Dancing with the real ‘stars’

Last month, I was fortunate to be introduced to Winnie, an extraordinary lady, who had recently celebrated her 100th birthday. While this is an incredible feat, it seems reaching the grand old age of 100 seems to be more common these days.

What impressed me most about Winnie was the love, care and devotion of Laura, her daughter and full-time carer. Hearing the personal sacrifices her daughter made was a humbling experience. Laura explained how she gave up her job when her mother required constant care. There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of Laura’s doing this throughout New Zealand.

It was particularly gratifying to see the interaction between a carer and the professional support that enabled Winnie to have a reasonably high quality of life in her twilight years. Her daughter was able to take regular breaks and the equipment installed in the home enabled Winnie to move around safely. Her home had also been insulated, thanks to the work being done by Warm Up Counties.

This case illustrates how CM Health is working towards providing excellent and coordinated care across services. Our approach to linking up services was recently acknowledged in a report titled: Acute Hospital & Integrated Care. From Hospitals to Health Systems, by the internationally respected Kings Fund. This report recognised the sterling work we have done to reduce rheumatic fever among Maaori children.

The coming months and years will see Counties Manukau increasingly link community health and hospital services to deliver more coordinated and effective patient care.

In Winnie’s case, the support and care from her daughter, together with her CM Health support team helped one elderly lady stay at home, happy and contented. A lasting memory of my time with Winnie was just before I stood up to leave. She insisted that she danced with me, so took me gently by the hand and, with a twinkle in her eye, proceeded to dance with me around her small lounge, with an energy and determination that defied her years. And when she sat down she whispered into my ear, “I just kicked your butt young man!”



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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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