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Top global thinker on health and economics to visit NZ

Top global thinker on health and economics to visit NZ

One of the world’s leading authorities on the operation of health systems during periods of economic austerity is coming to New Zealand to talk to some of this country’s most senior doctors.

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) has invited Professor Martin McKee from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to address a special conference being held in Wellington on 26 August to commemorate ASMS’ 25th birthday.

“We’re delighted to have Professor McKee with us to share the results of his research and thinking,” says ASMS Executive Director Ian Powell, today.

“He’s done some really ground-breaking analysis of health systems during times of transition, the relationships between health and economies, the health effects of austerity, and the challenges for public health. All of this is relevant for New Zealand as we grapple with our own ongoing challenges of financial constraint, entrenched hospital specialist shortages and effective workforce engagement.”

Professor McKee qualified in medicine in Northern Ireland, with subsequent training in internal medicine and public health. In addition to his position at the London School, he co-directs the European Centre on Health of Societies in Transition and is research director of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, a unique partnership of universities, national and regional governments, and international agencies.

He has published more than 740 scientific papers and 42 books, was an editor of the European Journal of Public Health for 15 years and is an editorial consultant to The Lancet. In 2005 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

Mr Powell says that while the 25th anniversary conference in August will provide opportunities to reflect on the ASMS’ beginnings and the gains made over the years, it will also have its feet firmly in the present and be looking for fresh insights and solutions to the challenges facing New Zealand’s health system.

“This is a debate New Zealand desperately needs to have but so far the leaders of our public health system are ducking this responsibility,” concluded Mr Powell.

The one-day event will be held at Te Papa, Wellington, and more details will be available soon on the ASMS website (


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