The new Tiaho Mai

There has been a lot of discussion in the media in recent times about how we as a society and in particular how District Health Boards care for our mentally unwell. As a health board, we recognise the importance of treating our very unwell patients with the best, evidence-based therapeutic environment possible. To this end, I am very pleased to share with you the imminent start of the new Tiaho Mai. We will soon be moving some patients into other refurbished but temporary areas to allow for construction to begin over the next couple of months.

I am really proud of the team effort that has gone into the design principles of the new Tiaho Mai. Our staff have worked closely with service users, their families and have used design principles such as creating a welcoming sanctuary, a place for healing and recovery with lots of natural light and fresh air. The spaces will feel large and yet can be flexible, to cater for different patient needs.

Artists impression Tiaho Mai
Artists impression Tiaho Mai

Further, patients will feel safe – our most vulnerable patients or patients who are agitated and distressed will have areas beyond their own bedrooms where they can relax and not feel vulnerable. Currently, we do not have the space to provide for differing levels of acuity and differing phases of care, so the new building will go a long way to addressing these important needs.

Artists impression Tiaho Mai
Artists impression Tiaho Mai

Each patient will have their own room plus an en-suite which to me will be an enormous improvement. Families will be welcomed, including children so that patients need not feel isolated from their support base. We want to involve families as much as possible as they need to be a big part of the decision-making, support care planning and service delivery as their family member makes the steps towards recovery.

The staff will also feel positive benefits because of the fit-for-purpose spaces which support safe practice, team-based nursing, positive engagement with the service users and delivery of training programmes. The additional capacity and the lovely working environment will be important for staff retention and recruitment. Adverse events should be reduced because of the space, natural light and logical flows which will contribute to wellbeing. The strong partnership approach between service-users, staff and whaanau are key to achieving the best possible health outcomes.

Well done Team Tiaho Mai.


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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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