23 Sep 2010

Public health director stands for local DHB

8:59 pm on 23 September 2010

A public servant's candidacy for a district health board is being viewed as unusual and has raised concern about the potential for conflicts of interest.

Mark Jacobs, the director of public health at the Ministry of Health, is seeking election to the Capital and Coast DHB in Wellington.

Dr Jacobs's statutory job saw him taking a lead role in swine flu response last year.

He says he has a personal commitment to helping provide and support quality health services, and it was his decision to stand for the DHB at the elections.

Dr Jacobs outlines his conflicts of interest in campaign material and says boards have guidelines for managing that.

A board member and candidate, Dr Judith Aitken, says Dr Jacobs would be in a position of poacher and gamekeeper and the situation would require careful management.

The State Services Commission says it encourages public servants to stand for local office.