Ruruku - 09 August 2023

on 15 August

9 August 2023

News & Updates


  • Message from Chief Executives

  • Stakeholder virtual hui recordings

  • Winter 2023 initiatives updates

  • World Breastfeeding Week 2023, 1-7 August 2023

  • Nelson Marlborough redevelopment

  • Climate Health Champion Aotearoa Awards 2023

Message from Chief Executives

Kia Orāna (Greetings) as we acknowledge Cook Islands Language Week, last week. This year’s theme was 'Ātuitui’ia au ki te au peu o tōku kāinga Ipukarea, which means, "connect me to the traditions and culture of my homeland". This special week allows us to appreciate the diverse culture and language of the Cook Islands. By learning and embracing each other's heritage, we can create stronger connections across our workplaces.


It has been a very busy winter and we would like to thank you for all your work and support. We are delighted to see our winter initiatives well and truly in place. One of our national initiatives, the Minor Health Conditions Service has been established in eight regions with over 700 pharmacies now providing the service. In our first month, over 30,000 have been able to get care from their pharmacy for minor health conditions. One of the important target groups has been children under 14 years who have benefited from the new service.


We would like to acknowledge Te Whiri Kaha | Māori Clinical Forum which is about connecting our Māori clinicians from across the health system in a facilitated forum to provide, thoughtful evidence based active and informed discussion. The key purpose is to advise Te Aka Whai Ora and Te Whatu Ora on complex challenges in healthcare sector. Te Whiri Kaha isled by our four Clinical Leads – Dr Rawiri McKree-Jansen, Nadine Gray (Nursing), Carlton Irving (Allied Health), and Heather Muriwai (Midwifery). You can learn more about this in our recent stakeholder virtual hui recordings: Te Aka Whai Ora and Te Whatu Ora.



Ka nui ngā mihi,

Margie and Riana

Stakeholder virtual hui recordings

Guests from 2 August hui - Top Row (L-R): Mahaki Albert (MC), Margie Apa, Richard Sullivan

Bottom Row (L-R): Nadine Gray, Mary Cleary-Lyons, Carlton Irving, Rangi Musgrave (NZSL Interpreter)

Thank you to everyone who joined our stakeholder virtual hui on the 2nd August 2023.


Margie Apa shared updates on the National Health Workforce Plan, making sure you’re all informed and answered questions from the audience.


Joining our panel this month were guest speakers from the Clinical Network team: Richard Sullivan, Interim Chief Clinical Officer, Nadine Gray, Chief Nursing Officer, Governance and Advisory for Te Aka Whai Ora and Mary Cleary-Lyons, Interim Group Manager for Clinical Networks who gave updates on the reform of the health system.


Carlton Irving, Te Aka Whai Ora Chief Clinical Advisor, Allied Health, shared some updates on Te Whiri Kaha | Māori Networks Forum. Te Aka Whai Ora is establishing Te Whiri Kaha to connect Māori clinicians from across the health system in a facilitated forum to provide, thoughtful evidence based active and informed discussion.


Our Clinical Network team and Te Whiri Kaha | Māori Networks Forum, highlighted the system shift ‘Everyone will be able to access a comprehensive range of support in their local communities to help them stay well’.


If you missed the livestream event you can access a recording Te Aka Whai Ora and Te Whatu Ora.


If you would like to join us or register for the next hui or to get invitations for future events click here.


For more information:

National Clinical Networks website       Email:

Te Whiri Kaha | Māori Clinical Form     Email:

Winter 2023 initiatives updates

This year’s winter planning has a strong emphasis on telehealth and primary and community care so more people can get treatment closer to where they live, easing pressure on hospitals.


In some parts of the country, additional clinical telehealth services are being fully funded for priority patient groups that are unable to access a general practice. This is in addition to the Whakarongorau (national telehealth service provider) seasonal pressure service.


Over 20,000 calls have been directed to the Seasonal Pressures Clinical Telehealth Service since December 2022, by eligible practices for overflow and after-hours support.

Thanks to the clinical telehealth service for ambulance staff, around 1,000 patients nationally (with the exception of Wellington) have been treated in the community and avoided a trip to the emergency department since the start of the year.


The Minor Health Conditions Service has been established in eight regions with over 700 pharmacies now providing the service. Over 30,000 consultations have taken place since the service started.

World Breastfeeding Week, 1-7 August 2023

It’s World Breastfeeding Week, and the theme is supporting breastfeeding parents to manage work and breastfeeding.


Balancing breastfeeding and working at Te Whatu Ora

Being given the time and space to continue breastfeeding made returning to work that little bit easier for two Te Whatu Ora staff members.


Registered Nurse Gemma Hamelink and Health Care Associate Ruby Greening work in the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at Hawke’s Bay Hospital. Both take regular breaks during the day to express milk for their babies.

Ruby returned to work when her youngest was seven months old.


“I’m blessed with plenty of milk so I needed to express two or three times a day, so I could keep up my supply and work comfortably.”


