The best conference I have ever been to!

“The best conference I have ever been to.” Professor Peter Bradley, Public Health Wales

APACOne of the most inspiring speakers of this year’s APAC (Asia Pacific) Forum on ‘Leading Healthcare Transformation’ was Dr Dave ‘Dafydd’ Williams from Canada. It’s not every day you get the opportunity to hear an astronaut, aquanaut and Chief Executive who’s the same person.

It was great hearing about his missions into space – but actually what was more interesting was his thoughts on what made great teams. He reflected on more than one occasion that it was a great attitude and team spirit, which led to success.

And I have to say that it was a great team effort, which delivered the third APAC Forum – this time, bigger than last year – with over 1,500 delegates attending from 14 countries in Melbourne. The work of our ‘red shirts’ was outstanding – always available and responsive to the needs of delegates, demonstrating an amazing attitude.

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A heroic deed

This week I want to introduce Biace Poasa, an amazing young man, who works as an orderly at Middlemore Hospital.

A few days ago Biace and his family witnessed a particularly traumatic accident, when a car hit a pedestrian crossing a busy road. While all of us hope to never encounter a situation like this, Biace, without hesitation leapt in to help, performing CPR which ultimately saved this young lady’s life.

He is indeed a hero, in every sense of the word and I’m proud to have him working at our organisation. Below is his story.

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Pushing an open door

It’s been over two years since the first campaign (20,000 Days) began, initiated in response to increasing demands on resources across the system. It’s been a remarkable journey and while the 20,000 Days campaign was successful in giving back 23,060 healthy and well days to our community, Beyond 20,000 Days has continued to build on this success, with 16 collaborative teams working across the system to anticipate and prevent acute health problems, respond quickly and effectively in the community and provide timely and safe care to people admitted to hospital.

Both campaigns have had a profound effect on the patients and families involved. Patients like Mike, who joined the Healthy Hearts: Fit to Exercise programme, following a heart attack. Mike has now turned his life around. He is fitter, healthier and more confident. Earlier this year Mike completed Round the Bays with other Fit to Exercise participants.

And who can forget George from the first campaign, who with the help of the Very High Intensity User (VHIU) team went from 28 admissions in one year down to three admissions the following year.

The importance of these health and lifestyle gains for patients and their family/whaanau cannot be overstated

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A lot to be thankful for

When I think about the challenges facing us as a health organisation, two well-known quotes spring to mind. The first from Walt Disney: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible” and my personal favourite, by the creator of Sherlock Holmes “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

In the blog today, I’m going to reflect on what can be achieved when we strive for the best, push through the barriers and open ourselves up to the opportunities that come our way.

They say an organisation is only as strong as its people, and I was reminded of this at our Diversity Ball, when over 700 people came together to enjoy each other’s company and have fun. It was an amazing night and a great opportunity to celebrate the many countries, cultures and backgrounds that make up Team Counties. It’s this diversity that is our strength and makes us who we are. As I looked around the room, I was reminded of what an amazing organisation we have and how potent a force Team Counties is when people come together.

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A patient’s perspective

The other day I was having coffee with Briar Peat – a Senior Medical Officer at Middlemore Hospital.   Briar showed me a letter of thanks she had received from a patient, who had spent eight days recovering from an illness at Middlemore Hospital.   In the letter the patient, who we will call Mr X expressed his gratitude for the professional, kind and caring way he was dealt with by a wide range of health professionals.

As a reminder of just how well Team Counties does, I’ld like to share this letter with you today. Many thanks to Mr X for sharing his remarkable story.

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Our people off to Melbourne for APAC

The APAC Forum is Asia Pacific’s premier healthcare conference, designed and delivered by our very own centre for health system innovation and improvement, Ko Awatea.

This year (1-3 September) the Forum is being held in Melbourne, hosted by the Commission for Hospital Improvement (CHI), part of Victoria’s Department of Health.  I’m joined by Jonathon Gray, Director Ko Awatea to tell us what we can expect to see and hear over an action packed 3 days. 

Every year hundreds of individuals from across NZ, Australia and Asia Pacific make the trip to APAC. And it’s not surprising when people get to meet and hear from some of the great minds in health improvement, share the work they have been doing and learn about the great initiatives taking place in organisations across the world.

We have approximately 30 CM Health staff attending APAC this year, with many displaying posters that showcase the innovative work taking place across Counties Manukau Health.   It’s always a proud moment when we get to ‘show off’ the work we are doing at CM Health. It’s also a great feeling to know that your hard work is being given the recognition and exposure it deserves.

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Recognising our ‘everyday heroes’

Heroes come in many shapes and sizes and while there are various traits that help to make up a hero, such as courage and bravery, the one thing I have found is that most of our heroes are reluctant to seek out attention. For that reason I’d like to share an email that came across my desk the other day, about a group of Theatre staff, who despite having a particularly horrific shift, went the extra mile and performed at the top of their game.

To tell us more I have asked Catherine Larsen, Theatre Service Manager to provide some further details

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