SDHB Commissioners speed-bleed health system

hospital sick [] 2

“Mr Thomson said the board had had a “decimated finance team” because of a failed Government scheme to centralise finance teams in Auckland.” (ODT)


### ODT Online Wed, 22 Jun 2016
Commissioner team faces public
By Eileen Goodwin
The commissioner team running Southern District Health Board has been publicly challenged about decisions it is taking at the embattled board. A meeting at Wakari Hospital yesterday was the public’s first opportunity to speak directly to commissioner Kathy Grant in a public forum. […] Dunedin resident Natalie Wilson said she was concerned by an “excessive” reliance on outside consultants. The “cloak” of commercial sensitivity was used to hide information. Ms Wilson criticised the emphasis on staff “culture change”, saying there was no research evidence that it worked. The board seemed to be playing “buzz-word bingo”, and its most recent attempt at culture change came after similar failed initiatives of the sacked board, she said.
Read more

● Richard Thomson is a health board deputy commissioner; and chairman of the DCC Finance Committee.

### ODT Online Thu, 16 Jun 2016
SDHB’s consulting bill queried
By Eileen Goodwin
A health union is questioning a bill of more than $978,000 the Southern District Health Board has run up with an Auckland consulting firm. The Public Service Association will raise the issue at a monthly meeting between unions and the health board next week. […] In a formal response to an Official Information Act request, acting chief executive Lexie O’Shea said the consultants had been working on “service alignment” in recent months. Asked what that meant, she provided another written statement: “This has involved a systematic analysis of areas across the DHB to gain robust and more detailed understanding of our expenditure and performance.”
Read more

### ODT Online Wed, 15 Jun 2016
$7000pw fees and expenses
By Eileen Goodwin
The commissioner regime is costing the Southern District Health Board more than $7000 in fees and expenses every week, an Official Information Act request shows. Between November 17 and May 17, the commissioner team incurred $159,600 daily fees and $25,405 for travel, accommodation and food. As commissioner, Kathy Grant receives the biggest daily fee, $1400, and over six months she charged for 55.5 days, a total of $77,700. Mrs Grant’s annual pay is capped at $180,000. Mrs Grant also incurred $8615 for expenses. Her biggest single expense was flights ($4487).
Read more

Related Post and Comments:
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8.4.16 Worsted
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3.11.15 SDHB will ‘takeaway’ more than freshly cooked meals and a head chef
30.10.15 Dunedin Hospital #despair
17.6.15 Southern District Health Board sacked !!!
9.6.15 Southern District Health Board
16.4.16 Talk of replacing Southern District Health Board with commissioner
5.12.13 Swann case: ODHB/SDHB and friends

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

No SDHB election in 2016.

*Image: – hospital sick, tweaked by whatifdunedin


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36 responses to “SDHB Commissioners speed-bleed health system

  1. Gurglars

    Just what kind of self financial flagellation do we need to be subjected to?

  2. Elizabeth

    Let’s bring Swann back and put him to work! Disentangle him from project managing the build of superyachts at AKL and any nefarious stuff dealt him by his rich friends at Canterbury. He could run the SDHB’s finances better than RT, so long as no one asks any awkward questions – how to be back in the black sooner than Kathy or Carole can say knife.

  3. Gurglars

    The Swann in the Hen house!

  4. Calvin Oaten

    Mr Thomson said the Board had a “decimated finance team” because of a failed Government scheme to centralise finance teams in Auckland.
    A “typo” surely, that ought to have read: the board’s finance team had ‘decimated’ the board’s finances. This had nothing to do with failed centralisation moves, but all to do with ineptitude on the part of said board, followed by the commission. His comments are just a “big copout” showing his inablity to admit he is out of his depth, and has been since his Swann song.

  5. Elizabeth

    Thu, 23 Jun 2016
    ODT: Hospital’s asbestos bill rises
    The cost of dealing with asbestos at Dunedin Hospital has shot up to $2.3million. The figure was disclosed at a Southern District Health Board committee meeting in Dunedin on Tuesday. Last month, the board said it did not expect the cost of managing the hazard to be much more than about $1.3million.

