Board members have use-by dates


The people who set the law that U.S.A. presidents could serve no more than two four-year terms provided a good example for boards to follow.

While it there may be exceptions, a couple of four year terms or three three-year terms are generally enough for board members to give their best and retire while they’re still giving it.

When board members step down after a maximum of eight or nine years it provides the opportunity for others to come in with fresh energy and enthusiasm, new ideas and – if they take their role seriously – questions about what’s being done and why.

Health Minister Tony Ryall has told Southern District Health Board chair Errol Miller he won’t be reappointed. There are no questions about his contribution and leadership, it’s just time for change. 

Mr Ryall said Mr Millar had done a notable job for nearly eight years, particularly in “bringing the two boards together”.

A different set of skills was now needed, he said in a brief statement. He said he had appreciated working with Mr Millar and was sure he had “more to offer the health service” in future.

Auckland DHB chair Pat Sneddon has said he will resign after a discussion with the minister too.

Board membership have a use-by date. Good ones realise that themselves and work out it’s time to go before others push them. 

Institutional knowledge and experience and assets for boards but so too are a new perspective and different skills.

Southern DHBs to merge


The Otago and Southland District Health Boards are expected to merge.

The boards have been working closely together with some members from each sitting on both. A merger is the logical next step.

A merger of the Otago and Southland district health boards would immediately save a minimum of $500,000, with savings of at least $1 million expected longer term as duplication of board and committee meetings was cut, ODHB chairman Errol Millar said last night.

 It will also mean better service and some choice for patients, especially in Central Otago.

Cancer patients from Queenstown have to travel to Invercargill for chemotherapy treatment even though it could be provided at Clyde Hospital which is closer because Queenstown is covered by the SDHB and Clyde is under the ODHB. When the boards merge this sort of bureaucratic line drawing will stop.

The merge might persuade neighbouring boards in other areas to join forces too. Twenty one district health boards for a population of 4 million is administration overkill and a ridiculous waste of time, energy and money.

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