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Minister Announces Health Director Appointments

Minister Announces Appointments Of Health Directors

Health Minister Annette King today announced the appointment of 79 new health directors, with the appointments taking effect from Friday.

The new directors will augment the existing Hospital and Health Services (HHS) boards, providing a wider range of skills and a greater mix of local, Maori and Pacific members as the boards prepare for their more extensive roles as District Health Boards.

Mrs King said 30 current board members, including five serving on two or more of the 22 HHS boards, would be retiring early from the boards.

"I expect most of the directors will be appointed to the governing boards of the District Health Boards to be established under the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Bill when it is passed late this year, although there may be a few further changes at that time. There may also be some more fine-tuning and extra appointments over the next few months."

Mrs King said the number of Maori and Pacific people on the boards was a significant aspect of the appointments. "There will be 45 Maori directors, of whom 33 are new appointments. All eight Pacific directors are new appointees.

"There are far more women, 63 of the 171 directors, on the new boards, and there has been a significant reduction in the numbers of directors who come from outside the regions of individual boards, or who serve on more than one board. There are now only seven directors serving on more than one board, and all have been retained for their considerable experience."

Mrs King said HHS boards have been managing their existing roles as well as preparing for their broader responsibilities as District Health Boards. “This has been quite an onerous and difficult responsibility, and I am grateful for the work that has already been done by the boards. They still have much work to do for the rest of this year and next year. I believe the combined strengths of the new and the experienced directors will help ensure they carry out this work efficiently."

Mrs King said she wanted to stress that while the composition and skill mix of the new boards would help the boards reflect the needs of local communities, no board member was there simply as a representative of a particular group.

"All board members must serve the interests of the whole community. The primary accountability of all board members is to the Minister of Health.”

Mrs King said she particularly wanted to thank retiring board members for their work. "Some are very near the end of their terms, but others had longer to serve. The changes made are not a reflection of anything other than the need to build the most appropriate skill mix in each local board and our determination to make the boards as representative of local communities as possible. All retiring members can be proud of their commitment and contribution."

Mrs King said the changes did not affect the decision to merge the boards of Canterbury Health and HealthLink South, and plans were proceeding to achieve that by October. “No new board members have been appointed to Tairawhiti Health. Wayne Brown will continue as a one-man board for the time being, but I have advised some shortlisted nominees for the board of Tairawhiti Health that I will reconsider their nominations when we are ready to appoint a full board”.

The process of selection of the new board members had taken longer than anticipated because of the large number and high quality of nominations and the amount of consultation necessary. More than 2100 nominations were received and 198 people were interviewed.

The process had included the determination of interview shortlists by Ministers and MPs, interviews by panels of officials, including Maori representatives (and Pacific representatives on six panels), she said. Ministers had consulted colleagues and caucuses on the recommended appointees, and the final decisions were made by the shareholding Ministers of Health and Finance.

Mrs King said training and briefing of directors was scheduled for early September.

The net cost of the additional HHS director fees is approximately $221,250, but once the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Bill was passed and DHBs were established, the Government intended to reduce the fees currently paid to HHS company directors to bring the new director fees into line with State Service Commission guidelines.

A list of members of the new Hospital and Health service Boards is attached, together with a question and answer sheet on the new appointments. MEDIA MAY OBTAIN BRIEF BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL ON NEW APPOINTEES BY APPROACHING THE COMMUNICATIONS STAFF AT HHSs IN THEIR AREA.


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