About

Our Medical Staff

Dr Amanda Brown  

Amanda graduated from Otago University MBChB in 1989 and held a position at Taranaki Base Hospital for 2 ½ years.  She gained her Diploma in Obstetrics and then worked in the United Kingdom for 18 months, returned to New Zealand in 1994.  At that time Amanda bought a general practice in New Plymouth and joined CAREfirst in 2007. She is a Fellow of the New Zealand GP College (FRNZCGP).


Dr Alison Gadsby  

Alison was born and raised in Stirling, Scotland and gained her medical degree at Aberdeen University, graduating in 1989.  She arrived in New Zealand in 1990  on a two year work permit  having been offered a position at Taranaki Base Hospital, but settled in quickly to the New Zealand lifestyle and is now a NZ Citizen.  She is a Fellow of the New Zealand GP College (FRNZCGP).   Alison has also completed a travel medicine paper and has set up a Travel Clinic here, part of the Worldwise Travel Group, based in Auckland.  In 2004 she became a trainer with the Royal College assisting in the teaching of GP registrars.  She is kept busy with her two sons and enjoys spending time with her family and keeping fit.


Dr Lucy Gibberd 

Originally from London, Lucy studied medicine at Cambridge and Bristol Universities.  Afterworking in Bristol, she worked at Taranaki Base Hospital, where she met her husband Dr Geoff Tvrdeich.  Lucy has post-graduate Diplomas in Child Health, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and did her GP training in the UK.  She sat the final exam for her Diploma in  Practical Dermatology in the UK and passed with distinction. She is a Medical  Educator for the RNZCGP and runs the GP training program.  She and Geoff have 3 children. Lucy also works part time as Medical Advisor for the Medical Protection Society.


Dr Krystyna Foulkes

Krystyna has been working as a GP in New Plymouth for 10 years prior to joining Carefirst in 2013. She did her medical training at Mainz University in Germany, followed by 4 years of research in Neurosurgical Pathophysiology where she was awarded a summa cum laude for her PhD.  She then worked in England for a couple of years, got married there and started a family, prior to emigrating to New Zealand, in search for a more balanced lifestyle and for the great outdoors.

After passing both the American and New Zealand medical exams, she worked in Palmerston North hospital, while she completed her Diploma in Obstetrics & Gynaecology and her Diploma in Paediatrics with Auckland University. In 2002 she gained Fellowship with the Royal NZ College of GPs, prior to coming to Taranaki.
Recently she has completed her Diploma in Travel Medicine with Otago University. Her main medical interests are in Child health and Sexual health. She is involved with the Travel clinic and has a special interest in skin cancer diagnostics and surgery. After work she enjoys tramping, cycling and kayaking.

Krystyna is an Accredited Doctor with the Skin Cancer College of Australasia and holds Diplomas in Dermoscopy (Distinction) and Skin Cancer Medicine & Surgery.


Dr Lester Kelly

Lester initially graduated from Auckland University with a Bachelor of Human Biology in 1986 and carried on to graduate from Auckland University MBChB in 1989.  He held a position at Taranaki Base Hospital for 2 ½ years where he gained his Diploma in Obstetrics. Lester then travelled and worked in the United Kingdom for 18 months, returned to New Zealand in 1994 and bought a general practice. He is a Fellow of the New Zealand GP College (FRNZCGP) and joined CAREfirst in 2007.

Having previously trained in Dermoscopy and having an ongoing interest and involvement in Skin Cancer Medicine, he left normal General Practice in late 2015 to increase his work in the Skin Cancer Centre at CAREfirst alongside Dr Geoff Tvrdeich and Dr Krystyna Foulkes. Lester is an Accredited Doctor with the Skin Cancer College of Australasia and holds the Diploma in Dermoscopy (High Distinction)

Lester is currently also the Managing Director of CAREfirst.


