New group head to offer clinical voice

John Adams
John Adams
John Adams’ job is to bring a clinical voice to the design of the new Dunedin Hospital, but that is not the only voice concerning him.

"What we don’t want for the future is a facility which ... gets in the way of good care. The patient needs to be at the centre of the picture and then we can build services and models of care around what is best for patients."

Dr Adams, associate dean of student affairs at the University of Otago Dunedin School of Medicine, is a psychiatrist, and the former chairman of the New Zealand Medical Council.

He succeeds Dr David Perez as chairman of the Clinical Leadership Group — a body set up so hospital staff could have a say in the way their future workplace looked and operated.

"It found me more than I found it, but I am pleased and very excited about being asked to do this," Dr Adams said.

"I am very pleased to be able to make a contribution to what is a once in a generation opportunity in terms of health services in Dunedin."

This is not the first Dunedin hospital rebuild Dr Adams has seen — he trained at Wakari and in the old Dunedin Hospital, before the current ward block was built.

The new hospital was a major project for the city and region as well as the health sector,  he said.

"Part of my job is to be able to listen to and facilitate the clinical voice and convey that to the management of the DHB and the partnership group and the planners.

"There will be all kinds of really important opinions on how the hospital functions now, how it is predicted to function in the future, and how the new design can facilitate those already changing models of care."

It was hard to predict what healthcare would look like in 10 years time — when the new hospital should be open —  let alone in 40 years, he said. But clinicians could help make sure the new building was flexible enough to adapt to change.

The group’s new deputy chairwoman, Dr Carol Atmore, was involved with hospital rebuilds in a previous job as chief medical officer of West Coast DHB.

A Dunedin GP, she is also chairwoman of the Alliance Leadership Team of Alliance South, which is overseeing implementation of the SDHB/WellSouth primary and community care strategy.

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