One service, two sites

21:12, Jun 10 2014

As part of a Marlborough Express series into the top of the south review into surgical services, Heather Simpson looks at the increased management presence at Wairau Hospital.

It shouldn't matter in which hospital certain senior clinical managers work, as long as they can do their job, Nelson Marlborough's health boss has said.

A surgical services review recommends greater Nelson Marlborough Health Board and management presence at Wairau Hospital.

Board chief executive Chris Fleming said it would not equate to more board members walking around the hospital.

The board had already made three key senior manager appointments in medicine, nursing and surgery at Wairau to ensure clinical issues were addressed quickly.

During the compilation of the draft report, clinicians in general surgery told the authors there was a strong feeling that there was no significant management representation in Wairau and they therefore had no input about things which affected them.


They were of the opinion that decisions were imposed and not discussed.

At the time of initiating the review, the board met in Blenheim once in three months, all senior appointments to the board were in Nelson and the executive team only met in Nelson.

The board has already appointed an associate medical officer, associate director of nursing and a service manager for surgical services based at Wairau.

In addition to the appointments, the executive leadership team would alternate its meetings between Nelson and Blenheim to create a higher degree of presence.

Fleming said it was important the public saw it was one health service, across two sites.

"I don't think people care where managers live, they have to do the job," Fleming said.

He did not believe in separate management teams for each hospital: "I totally resist that because I don't believe that provides the impetus of leadership for one service, two sites. That reinforces them-and-us parochialism."

The appointment of a Blenheim-based service manager for surgical services was not a token appointment for Wairau, Fleming said.

"Governance should be constantly challenging us. Governance will be driving and pushing us to challenge status quo strategically into not accepting performance for performance' sake."

Fleming said he spent more time in Nelson but it wasn't an issue.

"I don't think it is particularly important that everyone has direct access to every individual person, what's important is that clinical issues . . . at Wairau are addressed quickly and in the most appropriate way as it is in Nelson, and what do we do to put to leadership in place to create that environment."

The Marlborough Express