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DHB Human Resource Slow and Gagged

Gordon Copeland Press Release
For Immediate Release
Friday, 22nd February 2008

DHB Human Resource Slow and Gagged

A regional health authority lost the employment of a sought after health professional because their human resource department delayed the job application.

As the critical error rate in the country’s hospitals emerges, with Health Minister David Cunliffe threatening to sack an entire regional health board, another MP has said the government needs to look deeper.

Independent MP Gordon Copeland says he has information from a reliable source employed at one of the country’s largest health authorities, revealing further hospital shortcomings.

“Simply sacking people is not the answer. For example, I am told that excuses such as a worldwide shortage of certain qualified health professionals, are just that – an excuse. In this particular case, the hospital’s human resources department were so slow, the applicant went elsewhere.”

Mr Copeland said all the details of the case are available to him but on a confidential basis. “For now, my source does not wish to reveal their identity by whistle blowing, at least not yet, which is a point of contention in itself.” He said employees at the same hospital are made to sign an employment contract that he believes is illegal because it prohibits them from utilising the whistleblower options. “Basically it gags employees right’s to speak out.” He said the two issues go hand in hand. “If you have a large city and regional hospital committing a chapter of errors leading to a professional’s job application taking too long, plus gagging employees, that’s a recipe for bigger problems and is hardly the kind of openness and transparency that the Minister says he is looking for.”

He said the government was creating its own climate of secrecy. He was referring to revelations on National Radio’s Morning Report that the Minister had sought to stifle health officials from making public statements.

Mr Copeland’s information also comes hard on the heals of calls for tightening of the Protected Disclosures Act, also known as the Whistleblower law. A select committee is currently hearing proposed amendments to the Act.

Meanwhile Mr Copeland said he knew of other cases, such as issues facing midwives, who were also the victim of a cumbersome system. “Self employed, independent midwives take months to get paid and if they don’t submit their account on time, a penalty is deducted.” He said he knew of one case where the midwife took months to get paid. She submitted her account on time, yet a percentage was deducted for taking too long. He said it’s anecdotes like those that showed the system needed help.


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