Community Nurses And Doctors Recognised With Awards Of Their Own

The Northland Health and Social Innovation Awards are returning in November this year. This time around, primary healthcare workers are being recognised with their own category and four distinct awards.

The last healthcare awards, in 2014, recognised around 20 groups and individuals who were innovative in responding to issues including SUDI, de-escalating conflicts and better health and safety in the workplace.

This year, on top of awards for Hauora Māori, quality and improvement and social innovation, everyone involved in primary healthcare has an opportunity to be nominated to receive one of four awards recognising innovation, leadership, collaboration and implementing research as relevant to primary healthcare.

Northland Primary Health Organisations Quality Leader Chris Sapwell said because the 160 General Practice doctors and 163 General Practice Nurses across Northland are such a large part of the health workforce, “It is timely that these practitioners are included and given an opportunity to be recognised for their significant contribution to improving health in our communities.”

In addition to general practice in the community there are non-governmental organisations and Māori health providers also providing innovative and exciting health care initiatives for the people of Northland.

Chris said those working in both Manaia Health and Te Tai Tokerau PHOs areas are required to be innovative, particularly in rural health situations where general practitioners and nurses often work with limited resources and to the top of their professional scope. The general practitioners in the Mid and Far North work collaboratively to offer their communities healthcare 24 hour/ 7 days a week, demonstrating their desire to meet the health needs of the rural population, often at the expense of personal time during weekends and evenings. 

“Examples of our innovation could include the way we use technology to deliver professional development and facilitate communication and meetings from the PHO bases in either Kerikeri, Kaitaia or Whangarei.

“Another example is PHO immunisation outreach workers travelling to remote communities, often in 4WD vehicles, to ensure children recieve their immunisations on schedule and provide contact with health services for the whole family and wider community.

“The Northland PHOs continue to explore ways to get creative with the way we deliver services in order to meet the needs of the community and reduce the inequity of health outcomes for our people.”

General Practices are very innovative and often lead health care initiatives. There is well documented evidence connecting dental caries in children with ill health in later life and one of the most exciting examples of innovation is Raumanga Medical Centre coating children’s teeth with protective paint thereby reducing one factor of poor health later on in life.

Another example of innovation is the use of the Diabetes Conversation Maps group self-management tool used by the Bush Road Medical Centre.  The medical centre runs twice monthly meeting with patients, promoting self-management of their diabetes and general health and wellbeing.  These meetings are facilitated by diabetes resource nurses based at the practice.

Manaia PHO Quality Projects and Administration manager, Mihi Stephens said because the culture of nurses and doctors is “all about the community and all about the patients” the awards are an opportunity for primary healthcare workers to celebrate themselves and their peers.

Innovation is about reflecting what the community ask for as opposed to “this is what we’re doing to you or for you,” Chris said.

“We try to be very much engaged with our consumers, and the primary health workforce works alongside Māori health providers, pharmacists, NGOs, other community-based healthcare providers. These include the nursing, medical and allied health teams from the District Health Board.

“We’re increasingly trying to focus on the entire health system being streamlined and cohesive and working strategically together with the aim of making the journey through the health system a good experience. There should be a link between all these health agencies and that link should be the patient, their whanau and the community.”

Te Tai Tokerau PHO chief executive Rose Lightfoot and Manaia Health PHO Interim chief executive Mary Carthew say they are “delighted” that an opportunity to recognise healthcare workers’ innovation has come about.

Nominations are open until Friday September 23.

The 2016 Northland Health and Social Innovation Awards will be held at Toll Stadium 6pm on Saturday November 26. Nominations for the many sub-categories within each of the four main categories can be found here:

Primary Health Care Innovation Awards
Hauora Māori Awards
Quality & Improvement Awards
Social Innovation Awards

The full list of 2014 Northland Health and Social Innovation awards can be found here.

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