July 09, 2013
Fresh thinking wins leadership award
Kaitaia general practitioner Lance O’Sullivan says becoming one of this year’s Sir Peter Blake leadership award winners is a shot in the arm for his attempts to reform Māori health delivery.
Dr O’Sullivan was singled out for his attempts to address child poverty and improve the health and wellbeing of whānau in Northland through the establishment of school based child health clinics, a comprehensive rheumatic fever programme and his GP clinic at Kaitaia hospital.
He has also advocated home insulation and healthy lifestyle programmes and trained students in responsive primary and community health care.
He says the health system has been failing Māori for decades.
"I'm trying to approach medicine and the delivery of health care for our people in a different way and I wouldn't say is vastly different but there are aspects of the way I work that are different and I think they improve outcomes for our people in particular. If we don't do things differently we are going to get the same results and that is a great definition of insanity, doing the same old thing and expecting something to be different," he says.
Dr O’Sullivan says challenging the norm has won him some knockers, but change doesn’t happen by sitting on the fence.
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