Observations from the Front Line

This week marked the one year anniversary of the devastating Christchurch earthquake. I’m sure you joined me in sending your thoughts and sympathies to our Cantabrian colleagues, and the many people affected by this disaster, on Wednesday.

As you know, I’m hugely proud of CMDHB, of the work we do for our community and of the quality of the care we provide. But rather than read my words about how great I think we are, this week I’ve asked our Head of General Surgery, Andrew Connolly, to share what he likes about CMDHB for you. I think he really captures some of the many great aspects of our organisation.

I started at CMDHB in 1990 as a junior registrar, and 20-something years later, I’m still here and I love it. Some days I can’t believe I get paid to do the work that I do.

Where do I start in explaining why? For a start, I’ve got fantastic colleagues. The camaraderie in our department, and with the rest of the hospital, is magnificent. We’re also very lucky to have an extremely dedicated bunch of nurses. My colleagues are fiercely loyal and fiercely competitive. We just get on and get things done.

As a result, I think we’ve got the best surgical department in the country and training opportunities with us are highly sought after. We do a huge number of acute and elective operations, and registrars want to come and learn here and be part of that. I’m enormously proud of the surgery we do.

That excellence is across the board. Many of the services CMDHB provides, and the individuals involved, are the best nationally, if not internationally. Talented people are everywhere.

Even so, we’re always looking at ways to improve, to do things better and smarter. Everyone’s geared to getting the patient better – whether it’s the tumours that our department removes or some of the stuff the orthopaedic surgeons put back together or the badly disfigured people the plastics team sort out. And we don’t have a problem in saying it went wrong. It’s a very open, supportive culture.

I also like the patients who are almost universally grateful and it’s great to see them get treated properly and respectfully. We always place the patient at the centre of the problem and wrap the solution around them.

In General Surgery alone, we are responsible for about 39,500 bed days of care at Middlemore every year. What the vast majority of every one of those 39,500 days has in common is the high quality care the patients receive. It’s great to work for an organisation where compliments far outweigh complaints.

After 22 years on and off at CMDHB, I still really enjoy it. It’s something that gets into your soul – you just want to be part of it and never leave.

Andrew’s right – there is definitely something extremely rewarding about being part of Team Counties and we’re extremely fortunate to have so many of you onboard who have also dedicated many years to CMDHB and helping our community. Have a great week – I’ll update you on the progress with the 1000kg initiative in my next post.

Geraint

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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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