The Minister in Cyberspace

Recently we were thrilled to welcome the Minister of Health, the Honourable Tony Ryall, to Middlemore Hospital and Ko Awatea. The Minister came to South Auckland to launch a Rheumatic Fever project but was also keen to pop in and hear about some of the amazing work that’s been happening at CM Health over the past year.

We used the opportunity to talk about our approach to Rheumatic Fever and to showcase some of our achievements with System Integration and the development of Locality Clinical Partnerships, as well as the success of our 20,000 Days campaign. It was a very positive meeting and the Minister left most impressed by the work you are all doing in leading health system redesign so that we are both excellent and sustainable in future. In fact, he asked us to prepare a brochure on 20,000 Days which he will be sending to all district health boards nationwide in order to spark national interest around this very innovative, and successful, campaign. This is an enormous credit to everyone involved. Well done.

It was also a great pleasure to escort the Minister around the new Clinical Services Building (CSB). He pointed out that, excluding the rebuild of Christchurch Public Hospital, the CSB is the Government’s largest single capital investment into healthcare. It was a great reminder of just how much investment has come into Middlemore over the past decade or so, and how it has enabled us to develop state of the art facilities to significantly improve the way we deliver care.

The Minister’s visit also emphasized just how small the world has become. During his time with us, we showed him the video we’ve developed to visually explain our System Integration programme. After leaving Middlemore, he took to Twitter to share the video link:

Tony Ryall Tweet

Within a couple of hours, this had been retweeted by people across the globe, including Professor Chris Ham, the Chief Executive of the King’s Fund in London. From there, I got an email from the Department of Health in the UK asking permission to use it. It was going viral, and not in the way we in health normally think of! This extraordinary and almost instantaneous response brought home just how interconnected the world has become and how easy it is to share great ideas globally.

This reminds me that we’re also busy counting down to another global networking and sharing opportunity, with mere weeks to go until this year’s APAC Forum. APAC 2013 promises to build on last year’s success, with more people from more places coming to our doorstep to learn from each other and spark innovative ideas and solutions. Next week I’ll be blogging with Jonathan Gray to tell you more about this exciting event and the world-class speakers we have lined up.

As I ponder our sense of global connection and the small world in which we live, I’m also reminded of this blog. Every time someone signs up to follow it via email, I receive a notification. Much to my surprise, it’s not just Kiwis who are reading it – there are followers in all corners of the globe: the UK, USA and even Sudan! It’s fantastic but does leave me feeling like there’s quite an audience watching, whether I’m blogging about CM Health’s success or my terrible terrier!

Speaking of which, Lottie has a spring in her step and loves meeting other dogs on the beach. Of course, this has spin-offs for me too as I’m sure taking the dog for a long walk is helping my ongoing efforts to lose weight and have a MiddleNOmore. Lottie remains utterly mischievous although she is making some slow progress. She’s stopped chasing the cat and we’ve also enrolled her in puppy class. Needless to say, she’s given plenty of homework. Thanks Heather from the Howick Home Health Care team for your advice on this.

Finally, good luck to our Board Chair, Professor Gregor Coster, who is currently in Europe representing New Zealand in triathlon. I’m sure you join me in sending him our best wishes.



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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