A quick chat with Tracey Maisey, New Chief Executive, Northern NSW Local Health District
Q: What do you see as the significant opportunities facing this regional health service?
A: One of the significant opportunities for the NNSWLHD is continuing to strengthen our exceptional health workforce. We have a growing population, a beautiful climate, and a wonderful health service, so we’re working to capitalise on these things to future-proof our local workforce.
We’re focused on ensuring equity of access to health services for our communities, in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and people who require mental health, alcohol and other drugs services.
Our populations are spread over a large geographical area, so ensuring people in all reaches of NNSWLHD have the right access to services is something that I’m focussed on.
Integration with local General Practices is extremely important, and I look forward to working closely with primary health partners in the area.
Finally, I want to strengthen our connection with our communities to ensure they have an active voice in our services.
Q: Have you encountered any major surprises since starting in the job?
A: No. Everyone I’ve met so far has been incredibly welcoming, passionate about their role, and invested in helping us deliver the best care possible.
Q: Are you satisfied with recent performance indicators, e.g., ED wait time times and booked surgery wait times, or should they be improved? How might this be done?
A: Working in health, we have an obligation to continuously improve. I value the feedback given by our patients to support identifying areas where we can improve. We will look at alternative avenues for people who may not need to present to the emergency department, which will help reduce the burden on our hospital system. One such initiative is the new Urgent Care Service we’re developing in Tweed.
Q: The 'gap' between the health of First Nations people and the broader community is as much a concern here as elsewhere. Is special attention being paid to this?
A: Yes, empowering Aboriginal Health is one of our strategic priorities. We recently appointed our Executive Director of Aboriginal Health to our Executive Leadership Team. But equity of access to health care for Aboriginal people, and closing the gap, is everyone’s responsibility, and as a leadership team we are focused on this.
We have also recently appointed an Aboriginal Cancer Care coordinator, who supports Aboriginal people with cancer through their clinical care and treatment, providing a link between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal health services, and coordinating the journey of clients through our health services.