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As the fourth smallest of NZ’s 20 District Health Boards we certainly are punching above our weight.
We see our compact size as a significant strength.
A claim which is borne out through our consistent top end rankings across Ministry of Health targets for DHB’s, our success in maintaining services within budget year, and our closely knit informal working environment which enables better interdisciplinary communication. But most important to us is our high standard of patient/client care and enviable access to services for our local community. This is possible thanks to our genuine commitment and focus across all levels of our organisation.
Timaru is our base of operations and the largest town within South Canterbury district (29,000 population approximately). From here we run Timaru Hospital, Timaru Mental Health Services, along with Primary & Community Health Services.
We certainly are not adverse to being pioneers either. South Canterbury DHB was the first in NZ to adopt, and subsequently roll out to other DHB’s, the ‘Strengths Recovery Model’ across our entire Mental Health Service. More recently we have established an integrated Primary & Community Service.
This was another first for the country where leadership, development and coordination is under the single umbrella of the service, rather than the more common DHB/ Primary Health Organisation model.
This service has responsibility for working directly with all of our district’s primary and community service providers, including General Practices, Pharmacies, Primary Mental Health, Public Health, as well as direct management responsibilities for the primary and community services we provide as a District Health Board, such as District, Palliative, and Public Health Nursing.
This is why we continue to attract motivated and professional people particularly those who are seeking to achieve a genuinely sustainable work/life balance. Here your career and personal expectations can readily be realised. It is not unusual staff new to our DHB and district to comment that that everything has exceeded their expectations. Timaru is considered to be ‘a hidden gem’ or ‘best kept secret’ in terms of a lifestyle that complements career challenges.
Don’t just take our word for it, listen to what some of our staff have to say.
“People come out to New Zealand because of the ability to bring up their kids in a good way. I love it - I wouldn’t move anywhere else. We don’t have tremendous difficulty recruiting ... and (staff from overseas) don’t leave when they get here.”
Dr Russell Rarity - Clinical Director of Anaesthetics
“I was working 12 to 14 hours (a day) in Europe, five to six days (a week). I had
about one weekend off and that definitely has improved (in Timaru). I make it home relatively punctually, which is good.”
Dr Bernhard Kuepper – Specialist Physician/Cardiologist
Another major difference between the UK and New Zealand was the interaction between practitioner and patient, Dr Johnson said. “It’s more personal here. I have far more conversations with patients here than I did in England. It’s more first-name here, and there’s a very strong sense of community.”
Dr Richard Johnson – Chief Medical Officer