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.
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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