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Govt still watching Capital & Coast DHB

Jul 21st, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

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MONEY DRAIN: The new regional hospital cost the DHB dearly.

THE GOVERNMENT is waiting until after next month’s election to see whether it can trust voters’ choices to run Capital & Coast DHB.

The DHB has a Crown monitor, Debbie Chin, overseeing it with four other Government appointees.

Health minister Tony Ryall is waiting to see who gets elected before making a decision on the need for closer government scrutiny, says spokesman Antony Byers.

“[This is] because it depends on who gets elected, then who gets appointed, and [the] mix of skills and experience,” he says.

Sir John Anderson, board chair, and a Crown monitor (then Ian Brown) were brought in by the previous Labour government’s health minister David Cunliffe in December 2007, following budget blowouts and crises with some clinical services.

Subsequent appointees were Peter Douglas, Selwyn Katene and Keith Hindle.

The DHB ended the financial year on 30 June with a $47.5 million deficit and does not expect its operational budget to break even until June 2012.

To achieve this, $10 million is being cut from primary health this year and again in 2011-12.

Chief executive Ken Whelan resigned in August, with the Dominion Post reporting he had told staff, in an email, that he could not cut costs any further without undermining patient care.

Board member Margaret Faulkner acknowledges huge challenges for the DHB but says the past two years have borne progress, such as the new regional hospital and improved access to elective surgery.

Ms Faulkner, a former nurse, has been on the DHB for the past 10 years and is standing for re-election.

Performance targets have drawn criticism from new candidate Maureen Gillon.

Capital & Coast DHB was 15% short of the Ministry of Health’s DHB performance target for emergency departments in 2009-10 fourth-quarter results released last month.

The target is for 95% of patients to be admitted, discharged or transferred from ED within six hours.

But Ms Gillon, also a former nurse, says trying to push people through the system by meeting performance targets is simplistic.

“The focus should be on making sure all [the patients’] needs are met and that they get the right care, at the right place, at the right time,” she says.

Another new candidate, Andrew Holmes, works as a GP at City Medical Centre in Wellington’s CBD, having formerly held policy and strategy roles with the Ministry of Health and clinical posts in Scotland and the United States.

“I want to make a difference to our health and our health systems. This is a life-long pursuit – a vocation,” says Dr Holmes, of his motivation to stand.

Ministry of Health director of public health, Mark Jacobs, is also standing for election.

Dr Jacobs says he has a personal commitment to helping provide and support quality health services. He’s highlighting his experience as a senior public health manager in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific.

Who else is standing?

Judith Aitken (incumbent board member, former chief executive of the Education Review Office and Women’s Affairs)
Elizabeth Anderson (management consultant)
John Apanowicz (the DHB’s senior governance advisor in 2007/08, chartered accountant)
Maureen Cahill (manages the WHO Fellowship Programme on behalf of the Ministry of Health)
Camilia Chin (president of Wellington’s Ethnic Council, former reporting accountant for CCDHB)
David Choat (director of Policy Progress Ltd, former parliamentary staffer)
Barbara Donaldson (Wellington regional councillor, former chief executive of Quality Health NZ)
Russell Franklin (managing director of Corporate HealthCare, former paediatrician at Wellington Hospital)
Virginia Hope (incumbent board deputy chair, team leader, Institute of Environmental Science and Research, deputy chair, National Health Board, public health physician)
Malakai Jiko (manager, Wellington Fiji Social Services Trust, external member, CCDHB hospital advisory committee)
Peter Kelly (IT project manager)
Helene Ritchie (incumbent board member, registered psychologist, city councillor)
Peter R Roberts (incumbent board member, a Wellington and Kenepuru Hospital doctor since 1978)
David Scott (Kapiti Coast district councillor, former theatre technician and aged care facility manager)
Donald Urquhart-Hay (incumbent board member, former urologist and renal transplant surgeon at Wellington Hospital)
Nigel Wilson (Greater Wellington Regional councillor)
Jack Wood (management consultant, educationist)

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