Dr Crawshaw takes over as PHARMAC’s medical director after COVID challenges in the UK

Media release Medicines Hospital devices

PHARMAC is pleased to announce that Dr Shirley Crawshaw, seven months after she was appointed, has arrived in New Zealand and commenced her role in the senior leadership team of PHARMAC as the medical director.

Dr Shirley Crawshaw pictured with Dr Ken Clark.
Dr Shirley Crawshaw pictured with Dr Ken Clark

Dr Crawshaw, who was living in the UK when appointed in April 2020, had intended moving back to New Zealand immediately for the role. She was delayed due to a request from the UK’s General Medical Council asking her to stay and help fight the country’s severe COVID-19 outbreak.

“I was asked by Public Health England to take a senior role as an epidemiologist and public health leader, initially helping with contacts of internationally acquired cases of COVID,” explains Dr Crawshaw. “Shortly after that I was asked to help with the first major post lockdown outbreak of COVID in Leicester, developing a method of detecting future potential areas likely to succumb to future outbreaks.”

“This meant I had to delay moving back to New Zealand and starting my role as medical director at PHARMAC. I felt I needed to contribute my public health expertise to the UK’s COVID response during what was an unprecedented time of need.

Dr Crawshaw is now looking forward to her role at PHARMAC. She will be applying her experience and knowledge in both public health and general practice to create a clinical governance framework for PHARMAC.

“What I’m bringing to this role is this complex mixture of clinical and public health experience, which is hopefully to the advantage of PHARMAC and ultimately the people of New Zealand who I will serve.

“I believe that PHARMAC’s medical directors have a strong responsibility to bring the perspective of medical professionals and the people who are using the medicines and devices we fund.”

Dr Ken Clark has been PHARMAC’s acting medical director for the past 18 months, a role he has thoroughly enjoyed and learnt a lot from.

“The lasting impression I take of PHARMAC is that New Zealanders are at the forefront of everything. I leave this role, knowing that PHARMAC take their decision-making responsibility seriously and the wellbeing of New Zealanders is at the heart of their work,” says Dr Clark.

Dr Clark is returning to his medical practice in Palmerston North and continuing his work with the NZ Medical Council.