Dr Samantha Murton won the presidency of the Royal College of GPs by a clear margin from four other candidates in an election sparked by the resignation of longstanding president Dr Tim Malloy.
Malloy, who had been College president since 2012, resigned in August due to health issues.
Murton says she was delighted and humbled by the results, and was looking forward to representing members’ views, helping set strategic priorities for the College, and being the public representative of New Zealand’s GP workforce.
“Primary health care is growing in importance, particularly as New Zealand’s population grows and ages. I am convinced that expert general practice is pivotal to optimising care for our patients as it adapts to stay at the forefront of health care in New Zealand. We need to put some creative thought and energy into how we, as expert generalists, instigate and champion that change,” said Murton. The College is the largest medical college in the country with close to 5,000 members (approximately 90 percent of New Zealand’s GPs).
Murton has worked in general practice for more than 20 years leading a low-cost inner-city practice (without VLCA funding) staffed mostly by female GPs. Prior to that she was in surgical training and was an associate in plastic surgery at Hutt Valley DHB for 14 years. She has written and illustrated a book on office-based minor surgery.
She has been extensively involved in College activities since 2004 and was its inaugural medical director working with the College CEO and board and representing the College on various government working groups. For the last three years Dr Murton has been working both in practice and as a senior lecturer and trainee intern convenor at University of Otago, Wellington.
Murton ran against four other candidates: Dr Bryan Betty from Wellington, Dr Aniva Lawrence and Dr Chris Reid both from Northland, and Dr Mark Peterson from Hawkes Bay.
With 1,772 votes cast (38% of eligible voters), the election attracted the highest voter turnout since the College started online voting in 2013.