A few weeks ago, one of our Senior Clinical Psychologists, Dr Jo Soldan, wrote a Team Counties Blog post entitled ‘Keep Calm, Winter is Coming’ about preparing for winter. This topic has been on my mind lately as we come to the end of the financial year, the weather takes a downturn, winter demand starts rising and I sense people around the organisation are under more pressure than normal.

At such times, I think it’s incredibly important to do two things.

Firstly, for me to say a heartfelt thank you to you all. We live in a very pressurized, challenging environment where we get most things right and are getting more and more things better. I know that doesn’t happen by accident but through the contribution you all make each day. Especially at this slightly gloomy, frazzled time of year, I really do want you to know that it is very much appreciated.

Now more than ever, it’s also important to be easy on yourself and take care. Preparing for winter doesn’t just mean stocking up on Vitamin C tablets but making sure you take the time to look after yourself and keep your life in balance.

I had to remind myself of this over the last week, when I was extremely busy here, there and everywhere, including flying to Australia and back for work. I felt firsthand what it is to miss family, miss your life’s normal rhythm and crave some ‘domestic bliss’.

So with my own advice in mind, I spent part of my weekend having some valuable one-on-one time with my son. He loves Vietnamese food so on Friday night we went out to a Vietnamese restaurant and then saw the new Star Trek movie in 3D. The next morning, we dressed up warm to watch his school rugby team play. My son has an injury so can’t play himself at the moment, but standing on the sideline to cheer on his mates was definitely the next best thing.

When you’re pulled in every direction by work, ensuring you have normal domestic time with the people you love is so important. For me, it’s incredibly valuable to spend some time with my growing son by standing on a muddy pitch in wet weather and just doing the whole father and son thing. For a few hours, I got to forget about saving bed days, waiting lists and being the best healthcare system in Australasia by 2015, and just be me. It’s the best antidote I know of for a busy and challenging 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.

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