A tough time of the year

There’s always that time of the year when things seem particularly tough. It’s usually in the winter months, when the hospital is busy, it’s cold and wet outside, and there is only one  public holiday to look forward to until Christmas. This time of year can be really hard and I’m incredibly humbled and blown away by how well team counties steps up to the mark, rain, hail and shine and gets the job done. In times of immense pressure, like the last few days, staff continue to provide excellent services to people, who come through our doors. I’d just like to say many thanks for the great job that you do.

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Diversity Ball 2015: Viva La Vida – Live Your Life

Geraint and Buckwheat

Geraint and Buckwheat

On 8 August, we held our annual diversity ball, and it was wonderful to see over 700 people at the Langham Hotel in Auckland. It was a fantastic evening and a reminder of the vibrancy of our culture and the fun we have as an organisation. As I looked around the room, I was reminded of the many countries, cultures and backgrounds that make up Team Counties. It’s this diversity that is our strength and makes up the mosaic that is South Auckland and Counties Manukau.

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Being at our best for our people, whaanau, families and each other

Dr Lee Mathias

Dr Lee Mathias, Chair CM Health

Our board chair, Dr Lee Mathias, joins me today to say a few words on behalf of the board, and to thank you, our staff, for the valuable contributions that you make.

I have been Chair of CM Health for almost two years and have witnessed, along with my fellow board members an ongoing transformation of our organisation – not just around the way we work, and the care we provide, but how we have grown as a health system. With a skilled, motivated and passionate workforce, ready and able to tackle the health challenges of the people living in Counties Manukau, it’s not surprising we have seen some truly innovative and game-changing initiatives.

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Young doctors making a difference

Dr Lyndon

Dr Lyndon

For those of you who missed it, the NZ Herald recently wrote a wonderful piece on Dr Mataroria Lyndon, a clinical fellow at Ko Awatea, who is off to do amazing things at Harvard University in Boston. Mataroria was one of three winners in this year’s Rose Hellaby Awards – a fund established by the late Rose Hellaby to celebrate and support Māori education. Mataroria will receive $30,000 to go towards his master’s degree in public health at Harvard and while we wish him well on his journey, we also look forward to the day he returns. Also receiving an award was Dr Marinus Stowers an Orthopaedic Registrar and Research Fellow at Ko Awatea.

I’m incredibly proud of Mataroria and Marinus and their passion and drive for improving Maori Health in their communities. They are both great examples of our future leaders and strong advocates of our ‘Grow our Own programme’, which encourages more Maaori and Pacific people to consider health as a career.

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6 years can be ours

The logo for the 6 Hours Can Be Ours campaign

The ‘6 Hours Can Be Ours’ campaign

Many of you would have heard about the ‘6 Hours Can Be Ours’ Campaign and how we set ourselves an audacious goal of admitting, discharging or transferring 95% of patients from Emergency Care within 6 hours. It’s a story I love to tell at our welcome day for new staff, and I take great pride in telling people that we are the only DHB, indeed the only hospital in Australasia to have maintained this target for six years running, despite the relentless pressure on Emergency Care. This success comes down to the commitment of our staff – not just in Emergency Care, but throughout the Hospital.

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A second chance at life

The other night I met a lovely lady called Teresa and her husband Andrew.  Teresa works in the Call Centre at the Manukau SuperClinic, and earlier this year underwent a double lung transplant, recovering at Auckland’s Hearty Towers – a rehabilitation unit for transplant patients.  While Teresa’s life has now dramatically changed for the better, for example she’s currently in training for her first duathalon, her journey starts back in August 2013.  It was during this time that Teresa picked up a virus called RSV. RSV is a respiratory virus that infects your lungs and breathing passages, and while most healthy people, manage to bounce back, Teresa wasn’t so lucky, ending up in Intensive Care.

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Loss of talented man and special friend – Geoff Coldham

Geoff Coldham

Geoff Coldham

On Tuesday 21 July, 2015 CM Health and the New Zealand orthopaedic community tragically lost an esteemed colleague and great friend, Geoff Coldham. Geoff spent the last 25 years at Middlemore, 15 of those as a very dedicated surgeon, developing highly specialised skills in spinal surgery and showing a deep passion for this specialty area. Geoff’s commitment and presence at Middlemore began as far back as the early 1990’s as a House Officer and then a Registrar, commencing as an Orthopaedic Consultant in 1999.

Geoff was a highly respected and skilled surgeon, delivering care with the utmost professionalism, knowledge and integrity with a drive for excellence in care. As a strong advocate for best clinical practice for spinal patients and as a key member of the Middlemore Hospital spinal service he played a major role in CM Health becoming one of only two Regional Spinal Cord Impairment services in New Zealand.

With exceptional leadership qualities Geoff developed a very high-profile career over many years as the Secretary of the NZ National Spine Society, developing a reputation as a man with superb organisational skills and one of the best for putting together teaching, conferences, meetings and events. He is recognised internationally as a skilled and experienced surgeon in complex spinal surgery and has bridged the world’s geographical distances, successfully bringing the international spinal community closer. He was responsible for creating the inaugural joint meeting of the NZ, Australian and Canadian spine societies.

Geoff’s life was entwined throughout the lives of the orthopaedic department as a much-loved and cherished friend and mate, sharing many a round of golf and regular tennis matches on Thursday nights. Geoff was an extremely competitive fishing buddy sharing many great times on the water and tales of the sea.

He was a very much-loved husband of Diana and special dad of son Hunter and daughter Madison with an enormous drive and commitment to their many interests and achievements throughout their lives.

Geoff was loved by all and will forever be a part of Middlemore history and memories.

Geraint

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