Taupō doctor appointed as Clinical Director Rural Health

The New Zealand Rural General Practice Network is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Jeremy Webber to the new role of Clinical Director Rural Health.

The Clinical Director Rural Health (CDRH) will make a significant contribution to ensuring the rural voice is incorporated into the implementation phase of the Health Reforms recently announced.

Health Minister Andrew Little said, when opening the recent National Rural Health Conference in Taupō, that the opportunities for addressing the challenges rural New Zealand faces in accessing health services lie in the significant consultation that will be needed to develop the detail of the reforms.

Jeremy’s role will be critical to rural General Practice having input into these discussions.

The CDRH role is being supported by a group of PHOs who represent most rural general practices throughout New Zealand, and who are contributing significant funding to make this new position a reality.

In this position, Jeremy will bring his extensive clinical experience in rural health, systems knowledge, and expertise to support the Network’s strategic advocacy work.

Jeremy’s first task will be to set up forums with rural general practices so that ideas can be collated, developed, and tested before conveying these to the Transition Unit for consideration in the design of the new reforms.

Through involvement with rural providers and communities, Jeremy will provide rural leadership to Government’s policy developments and ensure that a rural voice is clearly heard and articulated by decision makers.

His work will include an explicit focus on the treaty commitment to Maori health as well as health equity for Māori and Pasifika. It will involve engaging with key stakeholders including rural healthcare providers, DHBs, Iwi groups, Primary Health Organisations, Alliance Leadership teams and rural communities.

Jeremy says he is looking forward to the impact he can make in this position during a period of significant change across the health sector.

“The CDRH role is an exciting appointment at an opportune time where the rural voice needs prominence and strength in the reshaping of health services in Aotearoa.”

“I am conscious of the calibre of all those involved in rural health delivery and look forward to listening and learning from their wisdom and working with them to achieve equitable health outcomes for rural communities.”

Jeremy is currently a Rural Hospital Medicine Specialist in Taupō Hospital where he has worked since 2016. His role involves working in the Emergency Department, the general inpatient unit, and in weekly rural clinics, often as a solo practitioner.

He is a passionate rural health professional, and this is reflected in his wide range of clinical experience in rural general practice, hospitals and emergency in Australia and New Zealand.

In Australia, Jeremy worked as a locum GP in Alice Springs, and as a rural GP for an Aboriginal Health Service for over three years.

Jeremy is enthusiastic about the education and training of rural medicine and is currently the Chair of the Division of Rural Hospital Medicine Board of Studies and is a Rural Clinical Educator at Auckland University

As a member of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, Jeremy is also involved in training of Registrars and implementing rural medicine practice nationally.

Network Board Chair Dr Fiona Bolden says, “Jeremy brings a wealth of experience with him across the spectrum of rural health services. He has been active in the rural health space in New Zealand for many years and has also shown his ability and interest in rural research and education during this time.”

“Rural general practice and rural hospitals need a champion at this time of change, someone who can communicate with those in the sector and can bring together the available research and data to help support a robust plan for rural health. I believe that with the support of all of us Jeremy will be very well placed to do that.”