Undercover Minister

You’d think a man famed for his bright shirt and tie combinations would be hard to miss.

But Health Minister Tony Ryall has managed to pop in to the A&E waiting room at several hospitals  and isn’t always recognised.

“If he’s visiting a city he will sometimes duck into emergency departments and talk to patients there to see what is happening,” the spokesman told NZPA.

“He’s been getting the patient perspective on how things are working. He gets regular official reports, this puts the patient context into it.”

The spokesman said Ryall was sometimes recognised by staff.

“If he isn’t recognised he introduces himself but he wants to speak to patients, he doesn’t interrupt what the staff are doing and he never goes into areas where patients are being treated.”

It’s not the conventional way for a Minister to visit and not everyone approved but what’s the problem?

He introduces himself if he’s not recognised, he doesn’t want to interrupt staff, he gets to see what patients see and what staff have to deal with, without any of the stage management that goes in to an official visit.

8 Responses to Undercover Minister

  1. Neil says:

    I wonder if we tried to wander in to the Beehive office area we could do as he is doing. Maybe we might find Mr Ryall not performing as we would like.
    We wouldn’t get within metres of that area.
    I think what he is doing is very close to mixing governance with actually carrying out policy. Surely a conflict of interest. 101 Govt policy.
    Imagine that happening in all sorts of occupations-air flight controllers,the army in Afghanistan,classrooms of teachers without an invite etc.
    I believe Mr Ryall is an effective minister but I believe any person visiting a place needs to check in with the front desks authorities.
    A bit rich with the fact about union reps not having automatic access. Mr Ryall is the exception !!
    Don’t like the idea, it’s a bit like big brother or the secret police.

  2. I think it’s a bloody good idea. Good on him. Brings the beaurocrats in Wellington back to what many people are facing every day without the protection of a parliamentary job and its extras. Seeing what effect policy has at the other end of the spectrum.

  3. Gravedodger says:

    Good on yer neil.
    Pop over to the tv program about the Boss going undercover where CEOs get down to the coal face and experience what it is like for the grunts at the bottom of the heap.
    Things like aspirations, job security, who actually delivers the service and “smoko room chat can give a much more accurate perspective on how an organisation is viewed by staff and consumer alike without having the image screened, sanitised and spun by a raft of arse kissers who are protecting their “Patch”.
    KRT and HP are on the money for me, good on Mr Ryall,I still get gobsmacked at times with how those wonderful people in ED do what they do and some choose to do it year on year,”awesome”.

  4. Inventory2 says:

    Well said Ele, Kate and GD – this is good, basic stuff by Tony Ryall. The only downside of it is TV3’s breathless annoucement that he has been forced to admit he has been making secret visits to emergency wards, gathering intelligence. What a load of bollocks!

    PS – just as I was typing this, the midday news started on Newstalk ZB, and Labour is calling Ryall’s visits “creepy”. That to me says far more about Labour than it does about Tony Ryall.

  5. scrubone says:

    This is Good Management 101.

    That he is being asked to justify it is bizarre beyond belief. If anything, other ministers should be asked why they are *not* doing this.

  6. pdm says:

    Neil you are a dick.

    As long as he stays in the public areas he is free to go where he wants. Union reps would have the same freedom – it is when they interfere with staff going about their work that problems arise.

    You too are free to wander around the public areas of the beehive as I understand it.

  7. Sif says:

    Of course what you see in the waiting room indicates nothing about what is going on in the actual ED.

    Only a very stupid person would extrapolate from the business in the waiting room to the working end of ED


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