Reflecting on a Busy Time

As several staff around the organisation will confirm, we’ve had a hectic few weeks lately with several important events happening in a relatively short space of time.

It started with the 75th Anniversary of the New Zealand Health System, which took place in Ko Awatea. Co-hosted by Ko Awatea, the University of Otago’s Centre for Health Systems and the School of Government at Victoria University, the event brought together policy makers and clinicians to celebrate 75 years of this country’s health system and talk about its relevance today. As we reflected on how far we’ve come and how far we have to go, there were some remarkable conclusions drawn, chief among which was that the founding principles of New Zealand’s health system are not only still relevant today but also remain incredibly innovative, even by modern standards. It’s often forgotten that New Zealand was the first country in the world to establish a healthcare system based on need rather than ability to pay which, as an overseas expert remarked, is the mark of a truly civilized society. It’s yet another example of New Zealand leading the world and being ahead of its time.

The 75th Anniversary event was followed by the APAC Forum. Over 1000 people from 22 countries came together to share their work and knowledge about improving patient care, and to find out what we’re doing right here in Counties Manukau. It was a fabulous few days and we were honoured to have some of the world’s healthcare leaders share their expertise with us, all while applauding the work of CM Health. I was extremely proud to see speakers reference CM Health projects and campaigns alongside other examples of leading-edge innovation from around the world.

APAC raised several issues, the most important of which is a topic I’ve blogged a lot about recently: putting the patient at the heart of what we do and bringing compassion back to healthcare. Much of the debate at the forum was around how we best do that in order to ensure that tragedies, like that at England’s Stafford Hospital, do not happen again. My hope is that the forum’s 1000 delegates each speak to 10 friends, family or colleagues about what they learned so that, through APAC, we’ve started a global conversation involving 10,000 people. Knowing that the ideas and passion generated right here in Auckland are helping improve patient care worldwide undoubtedly makes the hectic nature of the last few weeks worthwhile.

Of course, we’ve also recently see the America’s Cup draw to an end. Although it was enormously disappointing, the regatta was a superb competition and I think there was a clear victor in the hearts and minds of the crowd, even if this result wasn’t reflected on the water. One of the key lessons I’ve taken from the sailing is the importance of never giving up. Team New Zealand’s gritty determination inspires us all to persevere, both at work and in our other endeavours. In my case, I’m harnessing my best patience and perseverance to toilet train Lottie. Despite completing puppy training and employing various other methods, it still feels a lot like being 8 – 1 down with unfavourable odds!

Toilet training trouble aside, one of my key reasons for getting a dog was to ensure we exercise regularly. With that in mind, I’d like to refer you to a video which Maureen Bisognano, CEO and President of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and keynote speaker at APAC, shared at the forum. Head over to You Tube when you’re at home and check out the video entitled ‘Let’s Make Our Day Harder’ by docmikeevans. It’s about making your life harder by bringing physical activity back into your daily routine and is both entertaining and powerful.

As CM Health staff may have seen over group email, I’m now away for a couple of weeks. In my absence, some of APAC’s keynote speakers will kindly be contributing posts to this blog which I’m sure you will enjoy reading. They’ll also be joined by an update from Acting CEO, Ron Pearson. All new posts will be advertised in the Daily Dose as usual.

All the best for the next few weeks,



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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