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New Health and Disability Commissioner Appointed

MEDIA RELEASE

Embargoed Noon, 16 February 2000

New Health and Disability Commissioner Appointed

Health Minister Annette King today announced the appointment of Ron Paterson as the new Health and Disability Commissioner.

Mrs King said she was pleased to welcome Mr Paterson, currently Deputy Director-General of Safety and Regulation at the Ministry of Health, to his new role. He takes up the position on March 4.

"With many years' experience as a specialist in health care law and ethics he is perfectly placed to take on this role.

"Mr Paterson has worked extensively in the areas of medico-legal issues, patient rights and health care law and policy, and has excellent credentials for the position."

Mr Paterson has held academic posts at the Universities of Ottawa and British Columbia as well as in Auckland. He was a Fulbright Visiting Professor of Biomedical Ethics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio in 1993, and in 1999 was a Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy at
Georgetown University in Washington DC. Before his position at the Ministry of Health, Mr Paterson was a Senior Lecturer in Health Care Law at Auckland University.

"He also has valuable experience in the New Zealand health and disability system, having worked at North Health and in mental health, consumer protection and public health within the Ministry of Health," Mrs King said.

"He also played a key role in drafting the Code of Health and Disability Consumers' Rights.

"The Health and Disability Commissioner's office is crucial to our health and disability system. It ensures that people have a voice when they have concerns, and we must do all we can to ensure that the office promotes and protects consumers' rights," said Mrs King.

"Robyn Stent has run the office for five years, and I would like to thank her for the valuable work she has done. I'm sure Ron Paterson he will continue the good work in ensuring the rights of health and disability service consumers are protected, and in building and maintaining good links with service providers and professional groups."

Mrs King said more than 73 people applied for the position, following a request for nominations to political parties and government agencies.

ENDS

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