First Nurse Practitioner owner in general practice network

Tamah Clapham is the first Nurse Practitioner (NP) in New Zealand’s largest general practice network to take a shareholding in one of the practices. In May Dr Shomel Gauznabi, Dr Richard Chen and Tamah became partner owners in The Doctors Middlemore.

Nurse Practitioners in general practice ownership isn’t common but it may be a growing trend and solution for creating more sustainable primary care.

NP Clapham had plenty of role models to aspire to during her NP internship with her Massey University Professor, Prof. Karen Hoare part owner in the Greenstone Family practice (Manurewa) alongside Goodfellow Lead and Auckland University Professor Bruce Arroll.

“I also had a colleague in my intern cohort from the South Island who had banded together with other nurses and bought the practice from a retiring GP. Another two colleagues have recently started their own NP led practice in East Auckland. Additionally, there is the health connections NP owned and led youth service here in Auckland.”

NP Clapham believes that nurses and NP ownership models have immense potential to add value in primary care and that it was a good strategic decision to join with Green Cross Health and The Doctors Middlemore. Ownership offered the opportunity for longevity as a practitioner, for leadership, and to positively make an impact through that partnership.
“I would encourage other NP’s if presented with the opportunity to take up the challenge and become an owner/partner as I do believe achieving better outcomes for patients is also about good business and that these two things are synergistic. When we put good patient care at the centre of what we do the retention and satisfaction and culture that is built around this will create an excellent and sustainable business or primary care practice, fit for the future.

“I know for many registered nurses this is still not an area of strength, but there is a lot they can bring to primary care as business partners rather than as employees.”

The other new owners Dr Richard Chen and Dr Shomel Gauznabi have similar motivations and a lot to contribute to the practice and partnership.
Dr Chen who also leads the urgent care services comments, “Essentially, everywhere I’ve been in healthcare, I’ve seen the same old dynamics with patients, employees, and businesses. Patients need good quality healthcare; always. In our deprived system, demand is endless. Medical businesses with limited resources struggle daily to meet demand. Nurses and Doctors get caught in the middle pushing themselves to burnout and major job dissatisfaction.

He believes the challenge is, to try a different model, something sustainable first, then scalable. And he believes that employees are a great place for businesses to start looking for solutions.

“Part of sustainability is integrating our employees and the business into one. An employee who is competent and responsible enough should have a chance to become a shareholder. We all believe that here. And aligning the incentives for business profit (or loss…) to good patient outcomes. That is really the rabbit hole for me…” Dr Gauznabi reflects back to early on in his career, “I had identified a strong desire to work in primary care to help shape our local communities which led me to pursue a vocation in General Practice and Urgent Care. Being positioned to advocate and impact patients in an underserved community has been a goal for me and having a share at The Doctors Middlemore helps me both achieve this and reflect my personal values.”

Wayne Woolrich, GM Medical at Green Cross Health says, “Along with our existing partners we are delighted to welcome these new partners as part of our succession planning for The Doctors Middlemore. From a Green Cross perspective having our first NP partner / owner is an important milestone for other NPs in our network and I hope it inspires others to come forward when these opportunities present.”

The current shareholders are Dr Alan Tee, Dr Mark Young, Dr Huta Tangaroa and Lita Hall, Dr Chaoning (Richard) Chen, Dr Shomel Gauznabi, NP Tamah Clapham, and Green Cross Health.

Editorial notes:
Green Cross Health: listed entity and owner of the following brands or entities
The Doctors: over 1,400 employees; 55 practices; 339,000 enrolled patients
Life Pharmacy, Unichem Pharmacy: 351 pharmacies: 1.8 million loyalty members
Access Community Health: over 3,000 support workers; 3.6 million home visits annually

Media Release on 27 July 2022

Media Contact

Rachell Jones, Green Cross Health