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A COUNTIES MANUKAU HEALTH PUBLICATION | FEBRUARY 2017

In this issue FONO - GROW OUR OWN INTRODUCING OUR NEW BOARD MEMBERS MEET KITTY KO CM HEALTH’S NEW ASIAN HEALTH GAIN ADVISOR

PAGE 4 PAGE 5–6 PAGE 8


Contents FEBRUARY 2017 1

From the CEO

2

Introducing Dr. Lester Levy

3

The power of valuing everyone

3

Patient, whaanau feedback

4

Fono- Grow Our Own

5

Introducing our Board Members

6

Introducing our Board Members

7

New Tiaho Mai Takes Shape

7

A day in the life of our CM Health gardener Barry

FROM THE CEO

8 Introducing Kitty Ko CM Health’s Asian Health Gain Advisor 9

Patient Experience

9

Middlemore Foundation- ready to go again!

10

Patricia’s Smokefree Success Story

11

The Diversity Ball 2017

Paataka Place

NOW OPEN AT MIDDLEMORE HOSPITAL

Welcome to the first issue of Connect+ for 2017. I always enjoy writing this introduction, as it gives me a chance to draw breath and reflect on what’s been happening over the past two months. And what a busy and challenging time it’s been. In the first two months, we’ve managed additional demand for services, had a junior doctor strike, and helped support over 2000 children and their families affected by malfunctioning equipment at the Pukekohe Intermediate Dental Clinic. This has understandably been a challenging time for everyone involved, and I have been so humbled to see staff from across the health system rallying together to provide the care and support that’s required. If ever there was an example of people living our values of Together, Kind, Valuing everyone and Excellent – this was it. Thank you so much for all of your hard work. We also have a lot to look forward to and be proud of, some of which is captured in this issue of Connect+. This includes an insight into the year ahead by Dr Lester Levy Chair CMDHB, a great feature on our new Board members and some inspiring, motivating and uplifting stories shared by our staff and members of our community. As you will see we have a lot to be proud of. If you have any stories you would like to share please get in touch with communications@middlemore.co.nz Happy Reading

COVER PHOTO: Staff members enjoy a coffee at the newly opened Paataka Place. From left to right: John Seumanu (Theatre Orderly), Awhiora Nia Nia (EC Orderly), Rodrick Tahavalu (Regional Pacific Coordinator, Pacific Health Development) Connect+ is produced by Counties Manukau Health. If you have something to share or would like Connect + delivered straight to your inbox please contact communications@middlemore.co.nz Sign up to our eUpdate at eepurl.com/bWGr0z EDITOR IN CHIEF: Janet Haley | EDITOR: Stacy Superfine

Geraint Martin Chief Executive


BY: DR. LESTER LEVY

Introducing...

Dr. Lester Levy I am delighted to be returning to Counties Manukau Health as Chairman of the Board. During part of the 1990s I was the foundation Chief Executive of South Auckland Health (now Counties Manukau Health) and while that was some years ago, I have not forgotten the amazing culture, committed workforce and team spirit. Being appointed as Chairman of the three metro Auckland DHBs is a very serious responsibility and also a significant opportunity to do so much more for the population we have been entrusted to care for. By the three metro Auckland DHBs working more closely together, we can develop an operating model that supports a more integrated system across metro Auckland. I believe by doing this we will be able to improve health outcomes, continue our drive for quality improvement while at the same time providing much greater value for money. The latter is not simply to ‘balance the books’ but rather to create the essential capacity to further improve access to services, to better address health inequities and to ease our transition into the rapidly approaching digital world. While Counties Manukau Health is currently performing well

all metro Auckland DHBs face significant challenges. These include unprecedented population growth, rapidly changing demographics and accelerating technological change. To meet these challenges we will need to heighten the level of collaboration and move away from silo thinking and working. We need to be open to new possibilities, to question how things can be improved and then actually change, not just plan to change. To capture the opportunities before us we will need to share and adopt the best of each DHB and create the mindset, capacity and will for enduring change. Making the metro Auckland DHBs the best funder and provider of healthcare possible for Aucklanders and New Zealanders will require a concerted, highly collaborative effort by all of us. My approach in leading this effort will be open and transparent and I will continue to regularly communicate on progress to all staff of our three DHBs. While the period ahead will not be ‘business as usual’ as we currently know it, it will be an inspiring opportunity to further improve the care to our communities and put patients more explicitly at the heart of what we do and why we do it. Within our three DHBs, I believe we have the expertise and the courage to make positive change, even if this involves challenging ourselves to work in new and different ways.

