Building a Base for Financial Sustainability

As we race into the next financial year, I’d like to take the opportunity to update you on the outcomes of the Financial Sustainability Taskforce and how it will inform our work in 2013/14.

As you may recall, we established the taskforce at the beginning of 2013 to evaluate revenue and savings opportunities across the organisation in order to break even in 2013/14, while continuing to meet increasing demand and without reducing our services. The taskforce spoke to staff in every pocket of the organisation about their ideas to help achieve this and then compiled a list of initiatives for us to focus on in this coming financial year.

Now that this phase of the work is complete, I really just want to thank you all for the incredible amount of work you’ve done to help us arrive at this point. Services, teams, managers and staff from every quarter of CM Health have contributed by identifying lots of things we could do differently or do better in order to ensure we continue to be financially sustainable and can concentrate on our core business of providing high quality care to our patients. Had it not been for your informed insights from the frontline and your expertise, many of these very promising ideas may well have been overlooked. So thank you for rallying round and taking the time to attend the forums, contact the taskforce or discuss potential solutions with your colleagues and managers. It is much appreciated.

One thing that has become really clear is that we are going to need to change our approach in order to consolidate a financially sustainable position this year. No longer can we look at individual silos and make them more efficient in order to bring about the savings or benefits we have seen in the past. We are already very, very efficient in our individual components.

The next leap we have to take is to think about how these components work together as a whole system. We are beginning to do some transformational thinking around this in all the areas of healthcare, including frail elderly care, mental health, surgery and medicine. Next up, we need to bring together a broad team of people from the hospital, Primary Care and other organisations such as NGOs to look at the system as a whole. In doing so, we will begin to see overlaps and duplication, costs that don’t need to be incurred, areas for new investment and other opportunities where we can improve on the status quo. The technical term for this is ‘Programme Budgeting’ (where a programme is an area of healthcare) and it’s one you will hear a lot more about in coming months. By being clear about what the best system looks like and redesigning it where required, we will begin to establish a truly financially sustainable base.

I also want to acknowledge that the answers do not always lie in inventing brand new solutions. We intend to draw on the great work done by the Canterbury District Health Board as well as connect with our own expertise and draw on the support of our partners like Sir Muir Gray. There’s wisdom in utilizing existing thinking and, as the saying goes, two heads are better than one.

A key part of this puzzle is the development of our new Information and Communication Technology strategy. As I blogged about a few weeks ago, through Project Swift we are looking to partner with New Zealand and/or international companies to develop world-leading technology solutions while sharing risks and rewards. This piece of work is on track and we are proposing to appoint and announce our new partner(s) towards the end of this year. I’m personally hugely excited about this as it will usher in a new chapter for CM Health which will see us utilize cutting-edge technology to improve our core business.  The potential here is huge and this project is definitely one to watch.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the magnificent victory of the Chiefs in this year’s Super 15 Rugby competition. Every Kiwi loves to see a New Zealand team triumph over our Australian cousins. And of course it goes without saying that part of the Chiefs’ catchment area is the lower half of Counties Manukau!  On a more serious note, though, if ever there was inspiration for continued success at the top level, it is this team who came back from behind to take the trophy for the second year running. It’s a timely reminder of just what’s possible as we work to build on our own successes in the year ahead.



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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