  6. Elizabeth

    SDHB commissioner Kathy Grant and deputy commissioners Thomson and Crombie not sanctioned.

    Fri, 24 Jun 2016
    ODT: Other matters before meetings
    An 11-month gap in holding legally mandated public meetings at Southern District Health Board was because the commissioner’s focus was on other matters, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman’s office says. Senior ministerial adviser Peter McCardle has responded under the Official Information Act to a question about whether the delay was a breach of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act.

    “I am advised there was a delay in setting up the committees due to the priority and focus at the time the commissioner took office being on achieving as much as possible in a limited timeframe. The Minister of Health is pleased that these forums have now been established.”

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Is it worth trying “focus was on other matters” as an excuse for not getting around to paying tax for quite a while?

  7. Gurglars

    I’d like to know what other matters we are paying for and what was achieved for our investment. On the surface not very much. Improved service from clinical staff which was probably 99.99% perfect prior.

    I have noticed in my subsequent dealings with the SDHB bureaucracy that a “not my job” mentality rules and playing telephone tag is a common game.

    However that is a management issue and managers should set a series of rules like:

    1. Ensure outpatients problems are handled by the person who answers the phone.
    2. Answer the phone if it rings.

    I got no answer a number of times and the run around a few times I called for advice which was a vast difference to the service offered by the clinical staff.

  8. Elizabeth

    Wed, 29 Jun 2016
    ODT: Public asked to focus on `long-term vision’
    The head of the group overseeing the Dunedin Hospital rebuild is confident the project is not alienating the Dunedin community, and has appealed for people to consider the “greater good”. Southern Partnership Group chairman Andrew Blair also says he is being kept informed about the project he is leading, despite documents released under the Official Information Act that indicate otherwise.

    The documents show officials “urgently” trying to resolve the pool lease issue in January, at the same time Mr Blair told the ODT he was unaware of any problem concerning the pool’s location and the hospital rebuild.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “Watch the light over in the far corner, children. Keep on watching it … Timothy, don’t make faces at Dawn, just watch the light over there, see if it’s getting nearer or farther away… nearer Dawn? Concentrate on it, Daphne says it’s further away and so does Fergus………….
      ……..Hurry up Knuckles and Scarface, I’m not sure I can keep them looking into the far distance much longer.”

  9. Elizabeth

    Ah, but “for personal and family reasons I am unable to commit to a longer tenure and have therefore taken the difficult decision to resign.” –Heatly

    Tue, 12 Jul 2016
    ODT: Heatly resigns as health board boss
    Southern District Health Board chief executive Carole Heatly has resigned from the embattled organisation. The move was announced this morning in a press release.

    She might have been a good person but NOTHING (or very little) in the media said that during her tenure at Dunedin.

    • Lyndon Weggery

      Was the heat in the kitchen too hot????

      • Elizabeth

        Lyndon, not flavour or colour of the month on the bed trays.

        Now we want her replacement on a much MUCH smaller annual salary. If RT and GC are any use they’ll see to that.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          “If RT and GC are any use” (1) large numbers of Dunedin people will collapse with shock and have to be revived with cups of hot sweet tea,
          (2) Upon Dr Who’s appointment the Tardis will fly in accompanied by a fleet of aerobatic pigs, and
          (3) I’ll eat my hat.

  10. Elizabeth

    Tue, 12 Jul 2016
    ODT: Medical questions confront
    The Dunedin medical establishment has been challenged in a new report which takes aim at a claimed use of public sector resources for research and private work. Released yesterday, the report was written by consultants as part of the planning of the delay-ridden $300million Dunedin Hospital rebuild.

    The report says some clinicians are involved with research and consequently perform “cutting-edge” treatments that patients do not need. It meant too many resources were tied up in Dunedin Hospital, rather than being shared across the region.

  11. Gurglars

    Putting all opinions of Carol Heatly aside, it is hard to see what a CEO on $500,000 could be doing to justify such a salary when there are three commissioners on $3200 per day!

