Going Public

Welcome to those of you who are reading this for the first time. As Chief Executive Officer of the Counties Manukau District Health Board, I’ve been blogging weekly about issues relevant to the organisation and the provision of healthcare in Counties Manukau (with occasional commentary on the Rugby World Cup thrown in for good measure). Up until now my blog has only been made available to CMDHB staff however I’ve decided to go public and make both past and future posts available here to anyone who’s interested. We’re going through a period of great change in the way healthcare is provided in Counties Manukau so now more than ever it’s particularly important to make connections with people across the health sector and start a meaningful two-way dialogue about the way forward. I hope you’ll check in regularly and take the opportunity to comment on issues relevant to you.

This week, I really want to talk about engagement and building whole of system momentum. Recently, the focus between CMDHB and its partners has very much been on the need to redesign the health system. I’ve blogged about this previously when I’ve mentioned Achieving the Balance and the need to deliver the right care, to the right person, in the right place, in the right way and at the right time to make the best use of the investment we are making in primary, secondary and tertiary care. In a nutshell, it’s about making healthcare Better, Sooner and More Convenient. It’s also about improving the working lives of our healthcare professionals so that they have time to do the job they need to for their patients. If we can do all of this, it will result in improved health and healthcare for our community.

What is clear is that making accelerated and substantial progress hinges on engagement from CMDHB and our partner organisations. For that reason, we’ve been holding several engagement events, which I’ve mentioned in past posts. Last week we had two engagement events to kick off the Saving 20,000 Bed Days campaign. For those who haven’t heard of this, this is aimed at reducing hospital usage by 20,000 bed days by July 1, 2013. It’s a real challenge which is going to involve engagement and collaboration across the sector to shift demand away from the hospital and ensure people get treated in primary or community care where possible. But the discussions are underway already – check out this video of last week’s events to see why this is so important:

Ko Awatea & Counties Manukau DHB – Campaign to save 20,000 bed days by 9am, 1st July 2013 from baz caitcheon on Vimeo.

Yesterday, we also held a fantastic engagement event with people from across the sector talking about locality planning. For the purposes of healthcare, Counties Manukau is evolving into six very distinct areas, each of which has a very different health profile and will require different services. Starting yesterday, primary and secondary care clinicians, and the community, are engaging to decide how health services should be designed so that they are Better, Sooner and More Convenient, and how CMDHB and primary health organisations can support this to make it happen. We want to take a really strong, accelerated approach to working with, and building up, primary and community care.  

Be it 20,000 bed days or locality planning, the important thing is that we now want to maintain a real sense of momentum and excitement so that we are very much shaping the health system of the future rather than letting events dictate to us what it should look like as they unfold. We are steadily and intentionally building relationships across organisations and through these, building a coalition or partnership for change. As part of this, the DHB will have a number of joint appointments with primary care. We’ll also be ensuring that we develop a single strategy for the Counties Manukau area with primary care and that we use our strategic alignment to really improve services for patients even faster.

It’s important to note that these substantial changes aren’t happening in isolation and that building work continues at Middlemore Hospital. I encourage staff to check out the webcam trained on the Clinical Services Building site to monitor the progress of what will be an extremely impressive facility over the coming months. Staff can find this link on the front page of SouthNET.

Finally, thank you very much to everyone who gave me feedback about workplace wellness following last week’s post. Some great ideas were suggested which I’ll be thinking, or in my case meditating, about in days to come.


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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