Q&A with Claire MacNamara

CONSULTANT

You have a public health background. What are your hopes for the Australian healthcare system as we navigate out of the COVID-19 pandemic?

 

This year has been a challenge for many people in so many ways, but one thing Australian’s should be proud of is the way in which we have come together and collectively embraced the public health control measures to contain the spread and impact of COVID-19. My hope is that the community continues to support the public health response and we see even more of a decline of virus’ impact on our community and lifestyle.

We are so fortunate in Australia to have one of the most robust Health Technology Assessment programs in the world and I look forward to seeing it operate in the context of any future COVID-19 vaccine, to create an even safer Australia.

 

Almost all of your immediate family work in health. When did you know that you too wanted to work in the health sector?

 

I knew from a very young age I wanted to work in health. Every night over dinner Mum and Dad would share stories of their days. These stories almost always revolved around patients and how much fulfilment they got from being able to contribute to improving a patients quality of life, no matter how small their contribution was. Listening to these stories, I established a lot of empathy and compassion for patients and felt drawn to helping people when they were experience some of the harder times in their lives. Out of university, I fell into a role working in population health policy which allowed me to work in the health sector and contribute to improving patient outcomes, on a population scale. I love it!

 

What drew you to consulting in the first place?

 

The diversity! I love health, particularly population health but I always struggled to stick to a niche. Consulting affords me so many opportunities to work with amazing clients and people across the health sector, on a range of projects that utilise my skills in different ways. I learn on absolutely every project and cherish the opportunities to work with genuine health sector experts. I also really enjoy the problem solving aspect of the work, a client will usually engage us when they have a real problem to solve. The Evohealth model allows us to support these clients while making a real impact on patient outcomes and I feel very privileged to be in that position.

 

What have you gained from consulting into the health sector on a personal level?

Confidence. Coming from a family of clinicians I always felt that a non-clinical person had nothing to offer the health sector. My role as a consultant has helped me to realise that the Australian healthcare system is built on a range of skills and capabilities from the front line health workers to policy and administrators. I now realise I have a lot to offer, and through this I take a lot of confidence in my abilities and worth into to my personal life.

 

You work as an independent contractor into Evohealth. Can you describe what that looks like in a typical day for you?

There is no such thing as a typical day and that’s why I love it! Some days I am at the desk scanning literature to understand best practice in a particular field, some days (pre-COVID19) I am flying to rural and remote Australia to understand what frontline health care looks like in the remote setting, other days I am workshopping ideas with health sector experts to solve our clients challenges.

 

What has been your proudest moment working with Evohealth?

There have been so many already but one moment that sticks out in my mind is facilitating a co-design process to design a Model of Service Delivery for a rural region in Australia. We were privileged to work with local GPs, pharmacists, the Primary Health Network and the Local Health District to design a Model to address some of the many known challenges of delivering primary care in rural Australia. Through the process I genuinely believe we have come up with an innovative model that will make a real impact on health outcomes for people living in the region.

 

Finally, tell us where is the best place you have travelled to as a consultant, and why?

A few years ago I was lucky enough to travel to Papunyna in the Northern Territory to work directly with some aged care providers in the community. I have always felt drawn to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and I am passionate about closing the gap in terms of their health outcomes, but this experience made it all that more real for me. The generosity and spirit of the people in the community really fuelled that fire in me. When I was there I purchased a piece of art from a local Aboriginal Woman that tells the story of the local community. It hangs in my hallway and whenever I look at it I am reminded of that experience and the drive to work to achieve better outcomes for all people living in rural and remote Australia, but in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.