Looking After Our Children (and Ourselves)

Two things have really brought me, and many others, down to earth this week. Firstly are the recent cases of child abuse which we’ve learned about through the media, and secondly, the documentary about child poverty which screened on TV3 on Tuesday.

These two distressing elements of society result not just in individual tragedies but a huge waste of human potential. They are both hugely serious issues for New Zealand and, as such, are on the agendas of all political parties at this time.

The point I’d like to make about this is to acknowledge the staff who treat and care for the young victims. This undoubtedly has a huge emotional impact on you, even those of you who have worked in health for some time. I want to express my gratitude to you all for coping with these terrible tragedies as part of your day-to-day work. They are the kinds of realities few of us can begin to comprehend, let alone deal with.

I also want to make sure that we are doing all we can as an organisation to support the staff involved in such cases. Please look out for each other and ask for help if you need it. 

On a more positive note, the reach of the blog has become very clear to me this week. Since going public two weeks ago, the blog has received almost 3000 hits. I’ve had lots of emails from colleagues and friends in the United States and the United Kingdom who’ve also picked up on it through a variety of different sources.

But of particular significance was the response to last week’s post I did with Dr Mary Seddon about CMDHB’s Attitude to Errors. This topic clearly struck a chord, especially in the United States. As you can see by the comments left on last week’s blog, Paul Levy, a well-known and highly respected leader in healthcare quality and safety in America, picked up our post and graciously made reference to CMDHB’s attitude to errors in his own entry.

This reminds me what an incredibly powerful tool a public blog is for influencing general debate and how incredibly important it is for us to get our approach to errors right. It’s heartening to know that when we talk publicly about what we’re doing, we’re receiving positive feedback and generating constructive discussion. 

Finally, I want to give you all an update about sustainability following my recent post ‘Going Green’. There was an overwhelming response to that post which really demonstrated to me how strongly people feel about the issue and the need for CMDHB to progress this area. As such, I’ve met with a group of staff who, under the leadership of Dr David Galler, will form a sustainability working group as part of Thriving in Difficult Times 2. We talked particularly about the need for CMDHB to measure its carbon footprint and by what percentage we can hope to reduce this over the coming year. More details will follow in a couple of weeks but I can tell you that the group has already received the suggestions staff put forward. Thanks again for your input.



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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