  12. Elizabeth

    This news from New Zealand Doctor via Media Man (@TheWarRoomNZ)

    Dismal picture painted of southern health system – independent report
    By Liane Topham-Kindley
    Tuesday 12 July 2016, 1:41PM
    The southern region’s general practices should be supported to cluster into larger groups, and new investment is needed in enhanced models of primary care, Sapere Research Group says.
    Sapere was commissioned by Southern DHB to contribute to strategic planning for the redevelopment of Dunedin Hospital, and its report was released yesterday.

  13. Calvin Oaten

    This all raises the question: What in fact value is there in the combined costs of the CEO plus the commission when they have to commission consultants to formulate their policies? Why not simply dispense of their services and just go with consultants? Couldn’t be worse……could it? don’t answer that.

  14. Gurglars

    It is a great disappointment to me that the SDHB desperate to waste its vote continue to search for answers by the use of overpaid consultants. I was in the hospital for two weeks, I was trained in operations research; and in fact I discovered a multimillion-dollar fraud on a semi government authority in a past life; and was used by another to avert the same potential in their jurisdiction.

    I therefore am in a unique position to study, consult and reccommend to the SDHB their failings and potential solutions.

    But I do not fit the mold.

    I will do and achieve this task for nothing, no fee and no expenses. I am a least cost solution.

    The SDHB will never employ me. I come too cheap.

    And that is the nub of the problem for the SDHB. Instead of looking for the best line of fit at the lowest cost, the SDHB has a policy of overpaying executives for under performance, deciding on poor food and nutrition ostensibly to save money, but in actual fact costing more because of the uncosted value of the exit of volunteers (vexit).

    It is about time that bureacracies throughout New Zealand were overhauled and indeed decimated.

    In that way we mignt get streamlined public management instead of the multiple fiascoes we see in Dunedin today.

  15. Elizabeth

    Public ire featured strongly in Ms Heatly’s tenure, even though she did not live up to the hopes of those who wanted to see drastic change.

    Wed, 13 Jul 2016
    ODT: Comment: Hospital CEO raised ire of public
    By Eileen Goodwin
    When Carole Heatly was appointed, it was hoped the newcomer’s lack of loyalty would lead to “blood on the carpet”, in the memorable words of a well-placed source. They meant taking on the medical establishment in the South, such as the Dunedin School of Medicine, which is vilified in certain quarters for the Southern District Health Board’s financial woes. By coincidence, in the same week as Ms Heatly’s resignation, a report was released that suggests there is still an appetite for taking on the perceived vested interest in the status quo.


    “I always thought this would probably be my last job. I’m relatively young, at 58.” –Heatly

    Wed, 13 Jul 2016
    ODT: Heatly resigns from health board (+ video)
    Chief executive Carole Heatly will leave the Southern District Health Board at the end of next month, and there is a call for an acting chief executive to be brought in from outside the embattled organisation pending a permanent appointment. Ms Heatly’s resignation for “personal and family reasons” was announced yesterday in a media release, and shortly afterwards, Ms Heatly and commissioner Kathy Grant gave a joint interview at the Otago Daily Times office. Ms Heatly said it had been a difficult decision. She was unable to commit for the next three to five years, and felt that “morally” the chief executive needed to stay for that kind of period. […] she admitted she had anticipated staying longer in the job, for which she was paid $500,000 to $510,000 in 2014-15.

  16. Elizabeth

    Thu, 21 Jul 2016
    ODT: Advice about board should not have been secret
    Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman should not have kept secret official advice about the pros and cons of sacking Southern District Health Board members, the Chief Ombudsman says. In a letter to the Otago Daily Times, Judge Peter Boshier said he had formed the opinion that Dr Coleman should not have withheld the official information.

    Related Post:
    24.3.16 TV3 The Nation —Interview: Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier

  17. Elizabeth

    Fri, 29 Jul 2016
    ODT: Fleming returning to SDHB
    An experienced health board chief executive has been seconded to run the Southern District Health Board for six months. Chris Fleming (48) will take a break from his role as Nelson Marlborough District Health Board chief executive. He will start in mid-September, a couple of weeks after Carole Heatly departs.

