The facts and nothing but the facts

Most of the time I love my job, but there are moments where I want to bang my head against a brick wall and scream. I’m sure many of you can relate, and because it helps to get things off my chest, I’m sharing my story in my blog.

Some of you may have come across a recent article in the paper that reported CM Health is facing a predicted funding shortfall of $100m. Apart from the fact that this is incorrect, what really annoys me is the effect this has on staff. On the one hand people hear that CM Health is doing really well and then suddenly we are in deficit. These mixed messages can cause people to unduly worry. The purpose of this blog is to set the record straight.  So let me take you back to what happened.

Earlier this year the Board held a public meeting, to review the next financial year. At this meeting we talked about all the things we would like to do in the next three years, plotted against the money we have. As you can imagine there is always a gap between the two. We also factor in our ongoing growth, so it’s not surprising we can’t do everything on our wish list. Long story short, we have to prioritise, come up with a balanced budget and deliver it, as we do every year.

The journalist, who was at this public meeting, misunderstood this pre-prioritisation difference and reported that we had a deficit of $35m in 2015-16. As this was part of a three-year plan, stretching out to 2018, this meant we had a deficit of $100m in this current financial year 2015-16. And no I don’t understand his logic either. He certainly did not talk to us to check his facts, or ask for a comment, which would have clarified the mistake.

So just to be clear ….

  • We don’t have a deficit. If CM Health was in $100m deficit – you would know about it!
  • For the last three years and including this year we will have delivered a surplus of $3m a year – despite the fact we faced some really big financial challenges.
  • Each year we prioritise our initiatives and balance our budget through good management.

One thing I really want to emphasise is how we have managed to perform so well and it comes down to the amazing people who work here.

Every year you have worked methodically to improve quality, reduce costs and work smarter. And every year, we create an environment where people feel empowered to improve patient care and the way they work. I have always been hugely impressed with how much we have been able to do by just working smarter.

As a result we are able to balance our finances, deliver a surplus and continue to be a high performing DHB.

I’m very proud to be your CEO.

As for the article in the paper, we have written to the editor, explaining the facts and nothing but the facts.





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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s