Many of you will remember that just before Christmas last year, we decided not to proceed with the redevelopment of the Manukau Health Park as originally envisaged in our Clinical Services Plan. We reached this decision after re-evaluating our options and considering whether making such a significant investment to build the ‘Sylvia Park’ of healthcare would really deliver the kind of change that we need to see.
The conclusions we came to were clear. Redeveloping the Manukau Health Park in the way we had hoped isn’t affordable and won’t deliver the right solutions for the challenges we will face going forward.
We do know we have to revitalise our Mental Health, Health of Older People and Rehabilitation facilities. We also need to expand outpatient and elective surgery capacity. Those needs haven’t changed but the way in which we meet them has to be different. Rather than just replacing buildings, we need to think about what the right models of care are to deliver services in the best way.
To help identify our investment priorities going forward we have instead been consulting with clinicians, both inside and outside the hospital. They pointed out that our highest investment priority should be information and communication technology (ICT) because a modern healthcare system needs to be well connected to function efficiently and effectively. Some years ago we were leaders in this area but rightly had to prioritize rebuilding Middlemore Hospital. Now we need to focus on getting that leading edge back, making ICT more of a priority and integrating our information at the same time as we integrate our services.
Clinicians have also been fundamental in helping identify other investment priorities. At a recent Executive Leadership Team meeting, we reviewed a paper from our Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Clinical Director, Surgical & Ambulatory Care, Dr Wilbur Farmilo, which presented clinical recommendations on our priorities for the next five years as:
- Acute Mental Health
- Outpatients in Localities
- Rehabilitation, Health of Older People and Spinal services
- Outpatients at Manukau SuperClinic
- Elective Surgery
- Women’s HealthBuilding, Middlemore
These still need to be formally ratified by our Board but were considered informally at its meeting last week.
We now have to think through innovative ways of financing any future capital developments and service growth. Partly because of the Canterbury rebuild, there’s very limited capital available for the health sector and that is likely to be the case for some time to come. But we can’t simply stand still in the meantime and wait for things to improve – we still need to revitalise key services and progress our strategies. A team led by Louise Zacest is driving this work and it has been renamed the Health System Integration Investment Programme to take the emphasis off the development of a particular site.
Speaking of system integration, we will soon be launching Phase Two of our 20,000 Days Campaign following the conclusion of what looks to be a very successful First Phase. In order to select the interventions for Phase Two, we had a bit of fun with a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event. Before you view the video of this, I should point out that I really do talk about more than just the number of bed days and money saved (contrary to popular opinion)!
Finally, weight loss seems to be a recurrent theme on this blog as I endeavour to lose enough to fulfil my ambition of jumping out of a plane. Needless to say it’s still a work in progress for me, so it was with some envy that I watched my son, Owen, do precisely that for his 16th birthday last weekend. The only word he could say afterwards, and which I can repeat here, was “awesome”.
I look forward to talking to many of you at my ‘Coffee with the CEO’ event on Tuesday next week (May 14). All staff are welcome to drop in for morning tea with me in Room 106 in Ko Awatea between 10 – 11am. See you there.