Health minister gives all Southern DHB board members the boot

Jonathan Coleman says no other DHB in the country has failed to control its finances in the way that the Southern DHB has.

Jonathan Coleman has given the Southern District Health Board members their walking papers, replacing them with a commissioner.

The health minister wrote to the board today, stating he has no confidence in its ability to adequately manage the financial problems it has been struggling with.

The board is forecasting a final deficit of $27 million for the current year and this figure has “effectively doubled” in the last six months, Mr Coleman says.

The DHB also forecasts its deficit position will further increase in 2015/16 to between $30-42 million.

Mr Coleman says no other board in the country has failed to control its finances in the way that the Southern has.

“The financial problems at Southern are longstanding. I do not have confidence that the current governance arrangements are suitable for delivering on the changes required in Southern District Health Board,” he says.

Dunedin legal consultant Kathy Grant, who is expected to be in the role until October 2016, is to take the reins tomorrow.

Mrs Grant has indicated she intends to appoint Graham Crombie and Richard Thomson as deputies. A third deputy with a strong clinical background will be appointed by the end of the month.

Mrs Grant holds several directorships, including the chair of the Otago Polytechnic Council, trustee of Sport Otago (appointed 2007), and a director of Dunedin City Holdings.

“Mrs Grant is from Otago and brings significant local knowledge. She has significant business and governance experience and a proven track record in turning around struggling organisations,” Mr Coleman says.

He adds the team will bring together a mix of strong financial, governance and clinical skills.