Gemma returned to work when her youngest was 11 months old. She expresses milk during the day and then breastfeeds her daughter as soon as she gets home.


“I like the connection that breastfeeding builds between mum and baby and I’m not ready to stop breastfeeding just yet.”


Both say they have been well supported by management and their colleagues to take the time they need to express milk. Their manager also offered up her office to use as a private space if all of the family rooms were in use.


“We appreciate the support we get from our colleagues, who understand that breastfeeding is important to us as mums, as well as providing good nutrition and building immunity in babies,” Gemma says.


Chief Nursing Officer Karyn Bousfield-Black says as an organisation we support all mothers who come back to work.


“If mothers are breastfeeding, we support them to express milk when required in a private room, on top of their regular meal breaks. Mothers are a key part of our workforce and we want to ensure they are comfortable returning to work and continuing their breastfeeding journey.”

One minute with... Sue Wells, Lactation Consultant

How did you get into this line of work?

As a registered nurse I was encouraged to work for my local postnatal ward by my LMC after having my first-born Lucy. Here I found my passion for helping mothers achieve their breastfeeding goals. I had a difficult breastfeeding journey but was determined to exclusively breastfeed Lucy for 9 months - until the biting started! After being unable to breastfeed my twin boys Harry and George I was determined to extend my knowledge to help others. I became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Not the easiest exam by far!


What does a Lactation Consultant do?

We provide expert care, support and advice to families and other health care providers, with regards to breastfeeding and providing nutrition to babies.


What does a typical day in your work life look like?

My day starts with triaging referrals and getting patients seen in a timely manner. Our goal is for parents and caregivers to be able to feed their babies independently at home. I see patients in the antenatal clinic and provide a tongue tie release service. I then work with the wider team on Baby Friendly Hospital Initiatives, ensure accreditation is retained, and provide breastfeeding education to staff. I also lead the lactation team at Te Whatu Ora Lakes.


What’s your number 1 piece of advice for breastfeeding mothers?

Reach out for support, no question is silly and take care of yourself.


What’s the best part of your job?

Seeing the sheer joy on a mother's face when she achieves independent breastfeeding for the first time and watching her confidence grow – it’s the best feeling ever!


Sue is the Clinical Team Lead Kia Wana Breastfeeding Service & Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative  Coordinator Lakes.

Nelson Marlborough redevelopment

Pictured: Jeremy Holman, Chief Infrastructure & Investment Officer IIG; Dr Nick Baker, Interim National Chief Medical Officer; Lexie O’Shea Interim Lead Hospital and Specialist Services; and Rachael Hāte - Te Aka Whai Ora


Design work can now get underway for the Nelson Hospital redevelopment, including a new acute services building, which will contain 255 beds, eight theatres and a larger emergency department (ED). This is just stage one of a six-phase project over the next ten years.


Called Project Whakatupuranga, this is amazing news for the Nelson Marlborough region, providing a hospital with the capacity required to address the changing population and health needs of the region.


You can find more information about the project here. We will keep you updated as work progresses!

Climate Health Champion Aotearoa Awards 2023

Congratulations to our Climate Health Champions


We are excited to announce that three of our kaimahi have been recognised in the Climate Health Champion Aotearoa Awards 2023.


These awards appreciate individuals or teams that have gone above and beyond to create positive environmental change that protects the health of New Zealanders from climate change.


And the winners are:

Dr Rob Burrell

Anaesthetist, Middlemore Hospital Counties Manukau, won the North Island Award

Rob has campaigned to reduce the environmental pollution that comes from anaesthesia.


“I feel really proud of what anaesthesia has done as a specialty,” says Rob. “We have changed our priorities and put the planet’s health into the equation. Medicine in developed countries tends to be hugely resource and carbon intensive, but I’m cheered to find that does not have to be so.”

Tim Emson

Energy Manager Pungao Menetia, Waitaha Canterbury | Te Tai o Poutini West Coast, won the South Island Award


Tim has carried out an ambitious decarbonisation programme. Under his guidance, new technologies have created massive reductions in our carbon footprint and saved millions of health dollars.


He has also championed the use of Green Star building measurements in new projects, leading to the first completed five star rated green building in Te Whatu Ora’s portfolio.


He is well known nationally as a determined leader in emission reduction for the New Zealand health sector.

His advice is sought by Ministry of Health building project teams and sustainability leads and he actively trains and mentors new graduates in the emerging field of energy and carbon management.


“I’m very grateful to those busy people that took the time to nominate and vote for me,” says Tim.

Vicktoria Blake

Interim Head of Sustainability, won the New Zealand wide award.


Vicktoria is tireless in her passion for sustainability in the health sector. She is also a passionate advocate for creating space for Te Ao Māori and for equity to be at the heart of improving our communities for generations to come.


“Itis a genuine honour to receive this award,” says Vicktoria. “But climate actiontakes all of us working collaboratively to enable the change we need forsystemic action.”


We know that the environment plays a big role in people’s health and wellbeing – a healthy environment supports healthy people and climate change is widely regarded as the biggest threat to human health.

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