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DHB Chair Playing More Communication Games

DHB Chair Playing More Communication Games

West Coast DHB chair, Auckland-based Professor Gregor Coster, has added another blind alley to the DHB communications maze by refusing to answer an email sent to him by health campaigner David Tranter and forwarding it to the West Coast board office.

Previously Professor Coster had refused to give me his email address, Mr. Tranter said, but after it had been supplied to me by several contacts I sent him my concerns about the West Coast corporate office's failures over addressing patient complaints under the Health & Disability Commissioner's Patient Code of Rights but in an email received this week (attached) Professor Coster informed me he had sent my email to the Board office and that he has placed a block on my emails, Mr. Tranter said.

Given that when Professor Coster took over the West Coast board chairmanship he announced in the media that he would be a "hands on" chairman his evasion of West Coast patient concerns sent directly to him suggests he is distancing himself as far as he can from what is actually happening on the Coast. While it was always obvious that Annette King's appointment of an Auckland-based chair to replace the previous Wellington-based Rick Bettle made it unlikely that he could be "hands on", at least modern communications meant that Professor Coster could be available if he so desired to those who wished to convey concerns to him. By blocking such direct contact it would appear that the government's claims of an "open and accountable" health system have taken another blow and that the Professor has abandoned all pretence of being "hands on ".

Given that the corporate management have already driven a coach and horses through sections of the Patients' Code of Rights, diverting my concerns back to their office with no indication from the chair of what happens next is next reminiscent of setting the fox to guard the henhouse, Mr. Tranter said.

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