DHB fraud fallout highlights stupidity of Clayton’s democracy


Otago District Health Board chairman Richard Thomson didn’t accept the invitation to jump so Health Minister Tony Ryall has pushed him

No-one is saying Thomson is responsible for the $17 million fraud for which former ODHB employee Michael Swann and his and business associate Kerry Harford were found gulty last year.

But Ryall is holding him accountable  and had he understood his role and responsibilities as chair he’d have resigned before he was sacked.

David Farrar Kiwiblog explains the requirement for accountability at Kiwiblog and in his NBR column.

The letters page of the ODT has had a lot of correspondence on the issue, some of those in support of Thomson point out he was elected to the board, not appointed.

That is irrelevant and just highlights the stupidity of the Clayton’s democracy surrounding DHB elections because, elected or appointed ,health boards and their members are accountable not to their communities but the Minister.

Because he’s elected, Thomson could choose to stay on as a board member now he’s been sacked as chair. But if he didn’t understand why, although he was neither to blame nor responsible for the fraud, he should still have been accountable for it; he’s shown he doesn’t understand the role of the board and to whom it’s answerable.

$16.9m fraud against ODHB


Michael Swann and Kerry Harford have been found guilty of defrauding the Otago District Health Board of $16.9m.

The ODT backgrounds what is thought to be the largest fraud against a government instituion.

Its editorial asks about the duty of care the ODHB and its predecessor Healthcare Otago had to prevent the fraud or uncover it sooner.

And Health Minister Tony Ryall has called for urgent confirmation systems are in place  to prevent fraud in all DHBs.

Large organisations have to trust their employees, but they also need systems to ensure that their trust is not misplaced.

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