Dr Lester Levy Chair of Auckland DHB, Counties Manukau DHB and Waitemata DHB

COUNTIES MANUKAU HEALTH | 2 


BY: STACY SUPERFINE

The Power of Valuing

Everyone

The mana behind our values at Counties Manukau Health runs deep. It’s evident no matter where you go or who you talk to across the organisation. Allanah Winiata Kelly, CM Health’s Maori Future Workforce Coordinator is of Ngati Ranginui, Irish, Spanish, French and Scottish descent and is proud of her multi-cultural heritage- her whakapapa. Growing up in an environment influenced by parents who both work in Health and Social Services, she too progressed towards a career in Health fulfilling her passion of working with and valuing people. Being in a role that enables her to channel her knowledge and experience of Whaanau Ora best practices is important to her. “Being able to provide a service which keeps the needs of people and in particular Maaori and Pasifika, at the heart of all we do is a key component of my work- it’s about their needs from their perspective, not about how we see it,” says Allanah. Whakawhanaungatanga or ‘Valuing everyone’ is at the heart of all she does here. Together with this value, she incorporates the Maaori value of Ngaakau Maahaki (unconditional positive regard) when relating to others. It’s about acknowledging the importance of understanding interconnectedness, relationships and how systems can also support the growth of relationships through environments. Much of Allanah’s work involves ‘standing in the gap’ to bring change and awareness for those who are often forgotten about. Taking the time to apply strengths-based approaches to

PATIENT WHAANAU

k c a b d fee “I was totally informed every step of the way and really appreciated that. Everyone involved with my care knew what was what and I had total confidence in the staff.”

3 | CONNECT + FEBRUARY 2017

encourage and support the community who come through our programmes. A lot can be learnt from the courage, intelligence, leadership and experiences of our whaanau and community. For Allanah it’s more about working with the perspective that it is our privilege to connect with and support the journeys of whaanau towards wellbeing. “All whaanau have the right to have their mana acknowledged, protected and enhanced through engagement – It all starts with Kia Ora” Whaanau is an integral and valued part of Allanah’s role. In this photo are some members of her working whaanau: Rebecca Nicholas (Project Coordinator Community Organising, Ko Awatea), Alex Twigg (Campaign Manager, Ko Awatea), Allanah Winiata-Kelly (Maori Future Workforce Coordinator), Alexandra Nicholas (Project Manager Community Organising, Ko Awatea), and Allanah’s son, Te Awatea.

“There was no backtracking [and] no one told me anything that was not repeated by others in a consistent manner. I was comforted by the flow through of the information supplied - totally consistent from go to whoa!”

“On admission - the moving from depar tment to depar tment was incredibly efficient. I have never exper ienced this in a hospital before. Also there was no major time delay between stages.”


BY: BY: GERAINT MARTIN

Fono - Grow Our Own

Every day I hear stories that remind me why I love my job. This week I met an impressive young woman whose story I would like to share.

Around seven years ago we set up the ‘Grow Our Own’ workforce programme aimed at supporting young people, Maaori and Pacific in our area, to consider a career in health with us. The programme received a massive kick-start through our relationship with The Tindall Foundation who provided an investment in the early years of over $3 million. Sir Stephen Tindall also played a critical role to help sponsor the programme through these early stages. This investment provided that platform for James Cook High School and Tangaroa College to come on board and enabled the creation of the Health Science Academies. The Academies provide extra support in Science, Maths, and English to prepare students to gain entry to tertiary study, including medical school, as well as direct contact with doctors, nurses, and other clinicians in the health field. They also enabled us to showcase practical examples of the kind of work we do at Counties Manukau Health every day. The key was to help these young people gain the relevant NCEA qualification to get into the right kinds of tertiary programmes that would ultimately lead to a path back to us, with a guaranteed job once they qualified. We understand that not every student would end up working with us. The programme not only cultivates new ambitions about a career in the health sector, but it can also lead students to a range of careers that these subjects can offer. The rationale underpinning it was pretty simple – if we grow a workforce that reflects our community, then we can improve how we respond to our community and better meet their healthcare needs. We know that attracting and developing talent to the health sector is a competitive business. We draw together people regionally, nationally and internationally to meet our growing workforce demands. We also felt that investing in these young people would have a far wider reach in the community, as well as having a positive impact on their families. And that ultimately, if we’re successful,

we would enable them to become the next generation of healthcare leaders in our community. From little things, big things grow. ‘Grow Our Own’ is now working across the region, has received funding from the Government, and has been examined by other sectors to see what they might be able to replicate in their own communities. It was therefore a hugely satisfying moment when I was having a coffee in Ko Awatea, clearing my emails, when a young woman came up and introduced herself. Her name was Fonoifafo. Fono was part of our first cohort in the Health Science Academy at Tangaroa College, and that process inspired her into studying nursing. She is the first crop of young people to complete the programme, and the first in her family to be university educated. She is driven to support children and work in our community, and has been placed with our Kidz First Public Health Nursing Team. The day she introduced herself was the first part of her induction into Counties Manukau Health as part of our 2017 Graduate Nurse intake. Throughout her studies, she also kept connected with Counties Manukau Health through Ko Awatea’s Handle the Jandal youth-led campaign. I don’t know who was more proud. It was satisfying to see something go from concept, to implementation, and now to see it transforming lives as we envisaged. We’re privileged to have supported Fono to achieve her dreams. And she in turn has helped us make Counties Manukau Health a place that not only provides excellent healthcare, but also transforms the lives of those who work here. Part of the inspiration for ‘Grow Our Own’ was my own experience. Back in the United Kingdom, I grew up in a place that was every bit as challenging as parts of our community with low levels of tertiary education, and even lower paid jobs for those who lived there. I was lucky because a couple of people helped me. I ended up being the first person in my family to go to university. This education helped me transform my life, shaped my ambitions, and enabled me to have the life that I have today. I can’t repay the people who helped me enough for their belief in me, but hopefully I can pay it forward to others. So thank you Fono for helping me achieve my dreams too. What a great way to start the New Year. Thank you again Fono, and welcome to Counties Manukau Health.

COUNTIES MANUKAU HEALTH | 4 


Introducing... Our Dr Lester Levy, CNZM (Board Chairman) Lester Levy is the appointed chairman of the Auckland, Counties Manukau and Waitemata District Health Boards, Auckland Transport and the Health Research Council. He is also the Chairman of Tonkin+Taylor. He is a Lead Reviewer for the State Service Commission’s Performance Improvement Framework, a joint central agency initiative to help public sector senior leaders lead performance improvement in their agencies and across the system. Dr Levy was the foundation Head of the New Zealand Leadership Institute and is Adjunct Professor of Leadership at the University of Auckland. He was the foundation Chief Executive of South Auckland Health and is best known for leading a number of organisational performance transformations as a Chief Executive, entrepreneur and Chairman in both the public and private sectors. In the 2013 New Year’s Honours List Dr Levy was appointed as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to health and education.

Rabin Rabindran (Deputy Chair) Rabin Rabindran is a commercial barrister specialising in major project negotiation and documentation. He has worked on projects throughout NZ and in Asia, Africa, the West Indies and the Pacific acting for Governments, international companies and the World Bank. He is currently a Director of Auckland Transport and the previous Chair of Auckland Regional Transport Authority. Rabin is also a Director of Solid Energy New Zealand and Chairman of the Bank of India New Zealand. He was a Director of Manukau Water, Tomorrow’s Manukau Properties Limited, TMPL (Flat Bush) Limited and MBf Carpenters Ltd, an Australian public company who have extensive interests in the Pacific region.

Colleen Brown, MNZM JP Colleen lives in Hillpark Manurewa. She is proud to be a member of the Counties Manukau Health Board and believes that this health board is the most progressive in the country. “We face particular challenges in our area and need strong advocates at the Board table putting the community’s concerns at the centre of all discussions; and to take those concerns to government level if required,” says Mrs Brown. Our youth, people with disabilities and the elderly are a top priority for Colleen. As the mother of a young man with Down syndrome, Colleen understands how challenging it is to access and understand the health system. Colleen has advocated for nurses in schools, supports the Board’s programme to ‘Grow our Own’ work force and to deliver quality health care as close to a family’s local area as possible. 5 | CONNECT + FEBRUARY 2017

Dianne Glenn, ONZM JP Dianne is Vice President of National Council of Women NZ and liaises with the NCW Health Committee as well as serving on the International Health Committee for Business and Professional Women. Dianne Glenn is a Justice of Peace and was elected to the Counties Manukau District Health Board in 2013 and re-elected in 2016. While on the Board, Dianne has taken an avid interest in the health of older people, improving health services to disadvantaged sectors of the community, promoting the “First 2000 Days” encouraging women to register early in their pregnancy to utilize wrap around services, improving health literacy and promoting the “Healthy Together” Strategy. For 12 years Dianne represented Franklin and Papakura on the Auckland Regional Council, the last six as Chair of Environmental Management and Resource Consent Hearings. In the New Year’s Honours, January 2016, Dianne was awarded the Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to women with disabilities and the environment.

Dr Lyn Murphy Lyn Murphy originally trained as an Occupational Therapist and is currently a senior lecturer within the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences at Auckland University of Technology. Lyn is committed to adding sustainable value to health care and is an internationally recognised presenter on value in health. As a strong supporter of a healthy community she has served on the committees of a number of voluntary organisations. Lyn is active in promoting New Zealand as a good place to do health research. She was the founding Vice President of the International Society of Pharmaco Economics and Outcomes Research (New Zealand Chapter) and served on the Northern Regional Health Research Ethics Committee

Catherine Abel-Pattinson Catherine Abel-Pattinson is a registered nurse who has worked extensively within the biotechnology and healthcare sectors, as an Executive Officer. MBA qualified, Catherine’s healthcare roles have spanned primary care, homecare, ambulatory care, eldercare, Hospitals (public and private) and the homecare sector. Previously Catherine was the deputy Chair of the New Zealand Nursing Council. In 2016 Catherine was appointed to the Health Promotion Agency Board. Catherine has special interests in the health of older people, providing health services sooner and closer to the home while maintaining a focus on high quality healthcare with improved access to health services for disadvantaged sectors of the community. Catherine is married with two


New Board Members young children and aims to bring the board patient-focused care while maximising the health dollar through effective planning and utilisation of resources. With the growing local population and rapid advances in healthcare, living local gives Catherine an understanding of healthcare services and needs in the region.

Mark Darrow Mark Darrow is an experienced businessman and director, specialising in corporate governance. He holds a Bachelor of Business degree, is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants and a Chartered Member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors. Mark holds a number of Directorships including as Chairman for The Lines Company, Primary ITO, Armstrong Motor Group, Signum Holdings and Courier Solutions; Director for MTA, VTNZ, and Balle Bros Group; and was previously a Trustee for Macular Degeneration New Zealand.

Apulu Autagavaia Apulu Reece Autagavaia is a lawyer practising in Manukau. He started his legal career at large city law firms, having worked on a range of civil and commercial disputes. Apulu Reece is active in the community including being elected on to the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board, sitting on the Tangata o le Moana Pacific Health Network steering group, and the Trust for the Aganu’u Fa’asamoa 101 community programmes. He was bestowed the matai title of Apulu from his maternal family in Faleasiu, Samoa. Apulu Reece is married, with two sons, and lives in Papatoetoe. He brings to the DHB a local perspective of the Counties Manukau community to help inform the decisions made at the governance level.

