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Interview Process Underway

Interview Process Underway

Health Minister Annette King said today the interviewing process was well underway to appoint extra directors to Hospital and Health Service boards in the transition to the new health system.

About 200 people were being interviewed over the next month to select directors who would broaden the focus of the boards as they moved toward becoming district health boards (DHBs), she said. The interviewing panels were made up of a mix of officials from the Ministry of Health, Crown Company Monitoring Advisory Unit and Maori and Pacific people.

"We received close to 2000 high-quality nominations from people interested in making a contribution to the publicly funded health system. Now we have to ensure we get people with the right mix of skills, attributes and experience to help boards broaden their focus. Officials will also soon be writing to inform people who have not been shortlisted."

Mrs King said she expected the additional directors to be appointed and working by the end of July. "I realise the process is taking longer than we had originally anticipated, but that reflects the high volume and calibre of nominations, and also reflects a comprehensive consultation process regarding the shortlisting process within the Government.

"I am very happy with progress and the approach, which I believe will strengthen the existing system and help make the transition to DHBs a success."

For more information, contact: John Harvey (04) 471 9305. More details on DHBs can be found on www.executive.govt.nz/ministers/king

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

What is a District Health Board?

A DHB will be a Crown Entity, with a maximum of nine members, the majority elected by local communities at the same time as local body elections. DHBs will be funded by the Government to provide health and disability services to their communities. They will either deliver the services themselves or fund other providers (for example GPs) to provide services. The boards will be responsible for ensuring that the communities they serve have access to an appropriate level and mix of health and disability services. They will need to balance their community's needs for primary health care, public health, disability support, and hospital services, ensuring one sector does not inappropriately dominate at the expense of another area. There are three stages to establishing DHBs. The first is appointing additional directors to the existing boards of Hospital and Health Services (HHSs). The second, expected in November this year, will occur when the New Zealand Public Health Services Bill is passed into law, creating DHBs. Until then the HHS boards will continue to operate under the Companies Act. The third step will be the election of community representatives to the boards in late 2001.

How do DHBs fit into the Government's vision for the health sector?

They are important to the Government's goal of improving the health of all New Zealanders and reducing health disparities between different groups in our society. The boards will operate within parameters outlined by the New Zealand Health Strategy. The Ministry of Health is developing the strategy, which will provide an overall direction for the health sector Initially the boards' environments will be somewhat regulated, but over time they will acquire greater flexibility to develop strategies and programmes to meet their communities' individual needs. Boards will also have to meet the national targets contained in the New Zealand Health Strategy.

What has been done so far regarding the development of DHBs?

The Minister called for public nominations for the additional HHS board positions. A number of people were nominated for more than one HHS board. Of the nominations, 408, or 22 percent, were Maori nominations and 92, or five percent, were Pacific people. The Crown Company Monitoring Advisory Unit and the Ministry of Health collated and analysed the nominations. They also worked with HHS board chairs to determine the extra skills individual boards needed during the transition to DHBs. CCMAU and the ministry then gave shareholding ministers a proposed interviewee shortlist. The ministers finalised the shortlist for interviewing.

What is currently happening?

Three panels, comprising a mix of officials, Maori and Pacific people, are interviewing about 200 candidates nationwide throughout May and early June. An average of about nine candidates per board will be interviewed. The number of additional directorships available will vary between boards. Taking into account the number of interviews, and the requirements for referee checks, consultation within the Government and consideration by the Cabinet Honours and Appointment Committee, it is now expected to be July when the new directors are announced and appointed.

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