DR BLOOMFIELD, a 1991 medical graduate with a master of public health, has lived in Wellington for most of the past 20 years. He is married to an Auckland Medical School classmate, Libby; they have three children, one at university and two at secondary school.
He says he wasn’t confident of selection against the 26 other applicants to head the ministry. He had missed out on jobs in the past but had long thought that, “if the opportunity came up, I would see where I was at”.
That opportunity arose with the resignation last December of Chai Chuah, two years before his contract would have expired.
Dr Bloomfield, meanwhile, was about to start as acting chief executive at Capital & Coast DHB on secondment from the top job at Hutt Valley DHB. He “absolutely loved” his job.
Earlier in the year, he had undertaken additional training in strategic leadership at Oxford University. He threw his hat in the ring, the commission got enthusiastic endorsements from his referees and the job was announced as his in May.
What Dr Bloomfield is confident about is the “suite of experience” he brings to the job. It comes from being “a lifer in health”, as he puts it. (See “Bloomfield in brief”, this page.)
Speaking in his first media interview since starting in the job on 8 June, he says he has followed on from Stephen McKernan – who acted in the role for four months – in shifting the way the ministry was relating to the sector.
In describing his expectation of “how we are going to work with the sector...in every interaction we have”, Dr Bloomfield’s key word is “respectful”.
The leadership is “not about command and control, but convene and collaborate”, he says.
“The ministry has got a critical role in convening people to help achieve outcomes, solve problems and progress the sector. And that, for me, summarises it, and I have been able to make that really clear to staff.”
On health care homes and similar new approaches: It wouldn’t be of any value whatsoever, if it wasn’t changing the way practices feel about their ability to deliver services to their population