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New Chair for NZMA

Thursday, 4 March, 2005

New Chair for NZMA

Auckland pathologist and physician Dr Ross Boswell is the new Chairman of the New Zealand Medical Association. He takes over from Dr Tricia Briscoe, who is standing down on April 5 at the end of her two year term.

Dr Boswell has been Deputy Chair for the past two years, and was unopposed in the election for Chairman.

He sees the issue of workforce as the most critical problem facing the New Zealand health system now and in the near future: “We have critical shortages of medical specialists in many disciplines including General Practice, of skilled nurses, and of allied health professionals. These shortages will become worse as concerns for patient safety and for professionals' wellbeing lead to the curtailment of the long hours of work previously accepted as normal.”

Dr Boswell graduated in the inaugural class from Auckland Medical School in 1974, trained in Christchurch as a registrar in pathology and medicine, and gained a PhD in molecular biology. He worked in the UK for five years at Cambridge and Southampton Universities, before returning in 1987 to the Christchurch School of Medicine where he was Professor of Pathology. He has worked as a chemical pathologist and physician at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital since 1996.

As an NZMA Board member and Deputy Chair, Dr Boswell took a particular interest in the New Zealand Medical Journal and in junior doctor issues. He is a member of the Government’s Doctors-in-Training Workforce Roundtable and of the Council of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia.

Dr Don Simmers, a Wellington GP, is the new NZMA Deputy Chair. He has been a Board member since 2002.

Dr Simmers has a strong interest in medical workforce issues, is a member of the Health Workforce Advisory Committee’s Medical Reference Group, and heads the NZMA’s Workforce sub-committee. He was responsible for the NZMA’s 2004 report, An Analysis of the New Zealand General Practitioner Workforce, which detailed an alarming decrease in GP numbers. He also has a particular interest in issues facing rural doctors, and in maternity services.


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