practice nurses but also receptionists, admin staff, support workers, community pharmacists – anyone involved in primary care in any way.

Now in its third year, the symposium, which is run in partnership with the PHO, has proved to be very successful.

“The idea came about because the time and expense that went into arranging a talk or lecture for only five people to turn up just wasn’t justified,” explains Kerryn. “We thought that had to be a better way, and came up with a two-day event with talks, discussion forums and social opportunities that enabled people to tick their professional development and cultural competency boxes in a meaningful way.

“We ensure that it has very local flavour too, making it relevant for our members and their patients.”

Past speakers have included Heather Te Au-Skipworth, co-founder and CEO of IronMaori, the world’s only annual indigenous half-Ironman triathlon.

Unfortunately the symposium will not be taking place this year, due to the ongoing risk of COVID-19.

Another initiative the Faculty is rightly proud of is the Hawkes Bay Primary Care Awards, which recognises those who might fly under the radar of other recognition award organisations.

“We don’t have any prescribed nomination forms because we want to hear the stories about those special people, the ones who help others, drive initiatives or make a difference in some other way,” explains Kerryn. “We have recognised practice mangers, receptionists and care home workers in the past, although last year we didn’t give out individual awards as

we felt that every person involved in health care was a hero during the COVID-19 response and subsequent lockdown.”

The Executive aren’t resting on their laurels, however, with lots of ideas and plans for future events and initiatives, including a more formal mentoring system.

“I am very proud to be part of the Hawkes Bay Faculty,” says Kerryn. “We are a very good example of how the College works at a local level to benefit our members.