Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Stern warning to DHBs about spending but...

23 March 2018

Stern warning to DHBs about spending but important not to then micro-manage

“The Health Minister is right to put the country’s public hospital managers on notice about their spending but it’s important not to over-react and go down a path of micro-management,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

He was commenting on the State Services Commission report into excessive and unauthorised expenditure by disgraced former Waikato District Health Board Chief Executive Nigel Murray, and the resulting commentary.

“What happened in Waikato is absolutely disgraceful but it was an extraordinary situation, a bit of a perfect storm, and certainly not typical in my experience of other DHBs or chief executives.

“I’ve had my differences with chief executives over the years, some of them quite sharp, but I believe none of them would have behaved inappropriately over their expenses and they shouldn’t be tarnished by Nigel Murray’s scandalous actions.”

He says it is worth noting that the SSC report was not critical of Waikato DHB’s policies and practices, but rather the abuse of them, and the failure to abide by them.

“That’s an important distinction. What we had in Waikato was the combination of a chief executive impervious to accountability and a Board Chair who did not do his full diligence during Nigel Murray’s recruitment processes. Only minimal checks were carried out. These were clearly inadequate given the situation that has subsequently unfolded there. There was plenty of evidence prior to appointing Nigel Murray to suggest there had been a parting of the ways with his previous employer.

“It’s particularly unfortunate that the former Board Chair, Bob Simcock, is now blaming everyone but himself, including the DHB’s accounts staff. This shows a lack of insight and accountability, and he really needs to take a good hard look in the mirror.

“It’s also important to remember that this debacle has had a serious effect on the morale of staff working at the DHB, many of them on the front line of providing clinical care to patients. Waikato DHB’s current senior leaders and managers now have the difficult task of rebuilding trust within the organisation. It is early days but the new Acting Chief Executive is making a positive start.”

He says Health Minister David Clark has quite correctly given DHB Chairs and senior managers a stern message about being accountable for their expenditure on the taxpayers’ purse, but it would be counter-productive to then micro-manage every aspect of their future spending.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Spying On Politicians, Activists, Iwi, Quake Victims: "Failings Across Public Service"

A State Services Commission investigation into the use of external security consultants by government agencies has uncovered failings across the public service, including breaches of the code of conduct...

However, the inquiry found no evidence of widespread inappropriate surveillance by external security consultants on behalf of government agencies. More>>


Dope News: Binding Cannabis Referendum To Be Held At 2020 Election

The referendum on cannabis for personal use is part of Labour's confidence and supply agreement with the Greens. It could be one of potentially three referenda - decisions have yet to be made about euthanasia and changes to electoral laws. More>>


Vic: Victoria University Name Change Rejected

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has declined Victoria University of Wellington Council’s application for a legal name change. More>>


PM's Post-Cab 17/12/18: Chief Justice, M Bovis

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's final post-cabinet press conference of the year focussed on announcing the appointment of Helen Winkelmann as the next Chief Justice, and an update on effort to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis from New Zealand. More>>


Law Commission Issues Paper: Use Of DNA In Criminal Investigations

In the 22 years since the Act came into force, it has become clear that the modern-day fingerprint analogy is increasingly inapt... Theoretically, whole genome sequencing could ultimately become the standard method of analysing a DNA sample. Such a development will give a new perspective on the concept of genetic surveillance in the criminal context. More>>

State Highways: $1.4 Billion For Road Safety Improvements

The Safe Network Programme will make 870 kilometres of high volume, high-risk State Highways safer by 2021 with improvements like median and side barriers, rumble strips, and shoulder widening. More>>


Dealing Crackdown, Addiction Support: Government Action On Synthetics

The NZ Drug Foundation has welcomed the Government’s response to synthetic drug deaths. The response strikes a balance between giving law enforcement the tools they need to target criminal networks and changing drug law to make it easier for people to access help when they need it. More>>


Strategy Committee Unanimous: Wellington To Forge Ahead With Convention Centre

The three-storey Cable Street building, with around 18,000-square metres of floor space, will comfortably be able to host 1500 people for conventions. It includes a 1651sq m exhibition area that will attract international exhibitions too big for nearby Te Papa and provide an always-changing visitor attraction. More>>





InfoPages News Channels