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Time for Waikato DHB Chair to show accountability

Time for Waikato DHB Chair to show accountability in spending debacle and resign

“It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Waikato District Health Board Chair Bob Simcock has to demonstrate accountability by resigning in order to help end the embarrassment over the excessive expenditure by the DHB’s former chief executive, which is only now coming to light,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

Mr Powell was commenting on the public release of former Waikato DHB Chief Executive Nigel Murray’s expenses. More information about the spending is detailed in media reports, including:


“Mr Simcock should have resigned over his failure to apply due diligence when appointing Nigel Murray in 2014. Why did he ignore the flashing alarm bell over the fact that while in 2007 he was employed as Chief Executive of the former Southland District Health Board, he was also employed initially as a consultant and then as the Chief Executive of the Fraser Health Authority in Vancouver without either employer knowing of the other employment situation? If this was not a serious flashing alarm bell, what would be?” Dr Murray resigned his position with Southland DHB in October 2007 after the then Board Chair learned of this situation from media exposure.

“Why did Mr Simcock ignore the fact that Nigel Murray left Fraser Health under a cloud and why did he ignore the advice of Waikato senior doctor representatives not to appoint him based on his record at Auckland and Southland DHBs.”
Media coverage about his departure from Southland DHB – which included reports that he was doing consultancy work for Fraser Health Authority while also running Southland DHB - included:
Mr Powell says that until now ASMS has not included the expenses scandal as a further reason for Mr Simcock’s resignation.

“But what has emerged from the release of Nigel Murray’s expenses receipts has caused us to change our mind.

“Why did Mr Simcock allow Nigel Murray to live in taxpayer funded accommodation for six months when normally this would be for one month?

“Why did Mr Simcock wait until July this year to investigate the expenses issue after being raised by courageous senior managers when the State Services Commissioner had raised concerns a year earlier over the failure of Nigel Murray to provide the standard expenses report required of all DHB chief executives?
Bob Simcock has previously confirmed that he had signing authority over Nigel Murray’s overseas travel and expenditure (https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/95605885/all-waikato-health-bosss-spending-under-microscope).

“Mr Simcock’s original decision to ignore flashing alarm bells over appoint Nigel Murray and his failures over the expenses debacle mean that he must resign.

“This fiasco is a public embarrassment to Waikato DHB and is an insult to the dedication of the overworked health professionals that keep patients’ safe despite this leadership scandal. It is made worse by the Board Chair resembling a possum in the headlights.”

© Scoop Media

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