Tending to the grounds at Leicester General Hospital in the UK as a 17-year-old is how Keith Todd began his career in health.
He trained to become a nurse the following year, working in intensive care, cardiac and general surgery before moving into nursing IT and management, which led him to other clinical service and general management roles.
From hospital gardener to the South Island Alliance Programme Office across the other side of the world over 30 years later, the health industry has always been a significant part of Keith’s life. “I recently completed a masters in health sciences at Canterbury University; and my daughter Emma graduated with an honours degree in sciences the same day I did, so that was really nice,” he says. “Emma is thinking about GP training or clinical psychology and my other daughter, Rachel, plans to become a nurse – and my wife is also a nurse.”
The family moved to New Zealand in 2006. “We came here for an adventure and a better way of life for our three children, who would agree that the outdoors, the space, and the relative freedom is far better than in the UK.”Keith worked at Southland Hospital as a service manager for two years before moving to Canterbury to work at Christchurch Hospital in the equivalent role. After eight years, it was time for a new challenge, he says. “When I came across this role with the South Island Alliance, I realised what an amazing opportunity it would be to work collaboratively across the South Island, rather than as five separate organisations. It’s really exciting to be able to work towards making a difference to patient care in a more innovative and cooperative way.”
Keith joined the Alliance in October 2016 and his role involves managing a team of nine Service Level Alliance (SLA) and Workstream facilitators, as well as managing his own portfolio of projects. “One of the projects I’m currently facilitating is the connections of neurosurgery between Dunedin and Christchurch. I also dip into most of the projects my team is involved in, and we work closely alongside Information Services, Southern Cancer Network, and the Workforce Development Hub. Going from being operational to strategic thinking and planning is a very welcome change and my background working in a busy hospital helps me bring a unique perspective to the role.”