6 years can be ours

The logo for the 6 Hours Can Be Ours campaign
The ‘6 Hours Can Be Ours’ campaign

Many of you would have heard about the ‘6 Hours Can Be Ours’ Campaign and how we set ourselves an audacious goal of admitting, discharging or transferring 95% of patients from Emergency Care within 6 hours. It’s a story I love to tell at our welcome day for new staff, and I take great pride in telling people that we are the only DHB, indeed the only hospital in Australasia to have maintained this target for six years running, despite the relentless pressure on Emergency Care. This success comes down to the commitment of our staff – not just in Emergency Care, but throughout the Hospital.

The corridor signs have all been removed.  They now have a new home on the office filing cabinet!
The corridor signs have been removed. They now have a new home on the office filing cabinet!

One of the objectives we set for Emergency Care, six years ago was that it was no longer acceptable for patients to wait for long periods on stretcher beds, in public corridors. In fact if we look back to 2009, bed bays were marked out in the corridors by a series of numbers stuck on the wall – it was a chaotic scene. If the best thing we can do for people, who are at their most vulnerable is to treat them on a trolley bed in a corridor, we need to ask the question – are we doing our job properly? So six years ago we took down every one of those signs in the corridor and have never put them back! By working together, we delivered a ‘whole of system’ change that benefited our patients and our staff.

However, that’s not all we have achieved over the past six years. We continue to meet our six health targets (shorter stays in hospital, improved access to elective surgery, faster cancer treatment, increased immunisation, better help for smokers to quit and more heart and diabetes checks). We have led national initiatives such as Target CLAB Zero to eradicate CLAB (Central Line Associated Bacteraemia) from our hospitals. Campaigns such as 20,000 Days, ARI (At Risk Individuals) and hospital and community initiatives are tackling the challenge of chronic and long-term illness, with the aim of improving health and well-being for our most vulnerable populations.

These improvements and achievements are the result of many years of perseverance, hard work, capability building and relentless execution of excellence in order to be not just the best healthcare system in Australasia, but also the safest. The momentum we have built up is quite considerable and will serve us well as we strive to achieve even greater things in future.

Is all of this making the difference we want to see? As ever, the test for me is stopping to consider whether I would want to have a member of my family treated in our organisation. I’m extremely proud to say that the answer is a resounding yes, and I thank each and every one of you for all you do to make that happen.



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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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