2 Dec 2016

Wellington, Hutt latest in combined DHB appointments

2:35 pm on 2 December 2016

Health minister Jonathan Coleman has appointed the man in charge of rebuilding Dunedin Hospital, Andrew Blair, to chair two Wellington district health boards.

Johnathan Coleman

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Southern Partnership Group chair Mr Blair, who is overseeing the Dunedin Hospital Redevelopment, will head both the Capital and Coast DHB and the nearby Hutt Valley DHB, taking over from Virginia Hope.

It is one of many changes to DHB leadership nationwide Dr Coleman has unveiled.

He earlier named Lester Levy to head all three Auckland DHBs. He appointed Jenny Margery Black to head both the Nelson-Marlborough and West Coast DHBs. Whanganui DHB chair Dot McKinnon was named chair of the MidCentral DHB in Palmerston North.

Former Cabinet minister Dame Tariana Turia was appointed to the Whanganui board, and outgoing Ngāi Tahu chair Mark Solomon joined the Canterbury DHB as deputy chair.

In total, 76 appointments have been made around the country, including 38 new ones.

Association of Salaried Medical Specialists executive director Ian Powell said the DHB chairs were "the minister's main instruments for direct control over DHBs".

"If he wants to dictate to a DHB about what to do, or what not to do, it is primarily through the chair of the board," Mr Powell said.

Twelve DHB chairs will continue in their roles, including Kevin Atkinson in Hawke's Bay and Murray Cleverley in Canterbury. Seven boards have new chairs. Four - Northland, Hawke's Bay, Nelson-Marlborough and South Canterbury - will be chaired by elected members.

Dr Coleman said DHBs delivered $12.2 billion in health services to their local communities.

"The newly appointed DHB members and chairs have a wide range of skills and breadth of experience and will make a valuable contribution."

Mr Powell said the key changes, which take effect on Monday, were dropping Lee Mathias as chair of Counties Manukau DHB and deputy chair of Auckland DHB, and the broader appointment of Dr Levy.

He said it was a surprise a non-Wellington resident - Mr Blair of Hawke's Bay - would chair two Wellington-based DHBs.

Mr Powell said despite Mr Blair's current job as the chair of the Southern Partnership Group, which is overseeing the Dunedin Hospital redevelopment, his experience had tended to be with private rather than public hospitals.