A positive end to the financial year

This week I was fortunate to spend some time in CTEC (Clinical Training and Education Centre) where they were running sessions on Adult and Paediatric resuscitation.  While I was there I learnt how to resuscitate a baby to the theme tune of ‘staying alive’ and before you start questioning my sanity the reason this song works so well is that it provides the rhythm you need to compress the chest 100 times a minute.

There is quite a lot of information and sequencing to remember when performing CPR and I was very impressed with the level of skill shown by the team.  I have to say my memory is pretty good –  most of the time, however would I remember everything in a highly stressed and emergency situation?  I asked this question to the team – to which they replied “we don’t – and that’s why it’s important to work together and support each other as a team.  It’s also important for people to feel comfortable speaking out, regardless of where they are in the hierarchy, if something has been forgotten or overlooked”.

I just thought this was an incredibly powerful message for us to take on board as an organisation, especially when you look at the work that we do, which can be very complex, and like the example above can happen in very pressured situations.  It also highlights the importance of communication and the ability for people to feel free to speak out – to challenge and to ask the tough questions.  That’s an increasingly important asset that we need to encourage at Counties.  It’s also one of the reasons I have a blog, so I can have these discussions and be challenged – so please keep your comments coming.

I’m also reminded of a time, over a decade ago when I was lucky enough to work at the Henry Ford Health System inDetroit, which is recognised as one of the leading health systems in theUnited States.  On my last day I accompanied the Professor of Surgery to ICU, and as he was about to touch a patient the Health Care Assistant (HCA) spoke up and said “don’t touch that patient”.  When the Professor asked why, the HCA said it was because he hadn’t washed his hands.  The Professor even thanked her for reminding him.  This gave me a glimpse into the culture of an organisation where people felt empowered to speak up if they saw something that was wrong.  I guess my ambition for everyone working at CMDHB, including patient’s, families and visitors is to feel comfortable challenging practices as simple as not washing hands before and after patient contact.

We are now coming to the end of the financial year and I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to getting us where we are today.  The good news is we are ending the year in a very solid financial position, and one of the reasons we have been able to do this is because of the ‘thriving in difficult times project’ which aims to systematically eliminate poor quality and waste wherever we see it.  This has resulted in huge dividends and greatly contributed to our financial position.  We are also finishing the year having maintained high standards in areas such as EC and have produced incredible results in the area of elective surgery – we are 10% above where we were last year – which is a huge benefit to our patients.  As mentioned in my previous blogs we are also working with our primary care colleagues in redesigning an integrated healthcare system to respond to the challenges of the future.

I also want to reflect on the achievement of some remarkable key quality indicators.  In April we had no central line infections anywhere in the organisation, we had no patient seriously harmed through a fall, and we have significantly reduced our pressure injuries.  There was a time not so long ago that we thought we could never achieve these things and yet the results show for themselves.  A great performance like that does not happen by accident and it does not happen because of one or two people – it happens because 6,500 people are dedicated on doing the best that they can.

I’d especially like to acknowledge the work of our CLAB (Central Line Associated Bacteraemia) team who are leading the national programme of eradicating CLAB acrossNew Zealand.  I’m really proud of them as April was the first month in which no CLAB was reported by ICU’s around the country.  That’s a direct result of the hard pioneering work of the Target CLAB ZERO team and the people working in the ICUs.  Well done to you all.

To end I’d like to say well done to the All Blacks who beat Ireland in the weekend and commiserations to my team Wales who lost against Australia. 

Enjoy the rest of the week




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 positive end to the financial year”

  1. Not sure whether my last email went b/c I got an error message. I am planning to apply for a research grant re integrating healthcare by partnering more with primary care practitioners. Is there an up-to-the minute review of your efforts thus far that I could reference in my research proposal?

    Thank you,

    Betty Pearson

    1. Hi Betty,
      The best thing to do would be to contact Martin Hefford, our Director of Primary Health and Community Care, who is leading the integration workstream. I will let him know you’ll be getting in touch.


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