Christchurch GP Graham McGeoch says Ms Gullery’s resignation was a sad day for the Canterbury health system. It’s also sad for him personally, as she has been his boss in his role as clinical advisor to the DHB’s planning and funding division.
“I don’t think many people appreciate the depth and breadth of her influence over the Canterbury health system, and probably to a degree the New Zealand health system as well,” says Dr McGeoch.
He says in 1993, during her time at the Southern RHA, she negotiated the first budget-holding contract with the then independent practitioner association Pegasus.
She later moved to Pegasus, where she helped set up the acute demand programme in 1999-2000 and was then founding chief executive for Partnership Health PHO. In 2007, she joined the DHB as planning and funding general manager and started work on Canterbury’s integrated health agenda, says Dr McGeoch.
“She’s been extremely good at setting the vision and direction, but then has let clinicians and others get on and implement it.”
Dr McGeoch says this has resulted in Canterbury general practice over the past decade being funded to deliver a range of devolved hospital services including spirometry, sleep studies, as well as acute care demand.
He believes Canterbury GPs and general practice owners have benefited from her work and she will be missed.
“She’s grown a number of good people over the years but we’re still going to miss her.”