Two new faces are soon to join CMDHB to fill senior posts with the organisation. These appointments come as we implement our new management structure, which some of you may have heard me speak about recently. Thanks to all who have come along to the staff forums I have held on this.
Following an Australasian search, Dr Gloria Johnson will join us as our new Chief Medical Officer, Hospital Services in January. Gloria joins us from Northland DHB where she was CMO for several years. She has a wealth of experience and a strong commitment to the quality, safety and innovation agenda which is fundamental to CMDHB.
Secondly, Martin Hefford will this month become the interim Director of Primary Health and Community Care on a one year secondment from Sapere, the health management consultancy. Previously Martin was a leading Chief Planning and Funding Officer at a large DHB. He has also been a Harkness Fellow spending time with Kaiser Permanente in the USA. He also brings a wealth of experience in the health sector which will be of great benefit to CMDHB. His role for the next year will be to establish the new primary health and community care directorate, and in particular, lead the development and implementation of locality planning, locality clinical partnerships and strengthening our relationships with primary care. Martin will be taking the lead in whole of system development. At the end of the interim period, the post of Director of Primary Health and Community Care will be contestably filled.
I’d like to extend my special thanks to both Dr Wilbur Farmilo and Tina McCafferty who have acted in these positions over the past few months. They have put in a tremendous amount of effort over and above their usual roles, and made a substantial contribution to CMDHB. My thanks to them both.
In coming weeks and months, there’ll be further new and exciting appointments made. I’ll mention these here when they happen.
Coming into early November when the weather is starting to improve, I’m very much aware that it’s one of those times when people reflect on what a long haul winter has been. As the weather brightens, we hopefully start looking forward to some well-earned relaxation and time off in December and January. However, unlike in recent years when things have begun to quieten down, this year we are continuing to be very busy. A few weeks ago we had over 340 patients present to EC in 24 hours – one of our highest numbers ever. The pressure is not going away.
I’m also aware that the bugs affecting our community are in turn affecting staff. There’s an Auckland-wide measles outbreak and nasty flu-like viruses circulating which have taken their toll on many of us. Alongside these factors, we have organisational change underway which is going to gather momentum in the next few weeks. All of these can contribute to a pattern where people begin to feel like they’re running on empty.
So I’d like to emphasize the importance of looking after yourself and doing what you can to keep well. A key part of that is workplace wellness and I’m particularly keen to hear back from you on how we can help staff manage stress. In a previous role as CEO, I formed a small group to advise me on what we could do to improve the quality of life for staff at work. One suggestion that came up was to introduce meditation sessions for staff. Initially I was sceptical but I agreed to join a session led by a Buddhist monk from a local temple. He spent time with us teaching us how to do simple meditations. I have to be honest and say that this had a profound effect on me. Despite my initial scepticism I found it something that really, really helped, to the extent that a couple of weeks later, I did a weekend course in meditation at a temple and left feeling absolutely fabulous. It’s a habit I’ve continued since and personally find really helpful in managing stress. My plane flights to and from meetings in Wellington are often spent in meditation!
I’m not suggesting this would work for us all but it’s an example of how a staff suggestion can be taken onboard and developed to benefit people throughout an organisation. I’m very keen to repeat this here and invite you to contribute – do you have any suggestions or ideas we could introduce at CMDHB? Are you keen for a small group to be formed to advise me on workplace wellness? Drop me a line – email@example.com.