I Can See Clearly Now

Last month I made the offer to shadow staff for two half days each month. It’s generated huge interest and I’m now booked till the end of the year. Even so, I’m leaving the offer open so it’s not too late for any of you to invite me along to your workplace.

This week I responded to the very first request I received by spending Monday afternoon at a glaucoma clinic with Dr Anmar Abdul Rahman, the Clinical Director of Ophthalmology, and some clinical staff. It was a great opportunity for me to see firsthand the work done at the front line and the experience of both our clinicians and our patients. There was a great range of people using our service and I spoke to several. From the Tongan woman to the Chinese man, both of whom needed an interpreter, I gained an impression of their experience when they use our services. 

I was also fascinated by, and truly admired, the work of our clinicians. They are doing extraordinary microsurgery which involves putting a drain in the eye – work that requires great precision and a high degree of skill.

All of these observations and conversations really impressed on me the high quality of the treatment we provide. Once someone is diagnosed with glaucoma, it’s ongoing and they are never discharged as such. In addition, diabetes (which can lead to glaucoma) is having a huge impact on our community. Yet despite these pressures, our staff are consistently providing a high standard of treatment. They’re also providing Fellows with opportunities for training and education. All of this made me, once again, extremely proud and I’m really looking forward to my next shadowing session.

Some of you may have seen Minister of Health, Tony Ryall, here having a look at Ko Awatea last week. He was hugely impressed by the building and by our plans for innovation, improvement and workforce development. He applauded the clear level of investment we are putting into our population and workforce of the future. He also liked the coffee and admired the beanbags (though he didn’t try one firsthand).

Tony Ryall visitSharing Ko Awatea with Minister of Health, Tony Ryall 

Interestingly, he commented on the opportunity the Ko Awatea building presents for Christchurch. Ko Awatea is a high quality building that used innovative building techniques, took just six months to build, can be deconstructed and moved elsewhere, and is able to be occupied in many different ways, possibly even as a hospital. Such a building presents many opportunities and learnings for Christchurch. As such, we’ll be talking to the Canterbury DHB soon about the potential for a Ko Awatea-style building which could help accelerate their recovery from the earthquakes.

Minster Ryall also took the opportunity while he was here to talk directly with some of our clinical leaders. It’s important to me that CMDHB is a place where people can freely and openly express their views, even to the man at the very top if the opportunity arises.

Overall, he was extremely complimentary about CMDHB’s performance across the board and about the quality of our work. He commented that a lot of what we do, like Six Hours Can Be Ours in ED, is at the forefront of public health both nationally and internationally. And he referred to the number of international awards we’ve received over the last couple of years that confirm this success. All in all it was a successful visit and high praise for the work you all do.

I’m off to visit whaanau in the United Kingdom for a few weeks. Included in my itinerary is a warm-up match between Wales and England at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium which I’m hugely excited about (even if there’s something slightly obscene about watching rugby in the middle of summer! Must remember to pack shorts, not thermals). See you back here on September 5.



Author: Geraint Martin

Geraint Martin was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Counties Manukau DHB in December 2006. It is one of the largest District Health Boards in New Zealand and services a population of half a million. He has significant experience over 30 years in national policy & in managing both primary and secondary care . Previously, he was Director of Health and Social Care Strategy at the Welsh Government .He authored a radical 10 year strategy of reform, including the successful “Saving 1000 lives” Campaign.Until 2004, he was CEO at Kettering General Hospital & had held senior positions in London & Birmingham.He has worked closely with clinicians in improving clinical standards,patient safety,chronic disease management & managing acute care to reduce hospital demand.In NZ, He has promoted clinical quality and leadership as central to improving patientcare. This has led to a significant increases in productivity and access, whilst maintaining financial balance. CMH has completed in 2014 a $500 m capital redevelopment programme, the largest in New Zealand. A central part of this is the establishment of Ko Awatea,the Centre for Innovation and Research which will underpin CMH as one of the the leading health systems in Australasia.In 2008, he chaired the Ministerial Review of Emergency Care in New Zealand, and in 2013 was an member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Health Sector Performance. Geraint has an MSc in Health Policy from Birmingham University .His post-graduate work has focused on health economics and Corporate Strategy . He is adjunct Professor of Healthcare Management at AUT and Victoria University, Wellington Elected in 2006 as a Companion of the Institute of Healthcare Management, previously he was an Associate Fellow at Birmingham University.He is is Chair of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a member of the Institute of Directors, on the Board of the NZ Institute of Health Management & previously the Board of The NZ Health Quality and Safety Commission.

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