Being CEO – Seven Years On

I’ve been down to Wellington a few times in the last week and have greatly enjoyed the inevitable introductions at the various meetings I’ve attended. For the first time ever, I’ve been able to introduce myself as Geraint Martin, CEO of Counties Manukau Health in Counties Manukau, home of the Ranfurly Shield (much to the annoyance of my Hawke’s Bay equivalent, Dr Kevin Snee, and our own Jenni Coles, who was brought up in the Hawkes Bay). I am, however, mindful of the need to get this blog post up before the weekend. As Otago found out, you never know what might happen with the log o’ wood!

Making these introductions also made me reflect on the fact that I have now been CEO at CM Health for almost seven years. There’s no doubt that a lot has changed in that time but also that there’s so much more we can do.

This became clear to me at the first Staying Connected Quarterly Staff Forum that was held yesterday at Ko Awatea. We talked about the annual plan, our financial challenges going forward and also how we will use the Localities approach to reshape how the health system works. As I listened to the speakers, I was aware of just what an effective platform we have built over the last few years to rise to the complex challenges we face. We have made huge inroads into working more closely with our Primary Care colleagues, there have been significant improvements in our elective surgery volumes while at the same time we have ensured our Emergency Department runs smoothly so that no one is treated in the corridor, and we have led national work to eradicate CLAB infections from New Zealand hospitals. We’ve seen huge improvements in the quality of care we are providing, culminating in reductions in areas like falls and pressure sores, and Middlemore having the lowest standardized hospital mortality rate in Australasia for the last six months, as measured by the Health Round Table. There’s no doubt that the quality of our work is increasing and that we are doing more and more of it.

We can also now say that our facilities match this quality as we look to open the Clinical Services Building at Middlemore. All in all, the past seven years have been incredibly rewarding and I really do believe it is within our grasp to be the best health system in Australasia by the end of 2015.

The incredible journey I’ve been on over the last seven years has not been one I’ve travelled alone and I really do want to thank you all for the incredible hard work you all do on a daily basis. I really am humbled and privileged to be CEO of this great organisation and to be able to work for you in what I consider to be the best job in the health system in New Zealand.

When I started at CM Health, I committed myself to 10 years in this organisation because I knew we were going to have to go on a big change journey and I had no right to ask the organisation to do that without also committing myself. Even when I reach that 10 year milestone, I still think I’ll have a lot more to do. And I’m heartened to know that you share this drive. During the staff forum there was a real sense that we are on a journey half completed and that, as the saying goes, we have gone too far not to go further. It was very heartening for me to observe the optimism and appetite for change in the room.

CM Health is an incredibly special place to work and I’m reminded of that on a daily basis. I’m no longer ‘fresh off the boat’ but a New Zealand citizen who is proud to call this corner of the world home. I get to see the world now through a Kiwi lens and there’s no denying that it is an exceptionally good view.

Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment.



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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