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Nicky Stevens' father to stand for DHB

Nicky Stevens' father to stand for DHB

The father of Nicky Stevens, the young man who died in 2015 while in the care of Waikato DHB's Henry Bennett Centre, is to stand for a seat on the Board of the DHB in the upcoming local body elections.

Dave Macpherson, currently a Hamilton City Councillor, and a DHB Board member at its commencement in 2000, will stand for one of seven region-wide seats up for grabs.

Macpherson said his "experience dealing with the DHB bureaucracy" over his son's death gave him "a good insight into the struggle many folks face in their dealings with the DHB."

"We can't bring our son back, but we still need answers, and we especially want to make sure no other families go through what he've had to endure."

"The mental health system is in a shocking state, and many parents and grandparents are worried about the health of their kids and grandkids, and whether care will be there when they need it."

Mr Macpherson said that after his son's death, his family discovered that there was no DHB policy in place to support the families of bereaved patients, and no clear in-house complaints procedures.

"Over the last 17 months, we've had a large number of other families approach us with their own, similar, stories."

"Ninety-nine point nine percent of the staff that work at the DHB are good, hard-working people who try to do their best for their patients."

"But they are frequently hamstrung in their efforts by poor management systems, sparse resources and weak leadership," he said.

Less than a year ago, a national survey of junior doctors by their professional association placed Waikato DHB in the bottom three for management culture and leadership, "with a lot of the problem being attributed to CEO Nigel Murray."

Mr Macpherson said "someone on a $550,000 annual salary like Nigel Murray should be darn well earning that salary by ensuring the culture and resources needed for staff to do an excellent job are in place."

"If he's not up to the job, the Board needs to take steps to fix the situation."

Mr Macpherson said, if elected, he would "be happy to act as a channel for patients and families stymied by DHB bureaucracy to have their issues given a fair hearing, and to follow through to see that happens."

"I’m a person who speaks out on behalf of the underdog, and there are just too many people being made underdogs in our health system."

"I'm determined to change this, to see that Waikato DHB becomes sympathetic to patients’ and families’ needs, accountable to communities, and willing to listen to their staff."

"We need Board and management leadership that is honest, open, and unafraid to front up when they get it wrong."

Macpherson also acknowledged the "importance of public health service delivery in rural areas of the Waikato."

"When I was previously on the Board, I successfully argued for the retention of Taumarunui Hospital and the upgrade to Thames Hospital."

"Before returning to the Waikato, I was an active campaigner in the Wairarapa for the the continuation of Greytown Hospital, in the South Wairarapa."

"I understand that centralising services at a large Hamilton hospital is not necessarily the best way to deliver all of the region's public health services."


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