Paataka Place opens its doors

On Tuesday 7 February, Paataka Place opened its doors to the thousands of staff, visitors and patients who come through Middlemore Hospital every day. People were met with a modern and welcoming retail space with a range of shops which include Columbus Coffee, Elixir Expresso, little goodness, Subway, Send-a-Basket and Haumanu Pharmacy.

While I was ordering my coffee, I noticed the excited buzz of the staff around me, as they commented on how lovely it was to have a range of shops and eating places to choose from.

One lady said it was like being a kid in a candy store – there was so much on offer.
While I can assure you there was no candy in sight, I was delighted to see the range of healthy food and beverages available.

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First in the Family

Every day I hear stories that remind me why I love my job.  This week I met an impressive young woman whose story I would like to share.

Around seven years ago we set up the ‘Grow Our Own’ workforce programme aimed at supporting young people, Maaori and Pacific in our area, to consider a career in health with us.

The programme received a massive kick-start through our relationship with The Tindall Foundation who provided an investment in the early years of over $3 million. Sir Stephen Tindall also played a critical role to help sponsor the programme through these early stages.  This investment provided that platform for James Cook High School and Tangaroa College to come on board and enabled the creation of the Health Science Academies.

The Academies provide extra support in Science, Maths, and English to prepare students to gain entry to tertiary study, including medical school, as well as direct contact with doctors, nurses, and other clinicians in the health field. They also enabled us to showcase practical examples of the kind of work we do at Counties Manukau Health every day.

The key was to help these young people gain the relevant NCEA qualification to get into the right kinds of tertiary programmes that would ultimately led to a path back to us, with a guaranteed job once they qualified.

We understand that not every student would end up working with us. The programme not only cultivates new ambitions about a career in the health sector, but it can also lead students to a range of careers that these subjects can offer.

The rationale underpinning it was pretty simple – if we grow a workforce that reflects our community, then we can improve how we respond to our community and better meet their healthcare needs.

We know that attracting and developing talent to the health sector is a competitive business. We draw together people regionally, nationally and internationally to meet our growing workforce demands.

We also felt that investing in these young people would have a far wider reach in the community, as well as having a positive impact on their families. And that ultimately, if we’re successful, we would enable them to become the next generation of healthcare leaders in our community.

From little things, big things grow. ‘Grow Our Own’ is now working across the region, has received funding from the Government, and has been examined by other sectors to see what they might be able to replicate in their own communities.

It was therefore a hugely satisfying moment when I was having a coffee in Ko Awatea, clearing my emails, when a young woman came up and introduced herself. Her name was Fonoifafo.  Fono was part of our first cohort in the Health Science Academy at Tangaroa College, and that process inspired her into studying nursing.

She is the first crop of young people to complete the programme, and the first in her family to be university educated.  She is driven to support children and work in our community, and has been placed with our Kidz First Public Health Nursing Team.  The day she introduced herself was the first part of her induction into Counties Manukau Health as part of our 2017 Graduate Nurse intake. Throughout her studies, she also kept connected with Counties Manukau Health through Ko Awatea’s Handle the Jandal youth-led campaign.

I don’t know who was more proud.

It was satisfying to see something go from concept, to implementation, and now to see it transforming lives as we envisaged.

We’re privileged to have supported Fono to achieve her dreams. And she in turn has helped us make Counties Manukau Health a place that not only provides excellent healthcare, but also transforms the lives of those who work here.

Part of the inspiration for ‘Grow Our Own’ was my own experience. Back in the United Kingdom, I grew up in a place that was every bit as challenging as parts of our community with low levels of tertiary education, and even lower paid jobs for those who lived there.

I was lucky because a couple of people helped me. I ended up being the first person in my family to go to university. This education helped me transform my life, shaped my ambitions, and enabled me to have the life that I have today.

I can’t repay the people who helped me enough for their belief in me, but hopefully I can pay it forward to others. So thank you Fono for helping me achieve my dreams too.

What a great way to start the New Year. Thank you again Fono, and welcome to Counties Manukau Health.

Twas the week before Christmas

This is my last blog for 2016 and in the run up to Christmas, I’d like to thank you for your commitment and hard work this year.

Year after year, we strive to be one of the best performing DHB’s in the country, and 2016 is up there with the best. This was shown in our health targets, our collaborative campaigns and quality improvement initiatives, and the continued efforts of our staff who work on the frontline each and every day. While we have a lot to be proud of, we also know there is more to do if we are to achieve our goal of health equity.

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Community Central

I have regularly talked about the need to better integrate health services in our community and while we have a good sense of what is happening across the Hospital, thanks to Middlemore Central, we need a similar system in our community so we have an overview of where our patients are and the care they require. This is what Community Central aims to do. To tell us more I’m joined by Penny Magud, General Manager Eastern Locality and Pam Hill, Service Development Manager Community Central.

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The story of our District Health Board

Our Quality Accounts are just as important as our financial accounts. Where our financial accounts tell us how we are using our money, the Quality Accounts tell us a great deal about how we are living up to the ‘granny test’ and providing the care we would wish for our loved ones to receive. In my time here I have always said that clinical quality is the only game in town. At the end of the day providing safe and high quality care to our patients is a key priority and while the Quality Accounts tell us how we are doing, it also tells a great story about how we continue to improve the care we provide. That’s a huge testament to everyone’s hard work. To tell us more about the Quality Accounts I’m joined by Gloria Johnson, Chief Medical Officer and Jo Rankine, Quality Assurance Manager. Continue reading “The story of our District Health Board”

In service to our community

Today was the last meeting of our current Counties Manukau District Health Board, which means saying good bye to some great board members who have been guiding our DHB over the past few years. In particular I’d like to acknowledge the great work, support and leadership from Dr Lee Mathias, who has been our Chair for the past three years. It’s a real honour to hand over my blog to Lee to reflect on her time at CM Health.

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Looking out for one another

I want to use this blog to reflect on the recent earthquakes in Christchurch, Wellington and Bay of Plenty. For those affected, it’s been a deeply unsettling time, leaving physical, mental and emotional scars. I’ve only experienced one earthquake in my lifetime and that was in Wellington. I was at the airport at the time and heard this loud rumbling sound, followed by the flickering of lights. Everyone was silent and while it only lasted a few minutes, it was significant enough to rattle many of the people around me. While the latest earthquakes were on a larger scale than what I experienced, I think we tend to underestimate the physical and psychological impacts it can have – not just during the earthquake but in the weeks, months and years to follow. People have lost their lives, their homes, their livelihoods and their peace of mind. For many this is not the first time they have had to pick up the pieces and rebuild. In fact, in the past year, NZ has experienced 189 earthquakes and a thousand more aftershocks!

I’ve had a personal insight into the Christchurch earthquakes. As some of you know my daughter is in the Logistics Corps in the NZ army and was one of the first soldiers into Kaikoura with the relief convoy.

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