The urgent establishment of a five member Ministerial Advisory Group has been announced this morning by Health Minister Dr David Clark.
The announcement follows hot on the heels of Chai Chuah yesterday announcing he will step down early from his five year contract as the Director General of Health and chief executive of the Ministry of Health.
Clark said it had become increasingly clear to him “that all is not well within our public health system”.
“Nine years of under-resourcing and neglect have taken their toll.”
He said he has asked the group, chaired by Sir Brian Roche, to advise him on “lifting the Ministry’s performance and leadership, strengthening relationships across the sector and helping Government’s strategic direction for health”.
Relationships between the district health boards and Ministry of Health – particularly with quake-hit Canterbury District Health Board – were believed to have become increasingly strained in recent years.
The other members of the advisory group are Professor David Tipene-Leach, Muriel Tūnoho, Dr Karen Poutasi and Dr Lester Levy who have all been appointed members for a term of two years. They will report directly to the Minister of Health and funded from the Ministry of Health budget.
Chair Sir Brian Roche is a former Chief Executive of PWC NZ, oversaw a significant transformation of the New Zealand Post Group as Chief Executive and is an experienced chair of numerous entities, both Crown and private.
Professor David Tipene-Leach is a Professor of Māori and Indigenous Research at the Eastern Institute of Technology. He began his career as a GP in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and has led innovative public health projects including safe sleeping campaigns for babies and preventionof long-term conditions, particularly diabetes.
Muriel Tūnoho is president of E tū, one of New Zealand’s largest unions and national coordinator for Healthcare Aotearoa, which represents many community and iwi controlled primary health providers. She is also involved with Hutt Union & Community Health Service and is an executive member on the Living Wage Movement Aotearoa board.
Dr Karen Poutasi is a former Director-General of Health. She oversaw the establishment of district health boards and the amalgamation of the former Health Funding Authority with the Ministry of Health.
Dr Lester Levy is Chair of the three Auckland district health boards, and has extensive experience in other private and government governance roles.