A public health leader will be leaving the Waikato fog for the sunny Bay of Plenty to take up the chief executive role at the Western Bay Primary Health Organisation.

Lindsey Webber is the former deputy chief executive at the Waikato-based Hauraki Primary Health Organisation will start at her new post in late May.

The UK expat said she was excited about her move to the Bay and the opportunities the new position would bring.

"Tauranga and the Mount have been little havens for me ... I'm looking forward to leaving the foggy Waikato mornings behind," she said.


"I'm really excited to bring my ideas, my energy and passion for health care and healthy whānau to the Bay."

Webber has been based in New Zealand for more than 20 years. She moved in 1998 after training as a nurse in London.

Her first job in New Zealand was teaching nursing at Wintec, which gave her a good understanding of the New Zealand health system and sparked an interest in the impact of healthcare on the community.

She then worked with Pinnacle, a large PHO in the Waikato, supporting quality improvement in general practices.

This led to an interest in the future of the workforce and how health care workers can best help communities stay healthy.

"GPs are very busy - they have 10 minutes to see patients - so it started me thinking there are other ways we can reach out to families."

in her previous role as deputy chief executive at Hauraki Primary Health Organisation, she explored health care models that addressed equity issues for Māori populations and was looking to address social issues that blocked access to health care in the Bay.

Investigating the social determinants of health as well as the physical impact of disease on people was the way of the future, she said.


She said families who struggle financially will often prioritise feeding their kids over picking up a prescription or having a smear test.

Western Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation board co-chairs Luke Bradford and Paora Stanley said in a written statement they welcomed Lindsey's appointment.

"With a special interest in primary healthcare initiatives that focus on reducing inequities and empowering people to improve their health and wellbeing, her values are aligned with those of the PHO.

"We believe Lindsey will make a valuable contribution to the overall capability of the organisation as we head into a future with an ever-growing emphasis on primary healthcare."