Joint trans - Tasman Briefing: Caroline Edwards, Deputy Secretary, Department of Health Australia & Dr Ashley Bloomfield: Director-General of Health and Chief Executive, Ministry of Health New Zealand
Caroline Edwards, Deputy Secretary, Department of Health Australia
Caroline Edwards joined Health in November 2017 and is the Deputy Secretary of Health Systems Policy and Primary Care Group. Caroline’s responsibilities include primary care and mental health, health economics and research, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, whole of portfolio strategic policy and long-term health reform. Caroline is also the Chief Allied Health Officer.
Prior to joining Health, Caroline was Deputy Secretary of the Health and Aged Care Group in the Department of Human Services (DHS) where she delivered programs in the health portfolio including Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and Aged Care payments.
Before her role at DHS in 2016, Caroline’s career was focused on social policy, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, including 10 years in the Northern Territory where she worked:
for Aboriginal Legal Aid
as a Judicial Registrar in the Northern Territory Magistrates Court
in the Federal Court where she mediated and case-managed native title and other cases as judge’s delegate.
She has also worked as Chief Advisor in the Corporate and International Tax Division of the Department of Treasury with responsibility for local and international messaging on corporate tax avoidance issues including at forums for both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Caroline is committed to developing leadership within the Australian Public Service as well as fostering diversity and innovation. Caroline holds a Bachelor of Laws with first class Honours from Monash University.
Dr Bloomfield has been Interim Chief Executive for Capital & Coast District Health Board since January this year, on secondment from Hutt Valley District Health Board where he has been Chief Executive since late 2015.
He sees the Ministry’s stewardship role as ensuring clear direction, delivering the best possible health outcomes – equitably for all groups – with the available resources, and robust planning for the future.
‘I am excited about this next step. Yes, I feel the weight of expectation on me and on this organisation. But that’s as it should be as I know we all have high expectations of ourselves and huge ambition for our health system, our public service and our country,’ Ashley commented at his pōwhiri.
‘And more than equal to that weight of expectation I feel uplifted by the expressions of strong support and keen desire for our collective success.’
He intends to continue building on Acting Director-General Stephen McKernan’s direction of engaging the wider health sector closely in the Ministry’s work to deliver on the Government’s health priorities.
By way of background, Dr Bloomfield qualified in medicine at the University of Auckland in 1990 and after several years of clinical work specialised in public health medicine. His particular area of professional interest is non-communicable disease prevention and control, and he spent 2011 at the World Health Organization in Geneva working on this topic at a global level.
Prior to commencing as Director-General, Dr Bloomfield was Chief Executive at the Hutt Valley District Health Board and has previously held a number of senior leadership roles within the Ministry of Health. From 2012–15 he was Director of Service Integration and Development and General Manager Population Health at Capital & Coast, Hutt and Wairarapa District Health Boards.