Staff profile - Bryan Betty
Deputy Medical Director Primary Care
It’s important for PHARMAC to stay in touch with developments in clinical practice, and that’s exactly what Bryan Betty’s role seeks to achieve.
Dr Betty joined PHARMAC in 2015 as Deputy Medical Director Primary Care. It’s an important link keeping PHARMAC in touch with issues in primary care.
PHARMAC shares Dr Betty with his job as a GP practicing in the Porirua suburb of Cannons Creek. It’s a busy practice in one of Wellington’s most deprived communities, a place where Dr Betty stays grounded and motivated.
“Equity and equity issues and things like access to healthcare for all people have been big motivators through my career.”
A graduate of Otago University Medical School, Dr Betty’s interest in the needs of deprived communities developed during his time practicing in a small mining community in South Australia.
Returning to New Zealand, he saw even greater need across the country.
“You get into these issues facing deprived communities – respiratory illness, high levels of heart disease, and particularly diabetes. When I started practicing in Cannons Creek I saw that we have this huge clinical tsunami hitting the nation at pace. If a Pacific man can have a 50% chance of developing diabetes in his lifetime, that’s a huge issue for New Zealand.”
He joined PHARMAC because it shares his interest in equity and broad access to care, so there’s a natural synergy.
Dr Betty describes his role as having three parts – external relations with the primary care community; making sure primary care issues are thought about within PHARMAC; and providing a clinical eye over operational decisions.
Both he and Medical Director John Wyeth continue to practice, something Dr Betty thinks is essential for the role.
“It’s really important to have someone at PHARMAC maintaining on-the-ground clinical practice. It helps the organisation to understand what is really happening and is very important for our credibility.”
Outside of practicing medicine, Dr Betty has also run a corporate improvisational theatre company in Australia, that ended up morphing into a company working with pharmaceutical companies.
“It gave me a huge insight into those companies and how they operate, how they develop and deliver messages that resonate with doctors. It was a great insight into seeing how marketing works from the other side.”
Last updated: 10 December 2015