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Heads Should Roll Over Greymouth Surgery Debacle

Media Release
4 April, 2005.
Heads Should Roll Over Greymouth Surgery Debacle

All those who connived in the shameful process which saw the West Coast DHB dump widely-respected surgeon Hugh Bodle in late 2002 so they could retain the just-“retired” Grey Hospital surgeon Mike Sexton on a supposedly long-term basis, should resign or be sacked by health minister Annette King, according to the Democrats’ social issues researcher and Canterbury/West Coast health spokesman, David Tranter.

In particular, the manager behind Mr. Bodle’s dumping, Ebel Kremer, and those still-serving board members who spinelessly knuckled under to the empty threats of the then chairman, Rick Bettle, should all go. If the board members concerned, namely deputy chair Christine Robertson, Robyne Bryant, Julie Kilkelly, Mohammed Shahadat, Malcolm Stuart and John Vaile had any sense of honour they would resign immediately and publicly issue a joint apology to the community.

By knuckling under to Mr. Bettle’s threats in a secret meeting, namely that Mr. Sexton’s lawyer was waiting in the wings if they questioned management’s agenda, and that by publicly disagreeing with management they would be breaking the law under the Health and Disability Act, the above-named board members failed in their duty to safeguard the interests of the public.

As the only board member who opposed management’s morally bankrupt agenda I am pleased to have been vindicated, firstly by the fact that Mr. Bodle was immediately snapped up by another DHB, and secondly that the person chosen to remain in his place was subsequently required by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons to up-skill in other hospitals, Mr. Tranter said. Now the management/board fiasco is completed by Mr. Sexton’s resigning as Grey Hospital's head of surgery - without even having completed the the requirements of the College of Surgeons - while Hugh Bodle continues to serve the people of Nelson/Marlborough.

If elected DHBs are to serve any useful purpose they need to stand up to bullying not just from the corporate offices but also from Annette King’s tame appointees to the boards. The West Coast surgery fiasco is further evidence of the futility of having DHB boards which are simply there to rubber-stamp whatever agenda – however misguided – that corporate management puts before them Mr. Tranter said.

ENDS.


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