Dr Curtis Walker has been elected chair of New Zealand’s Medical Council, succeeding Mr Andrew Connolly who has been the Council’s chair since February 2014.

Walker, who currently works as a renal and general physician at MidCentral District Health Board, says he is driven by helping people in our community achieve better health outcomes.

“The focus Council has placed on cultural competence and cultural safety is essential as part of our role to work with the health sector to address inequities,” he said.

Announcing the appointment, the Council’s chief executive, Joan Simeon said Dr Walker would bring “a tremendous depth of knowledge and experience” to the role, which would be invaluable to the Council in its role of protecting public health and safety.

Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS),  was among those to welcome Walker to the role and he also thanked Connolly for his leadership of the Council.

“His dedication to the medical profession coupled with a common sense approach to resolving issues has made him a superb leader, and ASMS has enjoyed working with him,” says Powell.

The New Zealand Resident Doctors’ Association also praised Connolly for helping further the opportunities and interests of the workforce.

“We are equally thrilled to welcome Dr Curtis Walker to the role of chair,” says President Dr Courtney Brown.  “We have no doubt he will fill the size 20 shoes left by Mr Connolly without difficulty.  We are looking forward to a continuing high level of stakeholder engagement under his leadership and particularly addressing equity issues again with a firm focus on the care and protection of the public of New Zealand.”

Ms Susan Hughes QC was elected deputy chair.

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