The True Colours of Team Counties

One of the fun things I get to do as CEO is attend events, including the many blessings we have held recently for parts of the new Harley Gray Building (CSB) at Middlemore Hospital. During my tenure at CM Health, I’ve been to countless blessings but one I attended recently really stands out from the rest. I’m talking, of course, about the blessing for the new home of our Non Clinical Support Services staff.

Instead of simply having the speeches and karakia which are customary at blessings, the department decided to turn it into a real celebration of who we are at CM Health. And what a celebration it was! The 400 or so staff in our Non Clinical Support Services (who work as cleaners, orderlies, linen and uniform staff, and in the mail room, telephone exchange or administration offices) represent at least 10 different nationalities and the blessing was designed to reflect and celebrate that diversity, while also having a lot of fun. I managed to present a greeting in 16 different languages and (sadly) still miss out on a couple of greetings that represented some of the nationalities in the room.

All in all, the celebration was one of vibrancy, colour and excitement as we were entertained by dancing, singing and cultural performances. Unfortunately some of the entertainment was at my expense as I proved without a shadow of a doubt that CEOs can’t dance. On previous occasions, I’ve always avoided situations where I might be pulled up to the dance floor. Non Clinical CSB Blessing 2For instance, when the Fanau Ola celebration was held in Ko Awatea earlier in the year, I quietly absented myself when I saw the Cook Island dancers arriving. This time, however, it wasn’t Cook Islanders who got me but some Samoans (as a Welshman I am used to getting out-manoeuvred by Samoans). As you can see in these photos, I joined in the dancing and despite it all, thoroughly enjoyed myself. It really was a splendid example of the fun that can be had when you simply celebrate who you are and be yourself.

Non Clinical CSB BlessingIf you’re anything like me, you’ll be looking forward to Christmas and maybe even to the year ahead. I will post a final blog for the year later this week but for now I just want to reflect on the many new beginnings 2014 will bring for us with a new Board and Chairwoman, the new Harley Gray Building opening and no doubt some new challenges too. Right now, when we’re all concentrating on simply crossing the finishing line for 2013, contemplating those challenges can seem daunting but I really took heart from the spirit shown at the Non Clinical Support Services blessing. The event filled me with a real sense of optimism, fun and joy for life. Thank you Team Counties for showing me your many and varied true colours. They are simply spectacular.



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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