Ask Geraint Anything

Questions for March/April

What is your favourite Manic Street Preachers album and what do you think happened to Richie?

  • Favourite album is Postcards from a Young Man and I think Richie is working in a fish and chip shop in Tawharanui

Mick or Keith (rolling stones)?

  • I’d have to say Keith, as like me he doesn’t like mornings!

What was your vision for CM Health when you first arrived, and how has this changed?

  •  I came to CM Health because of the people and the potential for creating a health system that provides the best health care locally and in NZ.  This vision hasn’t changed.

What is my pet hate?

  • Glad wrap – because it always sticks to itself!

Best job I have had?

  • CEO CM Health

Why is the entire recruitment team shut down over 2 weeks at Xmas when we are supposed to be running a 24 hour 7 day service?

  • Last year we had a skeleton team working up until the 23rd evening December. It is my expectation that we would operate again up until the 23rd (Friday) this year. It’s too close to call at this stage but there may be the possibility to provide further support between the 28th- 30th December

I am interested to know if there are any plans to improve the roading configuration outside the western campus carpark building and if not is it possible to look at this?

  • We have agreed in principle with Kiwi Rail to provide a small sliver of land in order to extend their rail network to include a third line. This action, when it happens will completely change the movement and routes of traffic on the western campus. Future entry and exit will be from the western end of Orakau Road. There is also likely (but not yet agreed) to be increased parking capacity on this site with another multi-storey development with a bridge across the rail and road from the car park level 1 or 2. This will ensure safer pedestrian flow. Vehicular traffic flow however will be more complex especially at the western end of Orakau Road as peak hospital traffic coincides with school traffic (vehicular and pedestrian) from the college and general public traffic. Traffic light controls will be required to and from the car park synchronised with traffic lights at the T junction. This is really a job for Auckland Transport and Transport Engineers and Planning as Orakau Road is not the property of Middlemore Hospital. The interim solution is increased signage and vehicle velocity control – which we have installed already.

Do we pay any of our employees less than the living wage?

  • We currently have 608 employees (or 8% of our workforce) that are on pay steps, which are less than the living wage of $19.25. This, however, belies the opportunity for these staff to earn in excess of the living wage through additional income linked to penal rates (for working nights, weekends and public holidays) and allowances, which include meal allowances and on-call allowances to name a few. There are also opportunities for staff to move through the grading system as they extend and develop the scope of their role. The majority of these employees are either cleaners or orderlies, with over 400 employees covered by collective agreements. FYI, the living wage is currently $19.25 and the minimum wage is $14.75.

Do we require our contractors to pay a minimum of the living wage?

  • We do not currently require contractors to pay their staff the living wage, but we do expect contractors to meet their statutory obligations, this would include paying staff the minimum wage. I would want any agenda for contractors to reflect priorities we have for our own staff.

Any plans afoot about this?

  • CM Health is actively engaged in understanding the needs of staff through a health and well-being survey and developing a workforce data warehouse, which will give us a better understanding of our workforce, which will include patterns of work and pay. We are also in the process of launching a People Strategy, which outlines a comprehensive CM Health wide people and workforce agenda, which supports us in being an employer of choice and a high performing organisation. Pay is only one part of that agenda.

I’m happy with my work contract and conditions, why can’t I have a very modest 2 percent pay rise? What needs to occur to make this happen?

  • As mentioned above there are opportunities for staff to move through the grading system as they extend and develop the scope of their role.  I suggest checking with your Manager re the process involved.

In 2008 I queried why staff ethnicity did not reflect local demographics. In response you mentioned how you and others hoped to improve this situation. How is CM Health doing on this one?

  • We have made some great strides in this area.  All will be revealed in an up and coming blog.

I do like working for your organisation. I have always marvelled at ‘Middlemore’. What do you think is unique about your DHB?

  • If I were to sum up what makes our DHB unique, I’d have to say it’s the people and their ‘can do attitude’ to anything that comes their way. As a CEO this is the best job I’ve had and that’s due to the great culture we have at CM Health.  I could go on, however I’m sure you were after a short answer

This may seem trivial question but I recently noted the coffee at Delimarche in the corridor by ED, had changed its previously fair trade coffee brand to another – not fair trade. It would seem to me that Middlemore Hospital should set an ethical example and have fair trade coffee at all outlets. I’m asking you as I don’t know who else to approach…

  • Wishbone is the only area that currently provides Fair Trade coffee, however the Compass Group- Medirest who provide coffee/beverages across the remaining staff and visitor areas (coffee carts and staff café) are keen to look at ways to improve their practice and meet customer expectations, for example no longer use foam clams for take away food. Discussions in the future will include the possibility of providing Fair trade coffee.  Plans are also underway to upgrade the retail space and suppliers will be asked to meet environmental and ethical criteria

Would you accept a challenge from me? The silent leadership challenge is on the 5th August 2016 and supports awareness of hearing loss – a disability that affects many New Zealanders young and old. I think you would make a big impact!

  • I would love to accept the challenge

What do you do in your spare time?

  • In my spare time I enjoy spending it with my family and outside in the garden.  If you have any good gardening tips please let me know.

What’s your favourite meal?

Who would I invite to dinner?

  • Comedians Eddy Izzard and Rhod Gilbert

Favourite place in NZ?

  • Milford Sounds

Biggest regret?

  • Not being good enough to play rugby for Wales

Do you have a question?  Leave a comment below or 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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