Clinical Director , Tui Ora Family Health
Bernard Leuthart is looking forward to empowering people in need of a hand-up now he’s been appointed as Clinical Director at Tui Ora.
“I feel very excited about the role due to the scope of services being offered,” says Bernard.
“I want to help people understand that it may take time to tease out medical problems from the social problems so one of our trials is to look at a consult as a long-term relationship.”
Bernard’s philosophy in life is to let their good flow. “Our first task is to be happy and kind - it’s a great way to approach general practice,” he says.
“There are big challenges in terms of people’s needs in every domain, not just the physical. It’s about working out how can we do this together?”
Bernard loved the last 16 years working as a GP at his Lower Hutt practice in Wellington but is excited about returning to his family’s roots since moving into his grandfather’s Blagdon home with his three adult children and wife Kathleen.
“It’s a nice feeling having an anchor and coming home to our family connection.’
The former Francis Douglas Memorial College student left Taranaki in 1981 for Wellington’s Victoria University and spent 13 years completing a BA in English Literature, a Diploma in
Teaching and a Graduate Diploma in Arts.
“For my BA I got an E in the entrance paper for law which didn’t mean excellence in those days,” he laughs.
Teaching in London was an entertaining experience before returning to Wellington to teach at St Patrick’s College and Sacred Heart College.
“Kiwi teachers were famous for taking any class from English, Religion, Classics, Arts Geography to Maths. The students thought we were fakes to cover so many subjects.”
But Bernard’s heart finally settled on a career in medicine, which meant another five years of study.
“I applied for medical school so I could balance my fascination between arts and science.”
While it was a challenging time starting a family, Bernard says it was only possible thanks to Kathleen, an educational expert, who supported him for five years while studying at Otago University.
“I hadn’t studied science for 13 years so everything had changed but being a married mature student had its advantages for focusing towards a goal.”
Bernard looks forward to partnering with Tui Ora Chief Executive Officer Hayden Wano to create positive change. “Hayden is visionary about whanau strength and being aspirational.”
Despite Tui Ora already offering low-cost medical care, Bernard looks forward to the day when even lower rates are offered to struggling families.