Risk management is everyone’s business

The Titanic is an extreme, yet useful example of what can happen when you don’t have a risk management plan in place. In 1912 the Titanic, the ship that many thought was unsinkable struck an iceberg and within three hours sunk to the bottom of the North Atlantic. An inquiry of why the titanic sunk identified three contributing factors: the men in the crow’s nest did not have any binoculars, poorly cast wrought-iron rivets caused the steel plates on the hull to come apart and the engines were underpowered to turn for the size of the ship. The result – they didn’t see the iceberg in time and when they did they couldn’t change direction fast enough. The unsinkable ship sank, because they hadn’t evaluated the risks properly.

As CM Health grows and develops, the need for risk management is becoming more and more important – not only to cover the big organisational challenges ahead but the important issues of patient care and safety.

Kerry Bakkerus
Kerry Bakkerus

That’s why CM Health appointed Kerry Bakkerus as Risk and Privacy Manager. It’s Kerry’s role to support the organisation to better understand the risks we face, improving the consistency, transparency and visibility around the risks we face to enable us to make better business decisions – at the right time and at the right level.

“Risk management is everyone’s business, from the CEO and senior leaders who help make key strategic decisions about how the health system works, the clinicians who weigh up the risks when deciding on the best treatment for their patients, to the cleaner who responds to hazards such as a spill on the floor, that could cause harm,” says Kerry. “We all have a role to play in delivering quality services while managing our risks. And that means being proactive, asking questions and stepping up when we see things that are or could be unsafe or a risk to people and the organisation. My aim for risk management is for it to be integrated into business as usual and to provide the tools, resources and training to ensure people can integrate risk management into their day-to-day practice.

“You may have heard Geraint say we need to do things differently in order to meet the challenges of our health system. Part of that is about ensuring our processes and business practices are at a high level. However that’s not going to happen unless we have high levels of risk maturity.

“Going back to the example Geraint used of the Titanic, my take away is that we all need to know where we are going and have the insight to plan for and manage any risks that come our way. We also have to power up the organisation for change so  it can change direction effectively.  Lastly we must ensure that managing our risks sits at the heart of everything we do. By being proactive and thinking ahead, we will ensure our risk management systems are strong and robust.   It’s helping to pave our way to a more secure future.”

Geraint and Kerry

For more information on risk management contact Kerry via email:  Kerry.Bakkerus2@middlemore.co.nz  

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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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