A Big Idea?

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who replied to last week’s post offering advice on how I can lose my stubborn 8kgs. I really appreciate your support and suggestions (or maybe lots of you just want your CEO to jump out of a plane!?!). On a serious note, it was heartening to hear from you. I will certainly be following up on your ideas and will keep you updated on my progress.

Your responses also reiterated to me what a common challenge weight loss can be, not just for me but for many of us and for many people in our community. For that reason, I want to share with you a suggestion someone made which I’ve been thinking about – that we, CMDHB staff, collectively aim to lose say 1000kg over the next six months. Participation would of course be voluntary and we’d organise some nutritional clinics to advise and support staff who were taking part on how to lose weight safely and effectively. Staff could weigh themselves and contribute their progress towards an overall total. The goal (I’ve just suggested 1000kg) would be set to reflect the level of staff interest, but the more the merrier! Indeed, try to imagine what 1000kg of fat would look like – if I remember correctly, Jamie Oliver tried that a while back.

For me, losing weight is about being light enough to achieve a personal ambition but others will have their own reasons. Either way, I think this could be a really good way for those of us who need or want some extra motivation, to commit to a healthier lifestyle and contribute to a healthier outlook for our organisation. I’d certainly be happy to lead from the front and, hopefully, contribute 8kg of weight lost to our overall total.

But these are just my thoughts – what do you think? Would you like to take part? Email me your reaction at ceoblog@middlemore.co.nz.

I called this post A Big Idea – partly because of what I’ve just proposed but also because there is another, very big event looming on CMDHB’s horizon.

Because we are a large DHB, we traditionally host some major national conferences for the health sector. You may remember the series of sustainability conferences we held a few years ago or the conference we co-hosted last year with the Canterbury District Health Board in Christchurch. Conferences are important because they allow you to hear the latest thinking and talk with colleagues from both New Zealand and abroad about the latest challenges in healthcare. They also allow us to showcase our work on a bigger stage and demonstrate to others what a leading organisation CMDHB is.

This is why I’m extremely pleased and proud to announce that this September (18th – 21st) at Ko Awatea, in partnership with Boston’s Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and supported by the Health Quality and Safety Commission, we’ll be hosting what is effectively the third largest conference in healthcare in the world – the Asia Pacific Forum (APAC). We expect over 1000 delegates from across the region will be attending.

In addition, we’ve just confirmed Dr Donald Berwick, the former President and CEO of the IHI, as a keynote speaker. Widely regarded as the most influential thinker in healthcare globally, he’s coming here for a week prior to the conference, to meet and talk to many of you, because he’s interested in the innovative work we’re doing, particularly around Saving 20,000 Bed Days.

Dr Berwick’s accolades are numerous – until late last year, he was working in the Obama Administration as the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He has also served on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, as vice chair of the US Preventive Services Task Force, as the first “Independent Member” of the Board of Trustees of the American Hospital Association, and as chair of the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. His interest in CMDHB and attendance at the forum is a tremendous honour, and testament to the world-class, leading-edge work you all do. I cannot wait to welcome him here and share the best of CMHDB with him.

The four-day forum is a real opportunity to celebrate our local excellence with a wider international audience. As you know, I’m extremely proud of the work that goes on here and thoroughly believe it deserves an international audience. And where better in the world to run one of the biggest and most prestigious conferences than in South Auckland? I can’t think of a place more deserving of that international attention. While international experts from around the Asia/Pacific region will come and learn from us, they’ll also be sharing their initiatives and ideas to address the challenges of the future. Alongside Dr Berwick, there’ll be a great cast of local and international speakers which I hope all staff will take the opportunity to hear. We’d love as many of you to be involved as possible.

I’m sure you’ve got an idea now of how very excited I am that this forum is coming to Counties. So here’s where I want to bring the two strands of today’s post together to make one truly BIG idea… How about we set CMDHB’s weight loss goal for the next six months and then, when we’ve collectively lost 1000kg (or however many we decide), we showcase this extraordinary effort and achievement to an international audience at APAC? It could be a celebration of Team Counties’ amazing efforts on one of the world’s biggest healthcare stages… Thinking big to get smaller!



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.

2 thoughts on “A Big Idea?”

  1. After reading the article in Herald recently about the 49 foods to avoid, I decided to ditch my beloved whole milk, and switch from dark blue to light blue. I was pleasantly surprised to find the taste much the same, (unlike the green top which I find revolting). This got me thinking: why do we offer staff (and I assume patients) the choice of either dark blue or green top milk? Surely a better option would be to offer light blue? If we can introduce low fat milk into the diets of people here at CMDHB, they’re likely to form a new habit – and we’re well on the way to a healthier community!

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