22 Jun 2017

Health Minister defends chief executive after DHB criticism

8:56 am on 22 June 2017

The Health Minister is defending the leadership of his ministry's chief executive despite DHBs claiming their relationship has hit rock bottom.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman in Havelock North

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The Ministry of Health's leadership has been criticised by some DHBs for its "combative" nature, and it was revealed earlier this month that $38 million from the Budget had been misallocated.

A performance report on the ministry, being prepared by the State Services Commission, has been under way since February, but the commission will not be releasing any details until its completion in several months.

There is speculation in the sector that it will be highly critical of the ministry's leadership team under Director-General of Health Chai Chuah.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman told Morning Report Mr Chuah was doing an excellent job and rejected claims the ministry was being too arrogant.

"One thing I can tell you is Chai Chuah is a very humble man - he knows his ministry has made a mistake [with the funding allocation error] and he is keen to correct it."

He acknowledged the report might contain criticism.

"I wouldn't use the word 'damning', but I think it will be constructively critical. Look, health is a tough ministry, they are dealing with one dollar in every five that's spent by the government, they're providing an essential service that affects the whole population, this isn't easy stuff. The big picture is they're actually providing more services."

Dr Coleman, who has a copy of the draft, said there was more work to do on it.

"As the State Services Commission said yesterday, it's a long way from being finalised. It's still being written, quite frankly I don't need to know why they sent a draft to the office, I'm interested in the final report. There's a lot of discussion to go through."

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs