Two Dunedin Hospital operating theatre staff were pleasantly
surprised yesterday when their pet project was approved on
the spot after it was pitched to a Southern District Health
Board judging panel.
Tania Kennedy and Nancy Sweeney were taking part in a
competition modelled on the Dragons' Den television show,
designed to involve staff in the improvment of health
Their project is one of 27 from Dunedin and Invercargill
Chief executive Carole Heatly is leading the judging panel,
and a few of the ideas she has considered essential and
approved on the spot.
A contestable fund of $25,000 is available. However, ideas Ms
Heatly approved without input from the other judges were to
be funded separately.
A portion of the fund - $5000 - was provided by Westpac,
which is represented on the panel.
Mrs Sweeney, a registered nurse, joked yesterday the judges
were less strict than those on the television show from which
the concept was drawn.
Mrs Sweeney and Ms Kennedy, an anaesthetic technician, sought
nearly $2000 for video equipment to film educational
presentations for staff who could not attend the sessions.
That some were missing out on the sessions had affected staff
morale, Mrs Sweeney said.
Ms Heatly told the women the project was exactly the sort of
thing she wanted to see. The filmed sessions would be put on
the board's internal internet, and could be accessed by all
Next up yesterday was Dunedin Hospital cardiac physiologist
Emma Guglietta, who said her idea to standardise
defibrillator pads across departments would cost more up
front, but would save money in the long term.
Defibrillator pads used on patients in the emergency
department and some other areas had to be switched to a
different type if the person required a procedure such as CT.
Mrs Guglietta said using only the more expensive type of
radiotransparent pad would meant using fewer overall. It was
safer for the patient, as staff were anxious about the
patient's status during the changeover, when monitoring was
It also spared the patient the considerable discomfort of
Ms Heatly said Mrs Guglietta's idea was a "no-brainer".
However, she requested more detailed costings, and a check on
the move afoot at a national level to standardise
product-buying across all boards.
Most staff will be advised next month as to whether they were
Other ideas include buying an electric bed for patients
weighing more than 100kg, a shearing shed health project, and
an initiative to make Lakes District Hospital more
The panel has finished its work in Dunedin, and will convene
at Southland Hospital on Friday to consider the Invercargill