Martin Chadwick has been announced as the country’s first Chief Allied Health Professions Officer in a move he believes is not only good for allied health but health care in general.
In February Chadwick will join fellow newly appointed Chief Nursing Officer Margareth Broodkoorn and Chief Medical Officer Dr Andrew Simpson in the new ‘Clinical Cluster’ created by as part of a restructuring of the ministry 2nd tier management carried out by Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield that came into effect in October. He is currently executive director of allied health scientific and technical at Bay of Plenty DHB.
His appointment has “thrilled and delighted” the chair of Allied Health Aotearoa New Zealand (AHANZ) Jennifer Pelvin. She said Chadwick had been a regular contributor to AHANZ, an umbrella group for about 28 allied health, science and technical professional associations working in the New Zealand health sector, and would be a popular choice within the allied health community.
Chadwick said the new role would give the smaller health professions a voice. “But probably the most exciting thing is that it allows us to have a joined-up conversation about what are the best models of care for delivering health services.”
“Because I don’t think doctors on their own, nurses on their own or allied health on their own have got the solutions. But together we do. And that’s just what excites the daylights out of me with this role and the team that they are pulling together.”
He said he was looking forward very much to working with Broodkoorn and Simpson and was also very positive about the new tone and culture being set at the Ministry under Ashley Bloomfield. “This is a completely new direction – it’s very, very exciting to be involved at this time.”
Chadwick trained as a physiotherapist at Otago Polytechnic and later moved to the US where he was based for 11 years, gaining a master’s degree in health sciences and becoming a clinical specialist before moving into management roles. He retains his physiotherapy annual practising certificate but stresses his role is for the 40 or more diverse allied health professions.
“You can argue how can one person represent up to 50 [allied health professions] groups but I think it’s the same thing as within the medical profession – you graduate as a doctor but you can go in one of a myriad of directions but still can say you are a doctor.”
Chadwick has been allied health executive director at Bay of Plenty DHB for two years and before that spent six years as Counties Manukau DHB’s director of allied health. He is the current chair of the National Directors of Allied Health group and recently successfully completed his doctorate in health sciences, examining workforce change, and will be presented with his doctorate at the end of this year.
Bloomfield has said the new Clinical Cluster, with a combined staff of about 11, will be responsible for contributing strategically to understanding how services can be better planned and delivered including “identifying and promoting innovations at a national level, providing oversight and direction on clinical and professional issues across the sector, and supporting the response to current and future workforce demand”.