About Dr Steve

What Dr Steve does for employers and employees

What happens when your employee can no longer do his or her work? Dr Steve's job is to find a win-win solution for both of you.

Dr Steve helps employers solve issues relating to sick and absent employees by improving the employee’s health and get him or her back to work. He gets your current employees working better and bring productivity back to your business.

The employees Dr Steve works with receive a highly-skilled medical opinion on their conditions, at the expense of their employer – it’s always good to get a second opinion on how to improve your health. Dr Steve gives employees access to more resources than they otherwise would have had, and facilitates additional counselling or treatment paid by the employer. Together, with all parties, he formulates an agreed return to work rehab plan, so that neither the employee nor the employer place faulty expectations on one another on how and when the employee returns to work.

My background

Dr Steve's career began in 1978, when he graduated from the Auckland School of Medicine. He was awarded the Kellogg Fellowship to study Primary Care at an advanced level at McGill University in Canada, where he was also active in teaching new doctors. Dr Steve has been a Senior Lecturer at the Auckland School of Medicine, set up medical practices in Avondale and Auckland City, and written computer programmes to help doctors do their work more efficiently. He has also served as the team doctor to the New Zealand Rugby League team and the Auckland Warriors, and appeared regularly on TV to talk about medical issues.

Dr Steve has always been interested and involved in occupational health, and when a number of insurance companies were looking for advice on sickness policy claims and medical information, he jumped at the opportunity. His job was to provide second opinions on medical conditions, helping people who didn’t understand medical jargon ask the right questions of their GPs. To develop his expertise in the area, he undertook to do a Diploma in Occupational Medicine. Since then, Dr Steve has made it his career to work at the intersection of general and occupational medicine.

How Dr Steve is different to an occupational physician

Occupational physicians work in a relatively limited field of practice. Most of the time, their job is to determine whether what you are suffering from is a work-related illness, accident or not. They deal mainly with occupational diseases – pain brought on by a certain type of action in the workplace, like exposure to dust, deafness, hazards, and chemicals.

Dr Steve, by contrast, deal with broader health problems, issues that are tied to performance, stress and mental illness. What’s Dr Steve's real point of difference? Instead of compartmentalising, he takes a holistic approach to sick and absent employees. He can do this thanks to his dual training in general and occupational medicine.

Whether you’re struggling with absenteeism, work stress, illness and injury at work, drug and alcohol abuse or sick leave issues, Dr Steve can help you solve them.

Helping you around the maze of health law

As part of his holistic approach, Dr Steve will assist you not only with your employee’s health issues, but also with the implications these have for you under the law. He ensures that all the correct processes are followed, so both employee and employer medical rights under statue and common law are met, avoiding potentially costly and damaging employment disputes and personal grievances.

Over the years Dr Steve has gained expertise in the Employment, Holidays, Health Information and Privacy, Heath and Disabilities Commissioner and the Human Rights Acts, the procedures of the Labour Department, and how medical certification and pre-employment medicals operate. Most importantly, he understands the interplay of all of these different acts and bodies when you’re trying to deal with issues regarding health, wellness, ageing and infirmity in the workforce.

Medical detective

"My job is exciting," Dr Steve says." There is an extraordinarily wide range of health and personal issues that impinge on the workplace and a person’s ability to do his or her work. It’s satisfying getting to the bottom of a particularly tough problem".

Some of the problems that Dr Steve encounters are very real and cause great distress and true illness and discomfort – "when this is the case I love being able to mitigate that distress and improve people’s health", he says. "But other cases I get are not true illnesses at all – some of them may even be fictitious. When this happens I get to be a detective, and help employers that are being taken advantage of".

In the wider community

Through his work, Dr Steve has consulted with a wide variety of large companies both in New Zealand and Australia, and has performed hundreds of complex medical assessments. Dr Steve has been invited to speak at national EMA conferences, where he has addressed topics including "Medical Certification and Implications for the Employer" and "Ensuring Procedural Fairness in Dealing with Sick or Stressed Employees". He has given seminars to employees, HR personnel and management teams on occupational health, and has served as an expert outside witness in a number of court cases.

Outside of work

When he's not being a doctor, Dr Steve enjoys reading, tennis, and kayak fishing. He has a talent for languages, and speaks French, filipino, a bit of Russian and Italian.