Providing high standards of personalised care is something that most health care facilities aspire to but only a few truly achieve. For Grace Hospital, the commitment to surgical excellence and outstanding quality of care is second to none. The hospital was originally established in 2007 and is managed by the Norfolk Southern Cross Ltd, a unique partnership between Acurity Health Group Ltd and Southern Cross Hospitals Ltd, two major private health companies in New Zealand.
Janet Keys, Grace Hospital’s General Manager, talked to us about the hospital, its core philosophies, its contributions to the local community, and its future aspirations. Janet is a hospital-trained registered nurse who has been with the organisation for more than 12 years. She was heavily involved in the planning and development of the hospital and has held various managerial roles since the facility opened in 2007. As a nurse, she has always focused on the provision of safe and professional care, something which she has applied to Grace Hospital as a whole.
Responding to the community’s needs
Grace Hospital now has seven operating theatres, 48 in-patient beds, and a dedicated day stay facility. It offers a wide range of surgery treatments, particularly orthopedics, but also performing many other specialties such as urology, endoscopy, gynaecology, plastics, ear , nose and throat and general surgery, There are 190 employees who work around the clock to ensure that patients always receive the highest level of care.
One of the most important challenges for the hospital is responding to the needs of the community. For example, the growing incidence of bowel cancer in New Zealand means that the hospital is investing more into appropriate equipment in order to meet and rise above the community’s needs. Because of their unique position, they are able to invest in the latest equipment, acquire extremely talented individuals, and generally make patients feel as comfortable as they possibly can about the episode of care that requires them to visit the hospital.
Engaged, happy staff in a modern environment
The staffing levels make a huge difference in providing personalised care to the patients. A substantial number of the nurses hold post-graduate qualifications while some of them have also completed Masters Degrees. The level of experience and education of its staff is a significant point of difference for Grace Hospital, which is the only private surgical hospital in the area. One of Janet’s many roles is to support consultants and ensure that the consultant’s patients get the best care possible.
Patients have responded incredibly well to the level of care provided by the hospital. “The staffing level is very important. If the staff feel like they can’t do their job properly because they are so busy then their satisfaction plummets. We are also a very modern, clean, nicely-appointed facility so the staff are working in departments that have the latest health and safety features. We have a lot engagement of staff with activities such as health and safety representatives. They always talk about the colleagues that they work with; happy teams are important for satisfaction”, says Janet.
Of course, the hospital’s environment plays a huge role in patient satisfaction. Patients get private rooms with en-suite bathrooms and their own TV which make for a very nice personal space during their visit. The staff understand that going to a hospital is a very stressful experience for some people and so they try their best to make things easier for everyone. One of the most important things that patients look for in hospital settings is confidence in care. Grace Hospital has been extremely competent in this regard over the years.
Staying at the forefront of the medical industry
Another aspect which is important for Grace Hospital is staying on top of medical science and the various advancements within the field of surgery. They are one of only three hospitals in New Zealand, for instance, which operate a surgical robot. In fact, they upgraded their robot two years ago for the cost of $2.7 million, a significant investment which has had tremendous results, allowing the hospital to reach high levels of innovation, surgical excellence, and patient satisfaction. Furthermore, the hospital is currently looking to expand into additional areas such as robotic assisted gynecology.
Back in 2014, the administration also identified a need in the community for lower cost treatment options which are also more efficient. In response, they built a day surgery which allows people to come in and have surgery without the need to stay overnight. A lot of patients are pressured for time so they would not even come in if day surgery was not an option. Importantly, improvements in modern procedures have also helped in this regard as many of them have eliminated the need for overnight observations. Today, about 52 percent of the hospital’s patients are treated in the day surgery wing.
As for the future, Janet is adamant that the hospital needs to maintain the loyalty of both its patients and the staff. Though they are currently the only private specialist surgical hospital in the general vicinity, their mission statement strives for them to be the first choice in the provision of surgical treatments at all times. That means staying proactive to mitigate risk, responding to emerging challenges in the industry, and maintaining the drive to constantly improve healthcare provided to patients. By contributing to the local community, providing a service that meets patients’ needs and staying at the forefront of medicine, it’s very likely that Grace Hospital will continue to grow at a steady pace.
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Grace Hospital
WHAT: A privately-owned, specialist surgery hospital pioneering in New Zealand’s hospital industry
WHERE: 281 Cheyne Rd, Tauranga 3112, New Zealand