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In western tradition, the New Year starts with wishes, reflecting a sense of hope that things will improve. Here are my six New Year wishes for HA colleagues for the Year of the Tiger.

First, I hope that you achieve a balance between your work and the other important things in your life, like your family, your friends, and looking after your own health. Part of the HA's vision is "Happy Staff", and to do this you must find time to relax and find things to laugh about outside of work.

Second, I hope that your workloads become more reasonable. In particular, we in the HA will continue to work to find ways to make doctors' work hours more reasonable — no more than 65 hours, and less time on continuous overnight on call. For nurses, I hope that the extra nurses graduating later this year, combined with the reduced number of nurses leaving the HA, will mean less heavy workloads on the ward.

My third wish is that our patients show their appreciation for the service you offer them. I know front-line colleagues are doing their best, and that sometimes patients do not see that, and want more than what is possible. As a professional, it is best to continue to stay calm, friendly and caring. Hopefully you will receive a gracious response in return.

The fourth wish for the Year of the Tiger is that you support each other as colleagues and part of one team. When things get difficult, we rely on each other for an encouraging word and some recognition that we are trying hard to serve the best interests of patients. Supervisors have a responsibility to look out for their staff, offering both professional guidance about how the job can be done better, and personal support when they feel stressed by the demands of the job.

My fifth wish is that our service to patients continues to improve. A lot of progress on quality and safety is happening across the HA, and this should lead to less incidents that are very difficult for staff because of your professional pride and the public attention such incidents get. This year, I hope that patients also will not have to wait so long to receive services, particularly for their first specialist outpatient appointment, for some non-urgent surgery like cataract operations and for CT and MRI examinations.

My final wish is that you continue to bring forward ideas to improve our service to the community, and that your supervisors have the courage to act on these ideas. That will mean asking for things from your head of department, your HCE, your CCE, and from the team at the Head Office whose job is to help you do your job better.

May the New Year of the Tiger bring you all these things and more!