Council Members


The Council is comprised of nine members: four members are registered with the Medical Sciences Council; three members are laypersons and one anaesthetist.

Members are appointed by the Minister of Health for a term of three years.  A member can be re-appointed for a further three-year term up to a maximum of three consecutive terms (i.e. nine years).

Don Mikkelsen

Chair - Medical laboratory scientist

Don trained as a medical laboratory scientist and progressed professionally within hospital-based diagnostic laboratories while also accepting roles with larger amounts of management responsibilities. Don was manager of LabPLUS at Auckland Hospital and also served for 6 years as National Operations Manager for the New Zealand Blood Service.  Don also spent some time as General Manager of Labtests Auckland before taking on a joint role at ADHB and CMDHB.  At ADHB Don has undertaken a number of projects and at CMDHB Don holds the position of Service Manager Laboratories.

Helen Walker

 Deputy Chair - Lay Member

Helen Walker was appointed to the Council as a lay member in 2010.  In 2013 she was appointed as the Council's Chairperson and is also a member of the Council's Finance Audit and Risk committee.   Rurally based, Helen has held governance positions for a range of community-based organisations over the last 25 years. These include Red Cross, School Trustees Association and President of Waipawa Musical and Dramatic Club, with her passion being Musical Director of operas and musical theatre. Helen is a Trustee for the New Zealand Singing School, Chairman of the Central Ethics Committee, a Kaitiaki/Guardian of the Turnbull Library, Director of Health Hawkes Bay and with her husband runs a successful farming operation in Central Hawkes Bay. Helen was a Director of Unison Networks until 2010, the Hawkes Bay District Health Board from 2001 to 2007 and Chairman of the Central Hawkes Bay Consumers' Power Trust until 2003. She has a BSc (Massey) majoring in physiology and is a member of the Institute of Directors New Zealand.

Nicola Swain

Lay member

Associate Professor Nicola Swain was appointed to the council as a lay member in late 2018. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago. At the medical school she teaches a wide range of medical psychology topics and researches pain management, violence prevention and well-being. She has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles. Nicola has been, and is currently, involved in a number of boards including Chairperson of Carers Otago, President of The Associated New Zealand ME Society, (ANZMES), School Board of Trustees, Southern Health and Disability Ethics Committee, and the Book Discussion Scheme Advisory Board. Nicola is also current President of the New Zealand Pain Society.

Christine Hickton

 Medical laboratory scientist

Christine Hickton is a registered and practising medical laboratory scientist with over forty years medical laboratory experience. Her experience extends from working in one of the smallest laboratories in New Zealand as the sole Scientist, to one of the largest laboratories working in a specialist area. Christine is currently the Quality Manager for Point of Care Testing and the Assistant Laboratory Manager at Hawkes Bay Hospital. She has published a number of scientific papers, and spoken at scientific meetings both nationally and internationally. Appointed to the Council in 2010, Christine is a member of the Council's Registrations and Recertification committee.

Dr Andrew Warmington


Dr Andrew Warmington BHB MBChB, FANZCA Anaesthetist.  Dr Warmington is an anaesthetist in both public and private practice in Auckland.   He gained his fellowship in 1992.  He was appointed to the staff at Greenlane and National Women’s Anaesthesia departments in the same year and continues his involvement at National Women’s and the Greenlane Surgical Centre.  Dr Warmington has had professional involvement with anaesthesia techicians since 1993 when he was the anaesthesia technician liaison office for Greenlane Hospital and continues in a similar role for the wider Auckland City Hospital.  Dr Warmington started as an examiner for anaesthesia technicians in 1996 and was Chief Examiner from 2002 to 2006 including involvement in a major revamp of the examination.  He currently continues to examine for NZATS.  Dr Warmington was a lecturer for AUT from 1995 to 2002 writing and marking papers for the anaesthesia technology programme.  Dr Warmington has represented the New Zealand Society of Anaesthetists on NZATS executive committee since 2003.  He is a former president of the New Zealand Society of Anaesthetists (2007 to 2009) and currently Vice President of the Society.

Karen Bennett

 Anaesthetic technician

After 11 years of nursing, Karen Bennett completed her training as an Anaesthetic Technician in 1992 and has been the Charge Anaesthetic Technician at Palmerston North Hospital since 1999. Karen joined the executive team of the New Zealand Anaesthetic Technicians Society in 2004 when she assumed the chairmanship. She completed her work with the society in April 2015. Karen was very involved with the team from NZATS who successfully campaigned for several years to have the profession of anaesthetic technology included in the statutory requirements of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003. From early 2011, Karen has been a member of the Anaesthetic Technicians Advisory Committee, assisting the Council with setting the frameworks for the pending registration and recertification of Anaesthetic Technicians. Karen was appointed to the council in March 2012.

Paula McCormick

Medical laboratory scientist

Paula McCormick was appointed to the Council in 2015 and is a member of the Council's Education Committee. She is a registered medical laboratory scientist (Embryology) and has an extensive background within diagnostic laboratory, and tertiary educational environments – predominantly Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Embryology. Paula has experience as a clinical embryologist in both the UK and New Zealand. In 2012, she graduated from Otago University with a Master of Bioethics and Health Law.