Dr Ashraf Choudhary, QSO JP Dr Choudhary is a former Member of New Zealand Parliament for 9 years (2002-2011). He is a former Assoc. Professor, internationally recognised agricultural engineering scientist and researcher and was recently elected as a member of the OtaraPapatoetoe Local Board of the Auckland City Council for a three year term. Ashraf has served as Chairperson and member of the Manawatu-Whanganui Health Research Ethics Committee and as a member of Massey University’s Inter-Ethnic Research Committee. He is actively involved with and supports many ethnic community groups, and has served as Chairperson of the NZ Federation of Multicultural Councils. As a community leader Ashraf advocates community

participation at local and national government level decisionmaking processes, and believes in fairness, equity and justice for all New Zealanders. He has been honoured with the Queens Service Order (QSO) for services to Community and to Science . He is a proud resident of Manukau, has three adult children and strongly promotes family values.

Katrina Bungard Katrina is passionate about ensuring quality community healthcare services. As Chairperson of the Manukau East Council of Social Services, Katrina is a strong advocate for effective integration between community health and social service agencies. As a child cancer survivor, having lost her left leg at age 11 to bone cancer, Katrina has been involved throughout her life in a range of cancer and disability support organisations. She is passionate about disability advocacy, and wants to ensure that we continue to lead the way in the development of equal opportunities to enable those with disabilities to reach their full potential. As the Deputy Chair of the Howick Local Board, Katrina successfully leads the Community Development and Arts and Culture portfolios. She also oversees the Healthy Howick, Fruit Trees in Schools and Smokefree initiatives on her Local Board, which align with CMDHB Healthy Families policy.

George Ngatai, QSM George Ngatai has been working in various positions within government and non-government agencies. He lives in South Auckland and is the Director of one of the fastest growing Maori medical clinics in Aotearoa. He has been appointed onto a few boards and committees as a community representative and also as a Ministerial Appointment including Film and Labelling, Lotteries Auckland and of course reappointed onto the Counties Manukau District Health Board serving a second term. George’s expertise is in financial management, organisational growth and national and international relationships. He speaks regularly overseas on Whanau Ora Community Clinics and is working with hard to reach communities. George was recently awarded a Queens Service Medal in the 2017 Honours list for his contribution to Health and Maori Communities.

COUNTIES MANUKAU HEALTH | 6 


BY: SIMON WALKER

New Tiaho Mai Takes Shape Construction for the new Tiaho Mai (Acute Mental Health Unit) is well underway. Work to complete the basement layer is progressing well and excavations for waste water pipes, which will eventually join the two halves of the unit has commenced along with excavations for the supply of services such as power. Footings have been dug and foundations laid for the large parts of the new outer walls. You can now start to see the outline of the building. #veryexciting

A Day in the life of our CM Health gardener Barry “I see a lot of great things around the hospital as I walk around. Good things are happening!” Tell us about yourself Barry: Well, I’ve been here for 38 years now, and I’ve seen a lot of change! There is very little left of what the old hospital used to look like. What does your day usually look like? In the morning I do the rubbish run, which can take two hours. I then return to do my time sheets, and get on with the day, whether it’s gardening, trimming shrubs, water blasting, and filling holes in the road- there is always something to do which keeps me busy! What do you love about your job? I love meeting new staff, and being able to help those who need

7 | CONNECT + FEBRUARY 2017

help or to be pointed in the right direction. I like the work I do, it’s varied and challenging. I like having the pleasure of looking at what I’ve done at the end of the day. I get the pleasure of people saying “well done, you’ve done a good job!” What motivates you in this role? Motivation is key to success! My job motivates me to come to work every day. Best place to grab a snack? The coffee cafes around the hospital are always good but Paataka Place has some great healthy food options too! What does success look like to you? Success is seeing a job done well. I go outside and see a lot of fantastic things out there!


