Keeping Well

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 –



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.

5 thoughts on “Keeping Well”

  1. Having regular time off; one or two days a month, exercise, relaxation and spending time doing the things you love doing.

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