Collette Francis-Lowe

 I am a doctor and psychiatrist with many different interests and experiences. I love conversation and people’s stories. I qualified as a doctor from University of Liverpool in 1990 and, I was lucky to spend time with Professor John Utting, and Professor Jenny Hunter in the ICU at Royal Liverpool Hospital, who was an advocate for women in medicine and anaesthesia.

I worked in Australia for 15 months, in AED and as a flying doctor/general doctor up in the Torres Strait. All of us on the team were junior anaesthetists except for the Medical Superintendent, the lovely Dr Peter Holt, who settled there while travelling around the world in his boat, with his wife.

I came to New Zealand at the end of 1994 and started working here at National Women’s Hospital in 1995. I did neonates and obstetrics & gynaecology as a house officer and was then offered a job in obstetric anaesthesia. I quickly realised that I was not cut out to be an anaesthetist as I am quite anxious and not good in emergencies and decided to change tack after six months. I trained in parallel so that I could either do general practice or psychiatry and eventually opted for psychiatry as my career in 1997. I have worked in Auckland throughout my psychiatry career and had experience in many different areas. I am blessed to have two lovely adult daughters. They were both born at National Women’s Hospital, up the corridor from where I now work.

Outside of work, I enjoy being outside and engaging with as much rural life as possible. I have two kelpie-cross dogs and a station-bred horse. I love fixing my quad bike and have, to my great surprise, developed an interest in cars over recent years, doing oil changes, minor repairs, coolant flushes and changing brake pads. The workings of the car appeals to the mechanical side of my brain and permits me to use some of the physics principles learned in anaesthesia. Finally, don’t ask me anything about dogs, horses or car maintenance as I will talk for ages.