BY: STACY SUPERFINE

Introducing Kitty Ko

CM Health’s Asian Health Gain Advisor Having worked in Mental Health at Counties Manukau Health (CM Health) for 14 years, Kitty has since moved into a district wide role as Asian Health Gain Advisor. This newly created position is pivotal to improving the health of our large and diverse Asian population by working alongside community and service leaders across Counties Manukau.

Originally from Hong Kong, Kitty has been a resident of Counties Manukau for the past 24 years. Not only does she hold a profound passion for the health needs of the community, she has also been on the receiving side of care, having been a patient under the renal team for several years, for transplant care. She now aims to advocate for the health of those in the community through her new role. Excited about the prospect of working at a more strategic district wide level, Kitty is eager to be able to influence decisions at this level, working collaboratively with and learning from our Primary Health Organisations and community service leaders to implement and grow these programmes for the Asian community. Part of Kitty’s role will be to provide strategic advice, coordination and support to various leaders across CM Health. She will also be working to protect and advance Asian health gain within our diverse Asian communities. Kitty notes that “there’s a lot of strength in our Asian communities. We can learn a lot from the Asian community leaders”. A lot of work has gone into the planning of the 2016/2017 Asian Health plan which has helped to shape the role of the Asian Health Gain Advisor. In developing the plan, key service leaders were consulted about emerging health inequities among our diverse Asian population living in Counties Manukau. A strong health gain approach was used to derive which practical actions would have the greatest impact on health outcomes for our Asian residents. Kitty’s positive experience as a patient at CM Health will enable her to see through the eyes of people living in our district helping to shape the way we work together to improve their health and wellbeing. “Counties is a great place to work,” says Kitty. “It’s not just about the care received while being here as a patient, but also being looked after so that you can achieve what you’d like to achieve in your own life.” The nature of the role will allow Kitty to draw on both the values of Together and Valuing Everyone. It’s about engaging with the hearts and minds of those people within the communities and those who are responsible for delivering services. Kitty explains that there’s great strength in these two values, enabling her to help people take charge of their own health in a way that will have the best outcome for them. “Only by valuing everyone can we respect that those communities have strengths and through those strengths they can drive their own health and wellbeing rather than it being solely a treatment model “says Kitty. COUNTIES MANUKAU HEALTH | 8 


BY: DAVID KEMEYS

Middlemore Foundation

READY TO GO AGAIN!

Improving experience every day, everywhere, for everyone The beginning of a new year is often a time where we take stock of previous achievements and refine our planning for the future. The achievements by teams who have engaged with patients and whaanau to improve experiences have been outstanding, and we recognise that we would struggle to showcase everything in a single week. While we will celebrate international Patient Experience Week from April 24th to 28th, we also plan to have activities and share achievements throughout the whole year. Improving experience for staff, consumers and whaanau is a national, regional and local strategic priority. Auckland, Waitemata and Counties Manukau DHBs will continue to collaborate this year to improve experience through a number of regional events and projects. We will also link our experience activities to our individual organisational values. We have recognised that while a focus on engaging patients and whaanau is of central importance we also want to acknowledge the experiences of staff while they deliver care. It is by understanding the experience of both and by working together that we will truly achieve excellence. Throughout this year we will share how CM Health is improving experience every day, everywhere, for everyone. JENNY PARR Director of Patient Care & Chief Nurse and Allied Health Officer

DENISE KIVELL Chair of Patient and Whaanau Centred Care Board

PETER GOW Clinical Director of Patient and Whaanau Centred Care 9 | CONNECT + FEBRUARY 2017

The Middlemore Foundation are back in full swing. During the holidays Foundation staff worked the Trillian Trust Fun Fest, raising money that will come back to Middlemore for the redevelopment of Kidz First Emergency Department – a project the Foundation has been asked to raise more than $1 million for. “It was fabulous to have so many ED staff alongside us,” Foundation staffer David Kemeys said. “It’s nice when staff take the time to show their support for our work.” The free Fun Fest gives parents a break from school holiday costs. “It was great to talk to parents with children with disabilities, who attended the day reserved for them. We do take a lot for granted and some of things they had to say about how hard it is for their children were challenging,” David said. TOP Kidz First Children’s Hospital public health nurses have an angel in Pukekohe mum Angela Cooney (on the right), who posted an appeal for Christmas gifts. After a lot of hard work our nurses took possession of presents galore. Angela’s mum Sharon Warne works in public health in Papakura. BOTTOM Middlemore Foundation staff helped thousands of children enjoy Fun Fest, which for the first time also featured oral health, Smokefree, and breast screening advice from Counties-Manukau teams.


