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Healthlink South Severance Payout

Health Minister Annette King says the voluntary amalgamation of the two Canterbury Hospital and Health Services, Healthlink South and Canterbury Health, should be seen as a long-term gain for taxpayers, and will mean health dollars can be spent on health not on two layers of bureaucracy.

"The two boards decided on a voluntary amalgamation to avoid duplication and to provide a coordinated health service in Canterbury. Many people felt at the time of the previous Government's restructuring that there should never have been two boards in Canterbury, and with the changes this Government is making the two boards have come to this conclusion too.

"The amalgamation, to come into effect later this year, will mean the need for only one CEO and one board. Healthlink South has made the decision on the severance payment to Mrs Jane Parfitt as an independent company set up by the previous Government's health restructuring. My office was informed of the details of that settlement after normal working hours last night. Quite obviously, because of the company structure, there is no way I would have been able to influence any operational decisions Healthlink South made."

Mrs King said there would be long-term savings for taxpayers in having just one board and one CEO. "Opposition health spokesperson Wyatt Creech might wish to reflect that it was his Government that put into place the structures that allow payouts like this to occur.

"Perhaps now he might support this Government's changes to open, accountable public bodies instead of the company structure favoured by the previous Government."

Mrs King noted that at least Healthlink South had made the details of Mrs Parfitt's departure public. "There have been many CEOs in previous years who have left with all the details kept secret under the Companies Act or confidentiality clauses."

Ends

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