Paul Agnew

Paul Agnew, Anaesthetic Technician, took patient and whānau journey research to a whole new level when both he and his wife used anaesthetic services within a week.

“I was on a new build tour for the New Dunedin Hospital project, visiting hospitals around the country,” Paul says.

“We planned our visits around the patient journey, starting where patients get checked in and following all their different interactions from there.”

Halfway through the tour, the patient journey suddenly became personal.

“I got a phone call telling me that my other half had been admitted acutely.”

Paul says his wife was very well taken care of by his colleagues – but the couple’s interactions with our health system didn’t end there.

“The following Monday I had an operation, so we were both patients within a week!”

Paul’s operation was done through ACC at Mercy Hospital, giving him the opportunity to experience the patient journey from within a hospital bed.

“I woke up from the anaesthetic to the sound of staff laughing and enjoying themselves. It made me happy they have an environment they enjoy working in.”

Paul got involved with the New Dunedin Hospital project’s FiT (Facilities in Transformation) user groups because of his interests in the staff experience, the patient journey, logistics and technology.

“What excites me is the opportunity for the new hospital to adopt upcoming advances in things like automation, robotics, and stock control.”

And he has a personal reason for wanting to get the new hospital right.

“I’ll probably be near retirement and needing the services myself by the time it’s opened,” he laughs.

Paul’s contribution to the project will make a lasting impact for our region – not a bad legacy for someone who says he got into his field of expertise by accident.

“In the late 1980s I moved to London from Scotland to look for a trade. I worked as a security guard at St George’s Hospital, and then as an orderly,” Paul explains.

An opportunity arose when the hospital put the call out for Operating Department Assistants.

“I’d never heard of Operating Department Assistants, as we were called at the time, but I did the entrance exam and got in. These days we’re called Anaesthetic Technicians.”

Anaesthetic Technicians provide the clinical and technical support for the anaesthetic department.

“If you’re technically inclined and you care about providing healthcare, the role is a great way to focus on both.”


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