  18. Elizabeth

    Wed, 3 Aug 2016
    Health board wants CEO post filled by December
    The Southern District Health Board hopes to appoint a permanent chief executive in December, Government documents show. The board has started a tender process on a government-run website to choose a recruitment company to conduct an international search for the position.

    They could do a New Zealand search. Obviously, the international thing with Heatly didn’t go so well.

  19. Gurglars

    $3300 per day, over $1 million in consultants fees to not provide any public information.

    Just why are we paying for bureaucrats and not medicine?

  20. Hype O'Thermia

    One OR t’other, Gurgz old bean.
    Ask yourself who makes the choice, bureaucrats or people who need medicine?

  21. Gurglars

    Very Cynical, Hype, but unfortunately true.

    And a fundamental of bureaucracy due to Union involvement is that more underlings produces higher salaries.

    More underlings= Less medicine

  22. Calvin Oaten

    One mustn’t forget the National Government’s agenda. Patently obvious it wants the SDHB to be consistently downgraded to a provincial general hospital, minus medical school and in-house teaching facilities. In its appointed commission it has the right mould of ‘lacky’ in Richard Thomson, Graham Crombie and perhaps the lawyer chair. So far, it looks on track to fulfill Government’s wishes. Next follow the trend towards Auckland. That’s where the votes are, and one only needs to look at “Hillside”, “Invermay”, “Humanities”, and the crap efforts by our local Mayor and politicos on our behalf, the ‘kowtowing’ performance of MP Woodhouse. All portents of a sad future for Dunedin’s fading institutions. Kinda makes “building one of the world’s great little cities” a sick joke really.

  23. Elizabeth

    Pitchford maintained low profile as deputy commissioner.

    Wed, 7 Sep 2016
    ODT: Deputy commissioner quits
    The only doctor on the Southern District Health Board commissioner team has resigned. Dr Angela Pitchford, of Christchurch, finished last week, commissioner Kathy Grant announced. Dr Pitchford declined to be interviewed. Mrs Grant said Dr Pitchford had been unable to commit to the full commissioner term, which was extended by three years to expire at the 2019 local body elections.

  24. Elizabeth

    New chief executive will report to commissioner Kathy Grant. Applications for the role close on October 2.

    Sat, 17 Sep 2016
    ODT: CEO must teach DHB to ‘live within its means’
    A person who inspires “passion, pace and positivity” is sought to lead the Southern District Health Board as its chief executive. The local community, as well as the organisation, is ready for “change”, a job description of the role posted on a recruitment agency website says. […] The Government expects the SDHB to be deficit-free by 2019-20.

  25. Within its means … and those means are getting meaner.
    Recruitment should start in Africa. One of the poorest regions of the poorest countries, where a brand new bandage is a luxury and any patient who doesn’t have family to feed and clean them and sleep beside them on the floor is unlikely to leave the hospital better than when they were admitted.
    That’s all Dunedin – Otago, Southland, Fiordland – needs isn’t it? People must be educated not to have heart attacks, strokes or serious accidents more than an hour away incl helicopter time (weather permitting) from Christchurch.
    We’re just not trying hard enough. We need more government-paidfor pamphlets about taking responsibility for our own health, that’ll do it.

  26. Calvin Oaten

    A person who inspires “passion, pace and positivity” is sought to lead the Southern District Health Board as its chief executive. Why, the obvious person is right before their very eyes. ‘Richard Thomson’, has vast experience within the SDHB and the system. Not so sure about the ‘pace’ but he’d certainly have the ‘passion’, particularly for the remuneration. He’s experienced in supervising firmly the various departments and personnel, witness his stint as chair of the board and his astute monitoring of the ‘information technology’ head.
    Maybe he’s already geared himself for the challenge and that’s why he’s exited the DCC. Watch this space.

  27. Anonymous

    Can you survive to the end of this latest groundwork by Richard?

    Thank the corporate gods of rugby we had a population large enough to support spending hundreds of millions on a second stadium. If Richard had been fronting that Dunedin might have missed out. Pity about the hospital and other essential services though.

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