Dr Vernon Harvey was a consultant medical oncologist at Auckland Hospital from 1984-2016 and has been in private practice since 1992.
Vernon is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Oncology at the University of Auckland Medical School. He trained in medicine at Guy's Hospital, London and undertook his postgraduate oncology training in Auckland and at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London. He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Medicine, particularly oncology research, in the 2010 New Year’s honours.
Vernon's primary interest is the management of patients with breast cancer. He is a keen supporter of clinical trials and the principal investigator of a large number of clinical trials in early and advanced breast cancer, testicular cancer, and drug development. He is an active member of several breast cancer co-operative trial groups, including the ANZ Breast Cancer Trials Group, the International Breast Cancer Study Group, the Breast International Group, the Breast Cancer International Research Group, and the Early Breast Cancer Trialist's Group.
Vernon is Chairman and Scientific Director of the Auckland Breast Cancer Study Group, which, since 2000, has documented the details of all cases of breast cancer in Auckland to understand better the behaviour of breast cancer and how research can be targeted to improve outcomes. He is also a founding trustee of Sweet Louise, a charity aiming to improve the quality of life of women with metastatic breast cancer.
Vernon has been involved in several New Zealand governmental committees related to cancer and from 1991-2007 he was a member of the Cancer Treatment Subcommittee of PHARMAC, the government agency responsible for deciding which medicines should be funded within the New Zealand public health service.
Vernon consults at Auckland Oncology two days per week.
“I’ve been working with oncology patients for over 40 years and I still love it. I was attracted to oncology initially because of this opportunity to work closely with patients. I’ve always liked the idea of being able to form proper relationships with them often over long periods of time. The medical field is also very fascinating to me. I’ve been able to see things develop and evolve—when I first started in oncology, chemotherapy was just beginning.
Auckland Oncology stands out because of our patient-centred approach. Our patients receive continuity of care, as they see the same doctor each time and are able to build a proper relationship. We really take the time to get to know our patients and make them comfortable. To me a very important aspect of our team is that we have a fantastic working culture and always support each other. We get along very well, which has a great positive impact on our work.”
Vernon is retiring at the end of March 2019 after providing over 50 years of tremendous service in medicine.