Ideas on culturally safe consultations

July 26, 2023

The path to culturally safe practice is full of opportunity; however it can be hard to incorporate new ways of working (and thinking) in such busy times.

In this webinar, GP writer and medical educator Lucy O’Hagan leads a discussion on professional communication and the importance of critical reflective practice. Expert panellists consider how racial biases and assumptions impact the consultation and may influence the appropriateness of medicine prescribing and, most importantly, whether the patient feels that the medicine(s) prescribed are acceptable.



  • Lucy O’Hagan (chair) — What consultation skills might we need to be pro-equity, culturally safe practitioners?
  • Bronwen Chesterfield — Understanding cultural safety and racism in Aotearoa: The fundamentals
  • Kyle Eggleton — Challenging our prescribing bias
  • Sarah Sciascia — He aha te kai a te rangatira? He kōrero. What is the food of the leader? It is knowledge. It is communication. Understanding whakawhanaungatanga as an essential clinical skill in medicine

This video is a recording of the live webinar hosted by He Ako Hiringa on March 6, 2023. It is suitable for all health professionals. Watching this webinar entitles the viewer to 90 minutes of CPD.



Lucy O’Hagan (chair)

Lucy is a GP writer and medical educator. She has worked in a diverse range of practices from rural Central Otago to Porirua. She is a regular columnist for New Zealand Doctor magazine and is currently writing a book called ‘Doctor, patient, story’, and recording a series of reflections written during the pandemic called ‘Waiting for Covid’.

At the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP), Lucy’s roles include creating communication skills resources and professional development for GP teachers. As such she is interested in how we incorporate cultural safety and the idea of a pro-equity practitioner into our consultations. She believes our current tauiwi consultation models need developing, to incorporate Māori models, an understanding of unconscious bias and equity, as well as an analysis of trust and power.


Bronwen Chesterfield

Bronwen Chesterfield is a public health physician originally from Cymru/Wales and worked in the National Health Service before emigrating to Aotearoa in 2006. She spent seven years working in hospitals and was formerly an advanced registrar in anaesthesia before starting public health medicine training.

Bronwen works for the Health Quality and Safety Commission and sits within Ahuahu Kaunuku/the Māori Directorate as the only non-Māori kaimahi. Bronwen also works for Te Whatu Ora, chairing the working group developing a quality and safety framework for the National Immunisation Programme. She has provided training on cultural safety, racism and equity for the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine (NZCPHM), the RNZCGP and the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ).

Kyle Eggleton

Dr Kyle Eggleton is the associate dean (rural) in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland. He is also the year 6 general practice course coordinator and a rural GP working part time in the Hokianga on the west coast of Northland.

Kyle’s early childhood was spent in a small village in the Hokianga. After graduating from medical school, he returned to Northland to work as a rural GP. Early in his career he saw how many of his patients had poor health outcomes. The reasons for this were due to the structure of the health system, racism and the impact of colonisation. He started working for a Māori health provider and became interested in how Māori-led and community-designed projects could improve health.

He has experience in community-led research focusing on addressing health inequity.

Sarah Sciascia

Sarah is mum to her sons, Uenuku and Kahukuranui, and wife to Makere Te Whanawhana. She is director of Hauora2U, specialising in health practitioner cultural safety education and community health literacy promotion. Sarah is a Fellow of the RNZCGP and contributes to the general practice education training programme as medical educator and PRIMEX clinical examiner.

Her purpose in medicine is to pursue equitable health outcomes for iwi Māori, as promised by te Tiriti, and her every endeavour ensures another step forward in this journey.

Options for recording your CPD activities and hours include:
♦ the Nursing Council’s MyNC  “continuing competence tab”
♦ the council’s “professional development activities template” (you can download a PDF from this page)
♦ the app “Ascribe” which can be found on Google Play or the App Store.