Te Whatu Ora is pleased to announce that all interim members of our National Clinical Leadership Team have now been appointed.

“Last month I announced the appointments of Dr Nick Baker as Interim National Chief Medical Officer, Sue Waters as Interim National Chief Allied Health, Scientific and Technical and Deb Pittam as Interim National Chief Midwife,” Chief Clinical Officer Richard Sullivan said.

“I’m delighted that today I can confirm Emma Hickson has also been appointed to the role as National Chief Nursing Officer.

“Each of the appointees bring a wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience to the team.  I’m very thankful for them stepping into the interim roles and I’m looking forward to working very closely with them.

“Te Whatu Ora is Aotearoa New Zealand’s single largest employer and employs the majority of clinically qualified individuals in the health sector.  Strong clinical leadership is integral to our mission to deliver the highest standard of healthcare to all New Zealanders,” Richard Sullivan said.

The National Clinical Leadership team is responsible for embedding a distributive, multidisciplinary clinical leadership model across Te Whatu Ora. This includes the professional leadership of approximately 50,000 employed clinical staff and clinical governance - including clinical quality and safety - of services provided to patients and whānau across both the organisation and the wider funded Health sector.  

The team will work with our delivery and enabling business groups to ensure the provision of clinical leadership in partnership with business group leaders at local, regional and national levels and the leadership of clinical networks.

National Chief Nursing Officer - Emma Hickson

Head and shoulders photo of Emma Hickson Head and shoulders photo of Emma Hickson

Emma is a registered Nurse, was a registered midwife, with experience in primary, community and hospital health services. Emma has worked extensively overseas, with the last twenty-two years living and working in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Emma has worked in nursing leadership roles, in operational management, nursing education and research, for hospital and community services. Emma has been Director of Nursing for Primary and Community services and District Chief Nurse, working in executive and commissioning teams. Emma has more recently worked in Manatū Hauora as a Clinical Chief Advisor, supporting the response to COVID-19, and in Te Whatu Ora, assisting implementation of Pae Ora through contributing to the development and early implementation of Te Pae Tata through the Early Action Programme.

Emma has been involved in professional advisory and clinical leadership roles since working in Aotearoa. She is based in Te Whanganui a Tara and has greatly valued the opportunities that Te Whatu Ora has enabled in working in partnership with Te Aka Whai Ora and other partners in health in up and down the motu.

Interim National Chief Allied Health, Scientific and Technical - Sue Waters

Head and shoulders photo of Sue Waters Head and shoulders photo of Sue Waters

Sue is a registered Physiotherapist, with a broad range of clinical experience in primary care, acute and tertiary services in the public and private health sector through her career working in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.

In the UK, Sue held senior management and executive leadership positions in various National Health Service trusts and worked extensively with Primary Care commissioning groups and NHS trusts to develop and implement Allied Health-led models of care across South East London to increase access to services and improve outcomes for patients.

In 2012, Sue was appointed Chief Health Professions Officer at Auckland District Health Board and in the last two years has undertaken a co-leadership role with Te Aka Whai Ora as the national Te Whatu Ora lead for the Allied Health Scientific and Technical Workforce Group. She is the Chair of the National Directors of Allied Health Group for Te Whatu Ora, a role she has held for many years.

Interim National Chief Midwife - Deb Pittam

Head and shoulders photo of Deb Pittam Head and shoulders photo of Deb Pittam

Deb is a registered midwife, committed to equitable, appropriate and safe care for whānau.  She has been fortunate to be able to experience a wide range of practice contexts and has worked in a rural primary maternity unit, rural and urban LMC community midwifery practices, as well as in a secondary and tertiary unit in clinical, education and leadership roles over 32 years. Deb has worked at the Ministry of Health and most recently as the Director of Midwifery at Te Toka Tumai Auckland.  She has held numerous leadership roles in midwifery over the years, is the Immediate Past President of the New Zealand College of Midwives and the co-chair of the National Maternity Monitoring Group.

Interim National Chief Medical Officer - Dr Nick Baker

Head and shoulders photo of Dr Nick Baker Head and shoulders photo of Dr Nick Baker

Nick is a General and Community Paediatrician based in Nelson. He has been Chief Medical Officer for Te Tau Ihu for 10 years.

Prior to this, he was President of the Paediatric Society of New Zealand for two elected terms and chair of the New Zealand Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee for six years. Nick developed a national network of groups that worked to identify, address, and potentially decrease the numbers of infant, child and youth deaths. He has also chaired the South Island Child Health Alliance and the South Island ICU Network Group. He is currently chair of the National CMO group.

Nick’s areas of interest are preventive healthcare, population child health, health policy and clinical governance structures, community involvement in health, paediatric infectious diseases, quality improvement and integrated IT systems for health gain.

Interim National Lead for Quality and Patient Safety – David Bunting

Haed and shoulders photo of David Bunting Haed and shoulders photo of David Bunting

David is a registered nurse with an MSc in Risk Management from New York University. David has extensive clinical, operational and leadership experience in health services in New Zealand, Australia and internationally. Having lived overseas for 20 years, David held leadership roles in Healthcare Quality, Risk Management, Regulatory Compliance, Clinical Governance and Patient Safety.

David then took up the role as Director of Quality and Patient Safety at Waikato and as Chair of the National Quality Leaders forum began a secondment as Interim National Lead for Quality and Patient Safety in January this year.