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New Deputy Commissioner & Director Of Advocacy

New Deputy Commissioner And Director Of Advocacy Appointed

Media release
7 April 2004

New Deputy Commissioner and Director of Advocacy appointed

Health and Disability Commissioner Ron Paterson is pleased to announce the appointment of the new Deputy Commissioner, Education and Corporate Support, Tania Thomas. Ms Thomas also has responsibility for responsiveness to Maori and people with disabilities with the Commissioner's office.

Ms Thomas has been the Director of Advocacy for the Health and Disability Commissioner since January 2001. Prior to that she worked as a rehabilitation specialist and adult educator in the disability sector and has held many executive management roles in large social service organisations. Ms Thomas has a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Auckland.

Judi Strid has been appointed as the new Director of Advocacy. She has over 25 years' experience working with organisations such as Women's Health Action and the Federation of Women's Health Councils to advance consumer rights and opportunities for consumer consultation, participation and representation. She is a member of the HDC consumer advisory group and an Auckland regional ethics committee.

Ms Strid has a particular interest in the quality of services and professional standards, and has been involved in a number of projects with Standards New Zealand, the Ministry of Health and various professional bodies to promote a consumer focus in these areas. Prior to her appointment to HDC, she managed the Information Centre at National Women's Hospital, which was set up in 1996 to address outstanding matters identified during the Cartwright Inquiry relating to the lack of health information provided to patients, and to facilitate improved relationships between the institution and the community.

"Both Tania and Judi bring a wide range of skills that will be invaluable in these important roles," says Mr Paterson.

Ms Thomas assumed her role under the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994 on 29 March 2004, and Ms Strid on 6 April 2004.


The Deputy Commissioner is appointed by the Governor-General, and is responsible for education, corporate support and legal advice within HDC, and acts as Commissioner in the Commissioner's absence.

The Director of Advocacy is appointed by the Commissioner, and is responsible for purchasing, managing and promoting The Health and Disability Consumers' Advocacy Service. The Director acts independently of the Commissioner in these functions.

The Health and Disability Consumers' Advocacy Service supports consumers to resolve their complaints or concerns directly with health and disability service providers. Advocates do not investigate and do not make decisions on whether there has been a breach of the Code.


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