What does your job involve?
I’m a neonatal paediatrician so I look after babies and children. I’m the Clinical Leader for Dunedin for Paediatrics and Child Health and for neonates for the district.
How did you get involved in the user groups?
Planning the new hospital is one of the most important jobs we’ve got in front of us so our entire team is involved. In our teams we hold the knowledge of the children in our district and they’ve got very different needs to the adults.
How did you find the process?
At times it’s certainly challenging. It challenges you to think not only about how you provide care now but how you might want to do things differently in the future. And about having to think very widely about the entire team and what children might need both as in-patients and out-patients and in the regions.
Children are everywhere in a hospital because even though they’re in child health, they go and spend time in other departments such as orthopaedics, the eye department, the emergency department, day surgery, and ear, nose and throat. So we contribute to all those areas as well. We’ve had to be reasonably assertive about that but we’re not the sort of team to step away from a challenge.
Instead of doing something because that’s the way we’ve always done it, now we can try and predict how we might want to do it going forward.
How difficult is it to predict what 10 years in the future will look like?
There’s always the uncertain and the unknown and that’s why it’s important it’s done as a team because everybody brings a different perspective. It’s about thinking what might not live with us - what might be provided in the community.
But also what is provided by us and how we might want that to look. What’s the physical surroundings & what is the approach to children, what’s the standards that are current or becoming current in care for children?
The team approach
We had more than one representative at the groups to cover allied health, nursing and medical teams. And from there we would go out to talk to the wider group who would come in early and start their days at unusual times in order to get everyone together.
It’s really important to provide that feedback to get a good shot at this going well. It does take a lot of time and energy but the team are quite passionate about it.
Was there anything about the process that surprised you?
I’m consistently surprised that adult standards are applied to child health. That people don’t understand that we’re a one stop shop. Children don’t have choice like adults. With children all of them come to the same place. So I was surprised when there was a misunderstanding that child health workers could be placed in adult hubs. But we have been heard and the changes have happened. So I’m hopeful that it will go well.
Are you excited about the new hospital?
I’m excited that we might be able to do things quite differently. I can see there can be lots of synergies and hopefully make things smoother for families and improve our care for life.