Local Elections 2013 – Sue Matthews stands for BOP DHB 31-Aug-2013

August 31, 2013 10:51 pm

Sue Matthews says she has a ‘heart for health’ and >is standing for the Bay of Plenty District Health Board, having served as a councillor for the Maketu Ward of the BOP District Council for the last six years.

Sue, what inspired you to put your hand up for election?

I was the first women to stand for the Maketu Ward and was warned that “it is all Federated Farmers out there” and “I wouldn’t have a chance”.  Someone forgot that women vote!!! I had worked at the Te Puke Maternity Annexe for 8 years and Plunket nurse for 10 – which in a small rural community meant that I had been involved in every family with a new baby for 18 years.

I have felt that I have made a positive contribution to the Western Bay of Plenty District Council in the past six years.  One of the ways is as Chair for the Community Partnerships Committee.  I changed the delivery of this committee from people coming into the chamber to present to us – we now go and engage with rural communities (especially those not represented by a community Board) and having our meetings in community halls and on Marae.

This is an exciting time to stand for the DHB – both Tauranga and Whakatane Hospitals have extensive building programmes. There is an increased focus on the role of Primary Health at a MOH level plus DHB and PHO level – which is exciting and necessary to improve the health outcomes for our communities.

What do you see as the most important qualities for a Board member?

Good governance and leadership skills.

Good connections with the communities and be approachable, listen and enable solutions to be achieved

Ability to read and research topics provided with the agenda to ensure  that the full picture is gained and the impacts of decisions are fully comprehended – including the social as well as budgetary implications.

Ability to interpret the budget and to ask the questions around prudent budgeting and identify areas for risk management early – enable a proactive approach.

Ensuring that the appropriate Key Performance Indicators are in the CEOs performance management to provide equitable, accessible, effective, high quality health care.

What are the top three issues affecting your DHB
  1. Strengthening integration between and within primary and secondary health services.  While continuing to manage and balance increasing expensive technology at one end of the health care spectrum to ensuring that there are resources to support health lifestyle choices that reduce the need for expensive health care in the future – can be generational change.
  2. Engaging vulnerable communities, e.g under 4 year olds, over 65s, youth and Maori, to ensure positive health outcomes are achieved across the whole Bay of Plenty, including those rurally isolated communities.  These communities have both strengths and challenges.
  3. Reducing ischemic heart disease rates, lung cancer, motor vehicle crashes and suicide, as these are the top four leading causes of avoidable mortality.  Reducing avoidable hospital admission rates for respiratory infections, dental caries, gastroenteritis and ears, nose and throat conditions.

If you could change one thing affecting the rural community during your term in office, what would it be?

There are lots of models that are being trailed to improve the integration of health care and this will be extremely important in rural communities where adequate resources are often a challenge, eg rural health alliance in the Eastern Bay of Plenty is one model being trailed

Providing holistic health hubs within rural communities – Heartlands type approach where there is one admin for all the services – and includes social workers, budget advisors and competent nurses working with the nurse practitioner and health care assistants/ home based carers and where mental wellness is better understood and supported within rural communities.

I would like to see strategic leadership position established in the form of a Director of Primary and Community Health Care – appointed across the three Primary Health organisations to enable some traction to be gained to be able to lead integrated care to be delivered across the whole Bay of Plenty.

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