Coming Full Circle

After years of planning and hard work, it was a great pleasure to formally open the Harley Gray Building recently and to welcome Prof. Harley Gray himself back to Middlemore Hospital. As many of you will know, he formerly worked at Middlemore and is regarded as one of New Zealand’s leading Orthopaedic Surgeons. As such, I was delighted to invite him and his family back to open this magnificent building which has been named in his honour.

We were also thrilled to welcome the Minister of Health, the Honourable Tony Ryall, to the building’s opening. When I started to introduce the Minister before his speech, I was reminded of my first meeting with him some six years ago. I had travelled down to his constituency offices in Te Puke to introduce myself as he was then about to become the Minister of Health. One of the first questions he asked me was whether our intended new building at Middlemore was going to be good investment for the Government. Continue reading

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Celebrating our Everyday Heroes

Driving into Middlemore the other day, I couldn’t fail to notice the billboards that stand at either end of the hospital campus which were expressing 365 days of thanks to our staff. I was very pleased to note that diolch, which is Welsh for thank you, was right there alongside the many other languages our diverse workforce represents.

The billboards also got me thinking – how do we celebrate the extraordinary everyday efforts of our staff? As many of you will be aware, I’ve been blogging now for almost 3 years. It’s proven to be a really useful tool for me to both share some of what I’m thinking about and also hear your thoughts on key issues for our organisation. But I want to start using this blog for another purpose. Continue reading

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Elvis is Alive and Singing in Mangere

ElivsI met Elvis Presley last week. In fact a lot of people met Elvis, including the Minister of Health (as you can see in this photograph). It was indeed a great pleasure to meet him before he gave one of his few live performances at the Mangere Town Centre. You see, this Elvis has kidney disease and had donned his jumpsuit to help raise awareness of the disease at a Live Kidney Donation Aotearoa event, hosted by CM Health in partnership with the Kidney Society Auckland (and supported by the ADHB Transplant Team, Kidney Kids Team, Kidney Health New Zealand, Organ Donation New Zealand and Work and Income). Continue reading

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Thinking About Three Decades in Health

One of the most insightful quotes I’ve ever come across is from the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard, who said that whilst life must be lived forwards, it can only be understood backwards. This quote was at the front of my mind recently when I realised, while stuck in a traffic jam, that I’ve just passed my 30th anniversary working in healthcare.

As I waited for the traffic to move, I started thinking of what life was like 30 years ago. For starters I had a great deal more hair and was several kilograms lighter. I was also at a stage of life where I thought I was invincible because back then I smoked. I started smoking because I thought it made me look cool and in fact it was quite normal for people at the health authority offices to smoke at their desks at that time. With the value of hindsight, starting smoking is undoubtedly one of the most stupid decisions I’ve ever made and I’m grateful that I chose to become smokefree many years ago.

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Lost for Words

The tragic case of Sakurako Uehara, the 7-year-old Japanese girl who is in our care after being mauled by four dogs, has touched all of us. As the events of the last two weeks have unfolded, I have often found myself stopping to reflect on what this turn of events means for young Sakurako and her family. I know from conversations with many staff how much she is also in your thoughts at this time.

Immediately after Sakurako’s arrival at Middlemore, we had intense press interest in the case which resulted in a series of media interviews Continue reading

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One of the Biggest Issues we Face

Arguably one of the most important issues facing healthcare as we go forward is health literacy, a term which refers to a patient’s ability to be informed about, and understand, how to best manage their condition and the treatment they are receiving. I’ve blogged before about how health literacy is a major issue in our part of the world and you may remember the case of George, a patient whose story was highlighted through our 20,000 Days Campaign. George was admitted to hospital 28 times within the space of a year until he gained a better understanding of his condition and learnt how to look after himself, at which point he turned a corner and managed to reduce the number of times he ended up in hospital. Clearly in George’s case, the knowledge of how, and why, to manage his condition had a huge impact on his wellbeing, how much he benefited from the treatment we were providing and how much his treatment cost. Continue reading

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The Week That Was

One of the most fascinating things about working in healthcare is that no two days are the same. As you come to work each day, you never quite know what’s going to be thrown at you. Never was this truer than last week, which brought with it some big challenges alongside some really fantastic achievements.

Firstly, we achieved a fantastic milestone with the smooth transition of our Operating Theatres, Theatre Admission and Discharge Unit, Post Anaesthetic Care Unit, Central Sterile Supply Department and Neonatal Care into the new Harley Gray Building. This move marked the end of a capital development programme which has seen half a billion dollars invested in order to improve CM Health’s hospital facilities. Continue reading

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