Excellent is not resting on your laurels

Andrew Connolly
Andrew Connolly

CM Health launched its refreshed strategy and values this month, and over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing stories from staff who live these values (Kind, Valuing everyone, Together and Excellent) in their day to day jobs.

Today, I’m joined by our Head of General Surgery, Andrew Connolly, to talk about what ‘Excellent’ means to him and his team.

The word ‘excellent’ can mean different things to different people, however for me, excellent means not resting on our laurels. We should always strive to do our best and constantly look at ways to improve health outcomes for each and every patient. In general surgery, we see that as a team effort, and we strive for excellence in all aspects of what we do.

So how do you achieve excellence? That’s a hard question to answer. I believe the first step is making sure everyone understands we all have a common purpose, and that’s keeping patients and families at the centre of everything that we do. This means involving patients and families in their care and being open with people, even when things may go wrong. We want to foster a culture where we learn from our failures and improve for the next time.   This also means not being afraid to make improvements, even when we are doing well.

A good example of this is the work we have been doing to reduce the length of stay for patients with gallbladder disease.   While CM Health has been leading the world in how we treat gallbladder disease we knew we could do better.   When we took a detailed look at each step in the patient’s journey, we discovered that if patients had an ultrasound scan earlier in their admission, quicker decisions could be made regarding treatment. By working with other departments, particularly Radiology, we have reduced the average length of stay by two days in under six months. That’s a great result.   General Surgery, has also been working closely with its colleagues in Theatre, Anaesthesia and Radiology to minimise clinical variation in the approach to gallbladder disease. This means if you get admitted on Monday, the approach to your gallbladder will be the same as if you were admitted on Tuesday or any other day of the week. It’s about consistency of care and better outcomes for our patients.

The other day a colleague asked me if we were planning to make further improvements. My reply was absolutely. There’s always room to do better. That’s what being excellent is all about

Andrew and Geraint

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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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