Dr Henry Marsh forum discussed leadership, consumer engagement

21 Mar 2016

Over 300 people from across the health sector attended the Open forum: International speaker series on 9 March, featuring internationally renowned neurosurgeon Dr Henry Marsh. Held at Wellington’s Te Papa, the forum focused on clinical leadership in health quality and safety.

Dr Marsh discussed what he had learned about leadership over his career, and his belief that face-to-face interaction is important at all levels. He used his morning briefings with all surgeons, both senior and junior, as an example how communication and sharing experiences is vital to safe care.

Former New Zealand cricketer Martin Snedden, who led the 2011 Rugby World Cup bid and the delivery of an extremely successful event, talked about the common factors of leadership across sectors. He said he believed great leaders delegate responsibility, allowing others in the team to grow into leaders themselves.

Attendees were also addressed by Minister of Health, Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, Director-General of Health Chai Chuah, and Health Quality & Safety Commission chair Prof Alan Merry; and heard presentations from Māori Pharmacists’ Association executive member Leanne Te Karu, Family Violence Death Review Committee acting co-chair Dr Dawn Elder and Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition chair Libby Burgess.

Balance Whanganui manager Frank Bristol, who advocates for mental health consumers, talked about how a strong consumer focus can help health providers.

“The biggest stumbling blocks to providers and consumers working together is […] providers feel it’s their job and their job alone to design services,” he said.

“It’s about the mortar and not just the bricks… the mortar in this concept is consumer leadership and mutual reliance, an underlying sense of connectedness which builds trust. This concept takes on a vital importance in health.”

Northland DHB chief executive Dr Nick Chamberlain spoke on the importance of vision and purpose.

“You need to have a very clear vision of where you want to go. More importantly, why you want to go there,” he said. “Giving teams a sense of purpose and answering the critical question ‘why’ is essential if you want to lead. “

A panel discussion featured Dr Henry Marsh, Dr Nick Chamberlain, Frank Bristol, Prof Merry, Leanne Te Karu, Dr Dawn Elder and Libby Burgess.

Discussions included how to remain visible as a leader, how to be an efficient clinical leader in a system where service development is prioritised, and how the consumer voice can be heard as part of the leadership team.

Presentations and video from the day are available by clicking the link below.

Last updated 28/04/2016