From office junior to national award-winner

5th October 2023 | Back to News
From office junior to national award-winner
Operations manager Lisa Hamblin, from Three Rivers Medical, is presented with the Practice Manager of The Year award by Waitaha Primary Health chair and Rangiora GP Lorna Martin at the PMMANZ conference in Christchurch.

Learning on the job from a passionate team helped Three Rivers Medical operations manager Lisa Hamblin to a national award.

“I was both shocked and humbled as my fellow finalists are very experienced and impressive wāhine,” she said.

She was named practice manager of the year at the Practice Managers and Administrators Assocation of New Zealand (PMMANZ) national conference in Christchurch.

Lisa said it was a huge honour to win and thanked her team at Three Rivers for making it possible.

In the nomination application Three Rivers managing director Dr Tom James said her greatest strengths were leadership, equity, and “boundless positive” influence.

Lisa was one of four finalists from around New Zealand.

In her acceptance speech she acknowledged her “amazing” team at Three Rivers. She said the past three years had been particularly hard for general practice throughout New Zealand.

In her application, which included a five-minute video, Lisa said her career in practice management began in 1994 when she started as an office junior at Kaiti Medical, which became Three Rivers Medical.


“I found it hard to stay within the word count as I had a lot of ground to cover — 29 years is a big chunk of time to get from there to here,” she said.

“My learning has all been on the job. I have been lucky enough to learn from some passionate and knowledgeable people who were willing to impart their knowledge to me.

I’m very grateful to (former CEO) Ingrid Collins, (current GM) Michelle Te Kira and the past and current practice owners.”

She highlighted innovations at the Gisborne practice such as the Telehealth Hub.

“Manned by clinicians, the Telehealth Hub was born from a need to manage our triage and better meet people’s health needs, especially during a worldwide doctor shortage and the state of the healthcare system right now.
“Not everyone needs to be seen on the day so if we are able to meet a patient’s needs over the phone it frees up that time for someone who needs a face-to-face appointment.

“The other good thing is the patient’s medical history is taken before they get in to see the doctor which means the appointment is more efficient.”

Other successes at Three Rivers Medical have been the nurse practitioner rest home service and the nurse navigator service which works with the elderly and patients with chronic long-term conditions.
Another thing that set Lisa apart was her passion for the Tairāwhiti community.
“It sometimes feels like we are forgotten. There are a lot of people struggling here in Tairāwhiti and our team goes above and beyond to serve this high needs community with the limited resource we have.”
“If it wasn’t for the dedication and passion of our team I wouldn’t have got this award.
“There are so many amazing people here at Three Rivers who continue to work in a pretty difficult environment and remain committed to doing the best job they can,” she said.

Lisa was thrilled with the video which was submitted as part of the application process and played at the PMMANZ conference.
“I felt it was very authentic and that made me happy.”
“What truly sets Lisa apart is her leadership prowess,” Dr James said in his reference.
“She exemplifies decisiveness, fairness, and consistency in managing her team’s performance.
“She is unafraid to challenge complacency and entrenched views, speaking candidly and fostering growth.
“Her willingness to provide challenging yet constructive feedback has elevated us to greater heights.”
As operations manager Lisa oversees 61 staff members.
Her role includes collaborating with the back office team and upskilling them, which is vital to the succession planning of the practice.

Other members of the Three Rivers team also enjoyed success at the PMMANZ conference in Christchurch.

Accounts manager and reception lead Zhanquin Kerr was runner-up for the UNEP Scholarship and medical receptionist Sophie Akroyd was awarded the KASF Bronze Scholarship.

Lisa said it was good to get out of Gisborne and talk to other practice managers from around the country and realise Three Rivers were doing OK.

“General practice has been underfunded for some time and we are dealing with the legacy of the Covid pandemic. But this award has been an acknowledgement of how we are doing well overall in a tough environment and it means a lot to me.”

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