More than a year has passed since I last updated my CEO blog. I launched it in 2009 with great hope for its potential and determination to keep it updated regularly. Despite good intentions, this soon didn’t happen.
But CMDHB is no longer in the place it was then and, I hope, neither am I. Our organisation faces a time of great change so now more than ever, I think it’s important for everyone to hear from me directly. What are the current issues facing CMDHB? And, more importantly, how can we address them? Through this regular blog, I hope to give you some clarity around these questions going forward.
Firstly, what are the big changes looming on the CMDHB’s horizon? Counties Manukau’s future will be shaped by significant population growth and an increase in chronic disease. The health policy arena, which shapes the world we work in, is also changing dramatically. Better, Sooner, More Convenient is leading us to think about how we can work in a different way to tackle these challenges head on.
One of our responses is Ko Awatea. Hopefully you’ve now all had the opportunity to explore this new space. It’s not just a building (or another place to buy coffee) so much as a change in our way of thinking and doing. Ko Awatea will allow us to bring the best international and local thinking together to tackle our most wicked problems.
Chief among these is what I call ‘Achieving the Balance’. How do we deliver a balanced healthcare system in future?
If we continue delivering healthcare as we have been, more and more people will default to Middlemore for their care. This isn’t desirable, affordable or realistic. We can’t afford to keep building more hospital to meet this demand. Sometimes, hospital isn’t even the best place for these types of patients.
Bottom line: we need to reduce the number of acute admissions to Middlemore by between five and 10% by 2013 if we are to have enough beds for everyone that really needs one. That’s the size of the problem.
So, Achieving the Balance means working with our colleagues in primary and community care, non government organisations and the residential sector to strengthen community services. We need to ensure that, when appropriate, people can be cared for and treated in the community or at home rather than in hospital.
We don’t have an easy task ahead of us but unfortunately solutions aren’t going to happen by accident. We have to actively invent our future. This is where Ko Awatea plays a role, by enabling people to come together and work on our biggest issues.
You also have an important role to play. I’m acutely aware that the way we currently do things puts a lot of pressure on people. And it worries me that you, our staff and our most valuable asset, risk burn out, stress and unhappiness. That’s another reason why we have to change how we’re working. It’s not simply a question of asking you to work harder. I know that, in many cases, you can’t.
I invite you instead to help invent the solution. Leave a comment on this blog, get involved in Ko Awatea or pull me aside when I’m out and about. I’m just an ordinary bloke, albeit one who envisages a different and better way of doing things for us and for our community.
On that note, I’d like to congratulate Peter Gow who was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours announced this week. Peter was awarded the ONZM for his services to health. Congratulations – this acknowledgement of your hard work is proof for us all that outstanding is within our reach.