Twas the week before Christmas

This is my last blog for 2016 and in the run up to Christmas, I’d like to thank you for your commitment and hard work this year.

Year after year, we strive to be one of the best performing DHB’s in the country, and 2016 is up there with the best. This was shown in our health targets, our collaborative campaigns and quality improvement initiatives, and the continued efforts of our staff who work on the frontline each and every day. While we have a lot to be proud of, we also know there is more to do if we are to achieve our goal of health equity.

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Community Central

I have regularly talked about the need to better integrate health services in our community and while we have a good sense of what is happening across the Hospital, thanks to Middlemore Central, we need a similar system in our community so we have an overview of where our patients are and the care they require. This is what Community Central aims to do. To tell us more I’m joined by Penny Magud, General Manager Eastern Locality and Pam Hill, Service Development Manager Community Central.

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The story of our District Health Board

Our Quality Accounts are just as important as our financial accounts. Where our financial accounts tell us how we are using our money, the Quality Accounts tell us a great deal about how we are living up to the ‘granny test’ and providing the care we would wish for our loved ones to receive. In my time here I have always said that clinical quality is the only game in town. At the end of the day providing safe and high quality care to our patients is a key priority and while the Quality Accounts tell us how we are doing, it also tells a great story about how we continue to improve the care we provide. That’s a huge testament to everyone’s hard work. To tell us more about the Quality Accounts I’m joined by Gloria Johnson, Chief Medical Officer and Jo Rankine, Quality Assurance Manager. Continue reading “The story of our District Health Board”

In service to our community

Today was the last meeting of our current Counties Manukau District Health Board, which means saying good bye to some great board members who have been guiding our DHB over the past few years. In particular I’d like to acknowledge the great work, support and leadership from Dr Lee Mathias, who has been our Chair for the past three years. It’s a real honour to hand over my blog to Lee to reflect on her time at CM Health.

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Looking out for one another

I want to use this blog to reflect on the recent earthquakes in Christchurch, Wellington and Bay of Plenty. For those affected, it’s been a deeply unsettling time, leaving physical, mental and emotional scars. I’ve only experienced one earthquake in my lifetime and that was in Wellington. I was at the airport at the time and heard this loud rumbling sound, followed by the flickering of lights. Everyone was silent and while it only lasted a few minutes, it was significant enough to rattle many of the people around me. While the latest earthquakes were on a larger scale than what I experienced, I think we tend to underestimate the physical and psychological impacts it can have – not just during the earthquake but in the weeks, months and years to follow. People have lost their lives, their homes, their livelihoods and their peace of mind. For many this is not the first time they have had to pick up the pieces and rebuild. In fact, in the past year, NZ has experienced 189 earthquakes and a thousand more aftershocks!

I’ve had a personal insight into the Christchurch earthquakes. As some of you know my daughter is in the Logistics Corps in the NZ army and was one of the first soldiers into Kaikoura with the relief convoy.

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Diabetes epidemic demands more of everyone

According to latest figures, 34,000 people are living with diabetes in Counties Manukau and those are just the people we know about. That’s thousands of people who are coping daily with a complex disease that has a number of contributory factors, for example lack of access to healthy food or poor food choices, lifestyle issues, such as, lack of exercise and inability to afford good health care. In fact you can’t single out one cause – it’s a variety of factors that makes managing diabetes a challenge for patients, families and health professionals. What’s clear is we need a whole new way of thinking about how to manage the current diabetes epidemic – a whole new ‘paradigm’ shift, including providing services closer to patients’ homes. Who better then to lead the way than our primary care colleagues – the main source of care for our diabetic patients and their families. I’m joined by Dr Tim Hou, GP at Mangere Health Centre who describes the important role that GPs play in empowering patients – especially those with diabetes and their whaanau, to take a more active role in their health and well-being.

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Return of the gut-less wonder

It’s been nearly two years since I had my bariatric surgery and several people have asked me how I’ve been going?

Before I give you a quick update, I’d like to thank those people who came up to me and shared their own weight loss stories. Some people talked about their experiences post-surgery, while others were exploring their options. Many said they were glad I shared my story, as it made it easier to talk freely about their own experiences, without judgement.

Deciding to have bariatric surgery was a major decision, and one I didn’t take lightly. After many years of trying one diet after another and battling with my weight surgery was the best long-term option for me.

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