Last week we had Sir John Hansen, current Chair of the Canterbury District Health Board. Sir John gave a relatively short talk and then answered questions from those attending and those who had submitted questions earlier. It was one of the few times which Sir John has spoken publicly, and we were grateful for him attending.
Things have moved a lot since last week’s talk. Two more senior managers have resigned, one after having been named by Sir John in his talk to the Tuesday Club where he identified her as being the person who would have been playing a key role in the CDHB’s future.
I have gone back and watched the talk on Facebook, as have nearly 3500 others. After watching I would make the following observations. Sir John:
- Seemed to place little, if any, value on the role of leadership by the existing exec at CDHB;
- Seemed to feel that others would step up into the positions which have been vacated;
- Feels that he is mainly accountable to his “shareholding Minister”;
- Doesn’t feel that banging the table in Wellington would be effective;
- Doesn’t support asking Wellington for more money;
- Feels that reducing the deficit below $145m can be achieved without service cuts;
- Feels that most of the Board are on side with him;
- Agreed that the Ministry of Health’s has been incompetent with its delivery of the buildings at CDHB;
- Does not feel that having a Judge and 2 lawyers and a Property Developer on the Board all well versed in adversarial tactics is a problem dealing with an institution filled with staff who focus primarily on people.
I attended some of the CDHB Board meeting on Thursday. There the people who had resigned were giving advice in a professional and understandable manner. It would have been impossible to tell that they had resigned. The Board were also conducting their discussion as if nothing was different and that they had created mayhem within the Institution. There were five Board members, including the three City Councillors, who were present by Zoom and most of the time they had their cameras off.
This was a fundamentally important meeting and all members should have been present, if at all possible. If they had been present, they would have heard the staff shouting from the street. Calling for the Board to listen to their concerns. It was amazing theatre.
I went down to the demonstration. I’ve never seen anything like it. Traditionally Doctors, nurses, para medics, medical technicians, cleaners etc don’t stand alongside each other with something like this. The magnificent leadership of the CDHB over the past few years has created an atmosphere that those who are only driven by finance couldn’t start to understand.
A woman sidled up to me and thanked me for the Tuesday Club support for the CDHB. She asked if we could catch up and gave me her card. I have no idea if we have met before as with a mask on it was hard to tell. When I looked at her card, I found that she was one of the CDHB’s top Doctors.
These people must be listened to. Somehow, we need to find a course which finds a solution to what is now a dangerous crisis with our important health organisation.
This week ended with the following statement:
A message on behalf of Sir John Hansen, Board Chair and David Meates, Chief Executive
We advise with regret, that yesterday we received the resignations of Mary Gordon – Executive Director of Nursing and Stella Ward – Chief Digital Officer, just prior to the Board meeting.
We know that news of yesterday’s resignations on top of the recent resignations of some of their executive team colleagues is unsettling for everyone. It is so important that as a health system we continue to focus on providing the best possible care to our community.
Thank you in advance to those who have agreed to step into acting roles to cover their leaders who are departing. We have every confidence in your abilities and appreciate it will be challenging. Further details on acting arrangements given yesterday’s announcements will be confirmed on Monday.
We are aware that there have been real concerns expressed about the level of savings being required to be delivered by Canterbury DHB and the impact that would have on the level of services provided across the Canterbury Health system. Figures of $90m plus have been circulating which has also increased the level of uncertainty and disquiet across the organisation.
With this in mind, yesterday the Board considered and endorsed the plan to save $56.9 million. This sum is now included in the Annual Plan to be submitted to the Ministry of Health which shows a planned deficit for the 20/21 year of $145 million (after the planned savings are taken into account).
While this will be challenging, we believe it is achievable and as we’ve seen time and time again this organisation has demonstrated its ability to deliver. We now know what we are all aiming to achieve.
Some of the feedback from the Tuesday Club last week:
Do you know what was missing from that? Absolutely no mention or even hint of an organizational culture – board and everyone.
Lots of platitudes and earnest consideration, nothing on creating a shared culture of performance and success.
I’m not prepared to be seen on the Tuesday Club Zoom session as it’s too much of a risk from a bullying vindictive group of wreckers.
There’s been a lot of media coverage this week. Here’s some of it:
Here’s the link to the session involving Sir John Hansen, and the chat and questions included https://tuesdayclub.nz/sir-john-hansen-chair-of-cdhb-18-august-2020/
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