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District health board media ban undemocratic

“district health board media ban undemocratic and over the top”

“The decision of the Canterbury District Health Board to continue with its media ban on individual board members is undemocratic and over the top,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today.

“This silly and unnecessary decision makes a mockery of the right of the public to elect their representatives to their district health board that they pay for from their tax dollars. It risks district health boards degenerating into undemocratic instruments of bureaucratic or political control. If this sort of nonsense continues the Health Minister may as well do away with board elections and end the charade.”

“The public health system depends on and benefits from vibrant debate and contestable opinions a range of matters. Providing that board members make it clear that they are giving personal rather than official board views, no harm is done. There is no best way of doing things. Instead the public health system benefits from new ideas and contrary views being expressed; sometimes the dissident of today is the moderate mainstream of tomorrow.”

“The Health Minister would do well to encourage the Canterbury DHB to lighten up and allow a bit of democracy and diversity to flow through its veins,” concluded Mr Powell.

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