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Special Edition - 18 August 2022
In this edition
Stories from around the motu
Operational Updates

Tēnā koutou e ngā kaimahi,

This special edition of People Pānui celebrates the hard work and great initiatives happening around the motu. Read about remote patient monitoring, the Board Chair’s visit to Canterbury, a medical innovation developed by nurses – and much more!

Ngā mihi,
Communications and Engagement
Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand

Stories from around the motu

Te Whatu Ora Chair visits Waitaha Canterbury

Last week, Board Chair Rob Campbell spent time with the Waitaha Canterbury team at Christchurch Hospital.

Rob visited the Nursing Operations Centre before visiting Waipapa, the hospital’s acute services building and inpatient wards, to see the redevelopment work underway. He met with people from a range of roles to hear about their experiences of working in the health system.

“Behind every clinician is an army of people making sure the hospitals are clean, the technology works, people are fed and paid, and performing a host of other essential roles,” said Rob.

“I’m privileged to be able to meet some of the amazing people who keep our health system going, like the team at Waitaha Canterbury.”

Rob was particularly impressed by the honesty of the feedback he received about the reform process and current work and care issues.

“There is a lot to fix and a sense of urgency about change. We have to improve how we listen to and communicate with people throughout the system,” said Rob.
Chief Executives’ visit to Tairāwhiti

Last month, Margie and Riana visited Tairāwhiti, where they were joined by Bernard Te Paa, Chief Advisor for Māori at Manatū Hauora.

The trio visited iwi health providers Ngāti Porou Hauora and Tūranga Health and met with representatives from the Tairāwhiti Toitū Te Ora Partnership Board. The day ended with a visit to Gisborne Hospital for a presentation to Te Whatu Ora – Tairāwhiti staff.
Remote monitoring trials underway

Patients could spend less time in hospital, thanks to a new smart device that monitors patients’ vital signs from home.

Trials of the BioSticker, an FDA-approved wearable monitoring device, are underway in Counties Manukau and South Canterbury. The trials will assess the device’s effectiveness for patients in both rural and urban settings and whether the right processes are in place for clinicians to identify any required interventions.

BioStickers are 85 mm long, made of soft flexible material, and are worn on the left side of the chest. They capture medical-grade data, including skin temperature, heart rate and respiratory rates, body position, activity level and gait analysis, which is transmitted to local clinical teams in real time.

The technology has the potential to ease pressure on the health system and enable patients to stay in the comfort of their own home.

Ruth Kibble, Te Whatu Ora South Canterbury Project Sponsor, said that early feedback has been positive.

“What we are already hearing from our people in the study is that they’re feeling a lot more confident that they’re not needing to go to ED, or they’re accessing healthcare when they want to,” she said.

The trials are expected to run for six months and will involve up to 250 patients. As well as testing the device’s efficacy in a home setting, the trials will also identify the potential benefits for use across Aotearoa.
Nurses invent protype to protect babies’ skin

Most babies admitted to a neonatal unit require an intravenous catheter. The catheters are secured using adhesive dressings and plasters, which when removed can cause skin injury and scarring to the baby’s delicate skin.

When Neonatal Nurse Deborah Harris discussed this issue with colleagues from around the country, she discovered a range of makeshift solutions in use from Velcro to splints made of ice block sticks – none of which effectively solved the problem.

Desperate for a solution, Deborah reached out to design engineers MWMedical for help. Together they came up with the Pēpi Splint – a flexible silicone splint with mesh lining that can be used to hold a catheter in place. Plasters are attached to the splint rather than the baby's skin, which makes it easier to remove the plasters.

Results from initial trials have been positive, with 89% of babies who wore the device for up to 37 hours experiencing no adverse effects. The next step is for MWMedical to secure research support for further testing.
Radiology gets boost with new cutting-edge Biplane equipment

Last month, Wellington Regional Hospital opened a state-of-the-art Biplane Room that will help doctors provide faster treatment for strokes and aneurysms.

The new biplane machine provides highly detailed 3D images of the brain from multiple angles, which will help doctors determine the best treatment options and speed up neurological procedures.

Interventional Neuro Radiologist Dr Peter Caswell-Smith said the arrival of the biplane had been a long time coming and that he was eager to get his hands on the machine.

"[The machine] is the latest in biplane technology, so it is cutting edge, and when you are wanting to do things as fast as possible to get blood clots out, speed is everything. This is a very big step forward for Wellington and the region as we will be able to treat patients in a quicker and much safer way,” says Peter.

Waikato to reach employment milestone

Te Whatu Ora Waikato is on track to achieve its target of 12.5% Māori workforce by the end of this year – which will be a major milestone for enabling improved health outcomes and equity for Māori.

This outcome is due to the combined efforts of the Māori Workforce Governance Group and Operational Working Group, which comprise members from across the health services such as Te Puna Oranga, HR, allied health, hospital and community services. 

To support its Māori workforce, Te Whatu Ora Waikato recently launched the Whata Hub, a support network for Māori health staff to connect and share opportunities. Te Whatu Ora Waikato staff can find the Whata Hub on their intranet.

New Waikato hubs provide manaakitanga

Te Whatu Ora Waikato has helped establish twelve COVID-19 Care in the Community Hubs to coordinate the delivery of clinical and non-clinical care for whānau isolating in the community.

Community Hubs deliver a localised model of care, which better meets the social and cultural needs of Māori, Pasifika, and ethnic communities. These services are delivered by local providers who deliver exceptional manaakitanga and are trusted by their communities.
Manawai charts new course for long-term care.

Last month, a new purpose-built mental health and intellectual disability facility opened in Porirua.

Manawai, the National Individualised Service Unit (ISU), provides safe and secure care for people with significant mental health conditions and intellectual disabilities. It comprises six individual units – each with a spacious living area, kitchenette, ensuite, and private outdoor space.

Top honours for hospital balloon artist

For many years, Katrina Matich has been delighting visitors to Auckland’s North Shore Hospital with her stunning balloon installations.

On important occasions like Christmas and Easter, Katrina decorates the hospital’s foyers with her original designs – which she does in her spare time and without any help. An impressive achievement in its own right, but what makes it more remarkable is the fact that Katrina has no peripheral vision or depth perception.

And it’s not just visitors to the North Shore Hospital who are fans. Judges at this year’s World Balloon Convention in Las Vegas awarded Katrina top honours in the Small Structure category of the competition. She also won two people’s choice awards and second and third place in other categories.

Katrina works as a sustainability coordinator at Te Whatu Ora Waitematā. She probably knows the layout of the campus better than anyone, having memorised the number of steps in stairwells and the twists and turns in each hospital building.

Needless to say, given Katrina’s job title – all the balloons used in her displays are biodegradable and compostable.

Operational Updates

Download custom Microsoft Teams backgrounds

We’ve created branded backgrounds for Microsoft Teams.

They’re quick and easy to apply. You can find the files and instructions for download on your intranet, or email us at

Te Whatu Ora background:

Te Aka Whai Ora background:

Markerita Poutasi on Tagata Pasifika

Markerita Poutasi, Director for Pacific Health, joined Marama T-Pole to talk about the new health system. Check out the video below.
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