Happy New Year

Happy New year and welcome back. I hope that you, like me have had a great break and are looking forward to the new challenges that this year will bring.

We reached some other very important decision points at the end of the year which we will build on this year. The pace of change will increase this year as we put some key initiatives in place – including the key areas of localities and community hubs, in particular redesigning integrated care and how we can improve our use of technology to modernise out-patient and referral practices.

Last year we did a lot of important work looking at the integration of community health services, Project SWIFT to enable change through technology and setting in place the funding for our new Tiaho Mai, to name just a few projects. Through fantastic team collaboration, real change has been made across general practice, community and hospital services. Now over 17,000 people with long-term conditions now have a goal-based shared care plan that means they have more planned and proactive care.

To better support people to recover well at home, we launched re-ablement services for people with moderate to complex needs who have the potential to benefit from 2-6 weeks of functional home assistance and community-based rehabilitation. Our integrated care initiatives will continue to be a major part of our strategy in 2016 to provide more community-based services closer to where people live and to enable them to be a part of their health team. .

Our work in 2015 confirmed that we need flexible models of care that connect patients, primary care practitioners, community clinicians, and specialists together. When the whole (virtual) team can plan care together based on real-time clinical information – including test results and images – we will have a world class health service which is more person-centred and efficient. We’ve already got some of these integrated care components in place through e-referrals, e-shared care, dynamic clinical pathways and similar systems, but 2016 will be the year that we commit to doing things differently and at a greater scale.

We will also build upon the work we did last year around patient safety and the patient experience. We have a great reputation in this area and I want to take this to the next level. I also want us to keep our values refresh in mind – these values are really important to us and I want to firmly embed them into our organisation.

I am also acutely aware that last winter stretched us all personally and professionally as we experienced huge demands for our services. When the hospital is busy so are our general practices and other community-based services. The review of the past winter which has been underway for some time is looking at ways of reducing demand as well as identifying how best to manage the winter surge safely for patients, whaanau, families and staff.

I will keep you updated as these initiatives are implemented, but some of these include;

* Reducing demand initiatives including admission avoidance and discharge facilitation and increasing the use of POAC.

*Increasing in the number of patients using the discharge lounge and an increase in early discharge. We have also increased nurse-led discharges, particularly on the weekends.

*The Surgical Assessment Unit (SAU) trial that started in July 2015 saw fewer patients admitted to the wards and more patients discharged home directly from EC. We expect that now that this unit is fully embedded, more benefits will be gained during winter 2016.

*Locality-based winter initiatives have helped to reduce demand specifically in Franklin, indicating the opportunity to extend these initiatives in areas of high volume areas such as Mangere and Manurewa.

*Increased investment in staff and equipment made in 2015 is expected to provide increased capacity for winter 2016.

*Detailed bed capacity planning and forecasting initiatives across the services are central to our ability to actively plan and manage demand and capacity for winter 2016.

*Optimising theatre utilisation analysis undertaken throughout 2015/16 is expected to enable more timely access to theatres and also help to increase capacity to reduce pressure during the winter period.

These are just some of the improvements and initiatives we have or are putting into place. As we finalise our plans for the next four years over the next few weeks we will be embarking on a major communications exercise to ensure you are fully informed and involved.

As ever, I would emphasise that your views, insights and suggestions are vital and invaluable to ensuring we make the right changes – so please get in touch.

But most importantly, thanks to you all for an incredible job well done in 2015 and I look forward to a really exciting 2016.

For me personally, it has been a year of growth – well the reverse actually! After losing a lot of weight, I am raring to go. I have joined the gym and want to reclaim my fitness. This is my New Year’s resolution. I will be most interested to hear what New Year’s resolutions you may have and also what you think our resolution as an organisation should be. Please give it a bit of thought and let me know via email


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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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