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New manager to keep hospital shipshape

Monday, 19th December, 2011

OPTIMISTIC: New hospital General Manager Nigel Carlton. OPTIMISTIC: New hospital General Manager Nigel Carlton.

By Kurtis Eichler

As an old Navy man, Broken Hill Hospital’s new General Manager knows a bit about the value of having a good crew.

Nigel Carlton, formerly of St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, was appointed after the Far West Local Health District replaced the Greater Western Area Health Service.

Mr Carlton, who started work here this week, arrived as the Far West Local Health District 2011 YourSay Workplace Survey was released and revealed that 68 per cent of workers across the network believed the culture of their workplace hadn’t improved in the last 12 months.

Work culture is an area Mr Carlton knows well as he last worked in a cultural reform program in the Royal Australian Navy.

He said setting the culture of an organisation had to start with its leaders.

“That’s not necessarily to say the culture will change overnight.

“Any organisation with as much history as the Broken Hill Hospital has, which is 125 years this year, has a deeply entrenched culture.

“If you have a look at the quality of the people that are actually here and the facilities and the likes, it represents a very positive culture.”

The health service will be discussing the results of the survey with staff, he said.

“You’ve got to be open and frank in your discussions.”

Mr Carlton joined the Navy in 1989 and worked in clinical settings as well as in general medical, surgical and operating theatres.

In 1990-91 he was sent to the Middle East as an operating theatre nurse.

From there Mr Carlton said he’s progressed from working in primary health care clinics to holding the title of director of nursing in a hospital ward.

“At the end of that 24 years, I was actually looking for the opportunity to join a community,” he said.

“I’ve been in the Navy for 24 years and I guess that’s one community.

“Broken Hill presented an opportunity to come out and be part of something that’s to me, in my travels, quite special.”

Isolation was one of the greatest challenges aboard a vessel, but here in the city his biggest challenge, he says, will be getting to know everyone and forming a good team.

But he believes he has the skill and background to do the job.

“It’s going to be a question of actually bringing the team along.”

The hospital’s relationship with Maari Ma, the Royal Flying Doctor Service and other health service bodies was also something that had to be maintained, he said.

“Hospitals never work in isolation and the community expects us to be a community organisation which means we have to engage with those other (organisations). It makes sense.”

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