Dr Kiyomi Kitagawa

Kiyomi grew up in British Columbia, Canada. Her father is Japanese-Canadian and her mother is a Kiwi. At the age of 21, Kiyomi moved to New Zealand to study medicine at the University of Otago, graduating in 2010. Kiyomi worked at Taranaki Base Hospital for her first two years and subsequently completed the GP training scheme in New Plymouth. Kiyomi holds a Diploma in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She has interests in Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Adolescent Health, Rural Medicine and Sports Medicine. Kiyomi lives with her husband, young son and energetic dog, Gunner. Kiyomi enjoys gardening, sewing and baking. She also likes to keep active by running, swimming, cycling and triathlon. Kiyomi is now a part owner of CAREfirst.


Dr Sarah Prior

Sarah was born and brought up in the Wairarapa, where her father, grandfather and great grandfather had been GPs in Masterton. After studying medicine through Otago University, she worked in Wellington and Queensland; then came to Taranaki after travelling for a year. She holds a diploma in Obstetrics and Medical Gynaecology, and has special interest in women’s and adolescent health, as well as minor surgery.

She and her husband Tim live in Westown with their American cocker spaniel Otto. She has loved her move to Taranaki, where she enjoys keeping fit doing various outdoor activities. She also enjoys travelling, knitting and the arts. Sarah is now a part owner of CAREfirst.


Dr Geoff Putt  

Geoff has lived in New Plymouth for most of his life, and has been busy in full-time general practice since 1988. He graduated from Auckland School of Medicine in 1983, and worked for several years at Taranaki Base Hospital and in primary health care.  Geoff is happily married
to a registered nurse, and has five children and also 3 permanent foster children.
He is an elder of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.  He has a particular interest in computing and information technology, and evidence-based medicine, having completed a 2-year Diploma of Health Informatics.


Dr Sam Smith

Dr Sam Smith graduated in the United Kingdom from St Bart’s and the Royal London Medical school in 2006.  Sam worked in London for a few years before relocating to the Isle of Wight (a small island of the south coast of England).

He completed his general practice training in the UK and worked as a GP on the Isle of Wight before moving to New Plymouth this year (2016).

Sam moved over with his wife Katy (also a GP) and young family to enjoy the outdoor life style and to have the space to wear out his crazy twin boys.

Outside of work his interests include running and anything outdoors.


Dr Geoff Tvrdeich 

Geoff graduated from Otago Medical School in 1990.  He has worked as a House Surgeon and then Medical Registrar at Taranaki Base Hospital before going overseas.  Upon his return he trained in General Practice and Palliative (Hospice) Care and worked for several years as a GP and hospice doctor.  He bought is own practice in 1997 from Dr Don Barclay.

Geoff is married to Dr Lucy Gibberd and they have three children.  In 2004 he was made a Fellow of the Royal NZ College of General Practitioners. He has developed and runs the Skin Cancer Centre together with the NAEVUS skin cancer screening clinics. Geoff holds the International Dermoscopy Diploma (Distinction) and is a Fellow of the Skin Cancer College of Australasia.


Dr Dawn White 
Dawn was born and bred in Norfolk, England and came to New Zealand 9 years ago. She is married to Michael, and has 2 small children.  Dawn trained at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London and qualified as a doctor in 1992. She also gained a psychology degree. She went on to complete GP training in Norwich and Yorkshire and became a member of the Royal College of GP’s.

On coming to New Zealand, Dawn became interested in Palliative Medicine and worked at Mary Potter Hospice in Wellington and at Te Rangimarie Hospice here in New Plymouth, where she became Medical Director. She holds a Diploma in Palliative Medicine from Cardiff University and also became a Fellow of the NZ College of GP’s.  Her special medical interests include Hospice and community medicine and communication skills.


Dr Phil Weeks 

Phil graduated from Westminster Medical School in 1992 and  gained experience at various Hospitals in England; Ipswich, Southampton and Chelsea and Westminster.
He worked at Taranaki Base Hospital, Hawera Hospital and  as a GP in Taranaki from 1998 to 2001 before returning to the UK.  Since then he worked as a GP in England settling in Suffolk.

Phil moved back to New Plymouth in 2015 with his wife and two young sons and in enjoying the outdoor lifestyle in Taranaki. Phil is now a part owner of CAREfirst.