Singing the Praises of Unsung Heroes

You may remember that last year, I invited all staff to have me ‘shadow’ them for half a day, regardless of whereabouts in CMDHB they work. Being CEO certainly keeps me busy but I do like to spend as much time as possible meeting staff, in departments or on the wards. It’s not just an exercise in raising my visibility as CEO, though I hope my getting out and about will enable me to meet many of you and start some two way conversations. Shadowing is also about creating an opportunity for me to understand and appreciate what you do every day, how your work contributes to Team Counties and what challenges you face on a daily basis.

Wherever I go, I’m always bowled over by the commitment and professionalism of CMDHB staff and the Referrals Team, whom I spent half a day with last week, was certainly no exception. Based at the Manukau SuperClinic, this team has responsibility for organising patients’ appointments. You can imagine the ongoing juggle they have to book appointments at times which are both convenient to, and clinically appropriate for, patients but which also fit around the other demands on our resources (so that patients are not brought in unnecessarily).

Operating a healthcare system which performs smoothly is the result of lots of hard work by many people in several areas. Today I’d really like to acknowledge the Referrals Team which does a huge amount behind the scenes. Like so many others in our DHB, this team works extremely hard and often goes the extra mile to ensure patients get appointments on time, that their details are checked and that their health professionals are kept updated on their progress. I’d like to pay tribute to all of the great team I met last week, including Teena, who runs the Plastics list, Simon, Angelina, Amanda and Helen, who is legendary in the team for her high work rate. It is a great credit to the entire team that patient appointments happen on time and our waiting lists are staying low, even as CMDHB continues to excel and increase the amount of treatment we are delivering.

The other point I want to celebrate this week relates to childhood immunisations. This is an extremely important aspect of the care we provide in terms of preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Historically, however, CMDHB has tended to reach only about 65% of the eligible Counties Manukau population. A lot of work has gone in over the past few years to turn that picture around which is why I’m extremely proud to be able to tell you that this week, for the first time ever, we have immunised 95% of our target population. This is a huge breakthrough as we strive to prevent illness in our community. It also has important benefits in terms of providing some ‘herd immunity’ (general immunity which should decrease the likelihood of infectious diseases circulating around our population). This success has come about through diligence, focus, hard work and excellence sustained over many years. My huge thanks to our immunisations team and all the people they work with in reaching this very, very important public health milestone.

Finally, on a personal note I’m pleased to report I’m down another kilogram at last, which brings me up to 4kg lost. Meanwhile MiddleNOmore participants are soldiering on, with 173.7kg shed collectively. Just like our immunisations team, it seems that sustained diligence, focus, hard work and excellence are the key here.



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.

One thought on “Singing the Praises of Unsung Heroes”

  1. Congrats to the referral team! Geraint your welcome to come and visit us at the surgery Centre Reception!
    Take care
    Nicosia Grace

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