Dr. David Beaumont has spent many years working in the health system —
both in New Zealand and in the UK — and is calling for a shift in the system.
The delivery of healthcare is ripe for disruption. The health system is failing to
meet the needs of the population as medical services become more specialised,
more expensive and less sustainable. If the $4 trillion spent globally, each year,
on health and wellbeing is anything to go by, patients are looking for a more
whole-person and holistic approach to health.
Dr. Beaumont believes it is time for not just system change, but meta-system change, the
system beyond the system. Not only is the health system failing patients but
doctors are becoming increasingly burnt out.
A 2016 survey of senior New Zealand doctors found that nearly 50 percent were suffering one or more of the three symptoms of burnout: emotional exhaustion, cynicism or compassion fatigue, and doubt that one is making a difference. This finding can be seen
around the world.
Positive Medicine is an empowerment model which gives people the tools and a
framework to become the experts in their own health, and to see how all aspects
of their life are interlinked. Getting this right improves the quality of life and
‘We need to move into the prevention of disease,’ explains Dr. Beaumont. ‘In fact,
we need to go even further beyond prevention of disease, to the enhancement
of health. I propose that doctors provide the thought leadership for the
revolutionary change to Positive Medicine to deliver the positive health that
people are asking for.’
The current measure of health is based on the understanding that health is the
absence of disease, this is no longer adequate for the changing world and does
not serve the people, their whanau, or communities. Instead, Positive Medicine
is based on more forward-thinking and whole person definitions, especially,
“health is the ability to control our lives”. This is captured in the concept of the
Māori word Rangatiratanga.
Based on the Māori Model of Health, Te Whare Tapa Whā, Positive Medicine will
help people develop their own plan for life, health and happiness within the four
pillars of health: physical health, psychological health, whanau/family health
and spiritual health.
Positive Medicine gives practical advice and provides an accessible, challenging,
thought-provoking view of how medical practice needs to change to become
“My life journey had taken me through the recognition that something wasn’t
working with the model of medical practice I had been taught, having seen
thousands of patients who had been failed by the system.”
About Dr David Beaumont
Dr. David is a Consultant Occupational Physician and author. He trained and
practiced in the United Kingdom, before moving to general practice in New
Zealand. He went on to become a Consultant Occupational Physician, helping
people return to the workplace after a serious condition, injury or illness.
Dr. Beaumont resides in Cromwell and works as a specialist doctor in the
health of workers.
He has assessed and advised thousands of people who have
been ‘let down’ by healthcare systems and not returned to work, experiencing
years or a lifetime of disability. From stories his clients have shared with
him, and his own experience of ill health — including a heart attack, hip
replacements and depression — he came to realise that there needs to be a shift in emphasis to preventative health. He is focused on seeing people in the context of their whole lives.
Dr. Beaumont is launching a 6-month project, putting into practice his theories from the book. His concepts and the logical reasoning for why a radical shift in healthcare delivery is needed will be tested in this project, ‘The Cromwell Experiment.’