BY: PATRICIA

Patricia’s Smokefree Success Story With a genuine drive to want to feel healthy and knowing I was doing the best for my body I embarked on my smokefree journey. I was sick of being sick, sick of waking up with the guilt that I was doing something bad for my body.

I was trying to take up meditation but I didn’t want to sit still breathing, concentrating on my body when I knew I was doing so much damage to it through cigarettes. I wanted to wake up in the mornings feeling proud of who I am, a 100% healthy future mum as I wanted to get pregnant. Regular contact with the Smokefree service was fantastic. I could address my concerns with the Smokefree Advisor at Te Rawhiti one-on-one and I appreciated the acknowledgement of my hard work and felt she understood my journey. I wouldn’t smoke from day to day knowing that I would talk to my Smokefree Advisor each week. The support I received felt personalised and compassionate, and she really listened to why I was worried. There were so many helpful ways for me to explore my smoking fears. For example, I was worried about weight gain and whether I would be able to cope with that. But there was freedom as my fears were unjustified. Yes, I put on a small amount of weight because I was eating the wrong foods. I’ve now changed from junk food to healthy food which means I can still eat large quantities and feel satisfied by the food, instead of having that on-going craving for the next lot of sugar. My other fear was being comfortable around other smokers. A lot of my friends are smokers and I thought how am I going to be comfortable around them, am I going to be able to sit outside with them, am I going to make them feel awkward? As a smoker I was constantly afraid of being around my non-smoking friends and their children. Craving a cigarette ruled my life. My thoughts included where I would hide my cigarettes, showering before a visit, planning my visit with non-smokers by the hour, hoping my nieces and nephews mum would pick them up soon. I started carrying around a bottle of sparkling water which gave me something to do with my hands and put in my mouth. I challenged each fear which wasn’t easy, a lot it of was a mental prison. After a couple of times it was no longer an issue for me. I can now sit around my smoking friends without any problems. I don’t miss being in that prison of cigarettes. My

friends want to follow my path and ask how I did it because they see that I am genuinely happy about it; they want that freedom too. Every time I tried to quit before I really strived to be nicotine free. When I let go of that barrier I was incredibly surprised how effective switching a cigarette to a piece of nicotine gum was. I developed my own strategies for difficult moments, including a letter I had written to myself, researching the harmful effects of smoking, and constantly reading other people’s success stories online.

I introduced things into my life that I’ve always loved like running and walking and I’m really feeling the benefits of those things, my breathing is fantastic and running is so much easier. My skin is getting clearer, my teeth have got whiter, I have more money, nothing smells; my hair, house and breath all smell nice, all a massive change and this gives me such freedom. There’s less cleaning up to do; there are no butts around the house, no ash in the car. I see people that I have always cared about and stay with them for long periods without having to run away to have a cigarette. I’ve always hidden my smoking from people and now there is no hiding. My advice to anyone is to choose a quit date to make that commitment. Be gentle on yourself if food becomes a problem. I’m seven months smoke free and in a short time I regained my figure and feel fit and healthy. It’s cool to be on the other side and say ‘yay’ I’m feeling really good. Anything you wanted to do that you couldn’t do while you were smoking- go out there and do them. Never give up trying. Your chances of quitting can double with ongoing support and medication. For help to get some free quit smoking products along with some extra support free phone the local Living Smokefree Team 0800 569 568 or text ‘NOW’ 226. COUNTIES MANUKAU HEALTH | 10 


2017 February Connect Counties Manukau Health  

Connect+ produced by Counties Manukau Health. This final issue for the year highlights our achievements.

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