Hawke’s Bay DHB Report

After days and weeks of the Minister and suggesting that the final MOH report would clear everything up, hey presto it is released today and by avoiding minor little issues such as why someone with such massive conflicts was appointed in the first place, it gives people a tick.

The report is on the MOH website and is a massive 190 pages. The report itself is very fine within its careful terms of reference (and has some very good recommendations).  Things people should note are:

  • management’s conduct and performance was excluded.  Now recall there was a near civil war between the governors and management, and only the governors were reviewed.
  • The deletion of e-mails is not covered
  • The treatment of the whistleblower is excluded
  • The taping of conversations by Ray Lind is not covered
  • The Minister’s decision to appoint Hausmann is out of bounds
  • Any disclosures by Hausmann prior to appointment are not covered

You see it all is like Yes Minister taught us.  Frame the terms of reference correctly and you are guaranteed a report which will not cause problems.  Clark did the same with the Ingram Report.  This casts no aspersions on the report writers, but shows the limitations of the type of inquiry chosen.
Despite that the report by no means “clears” Hausmann. On numerous occassions it states he should have acted differently. But in the end I don’t think Hausmann is the main issue here. Other board members are also slated.

The report makes clear Hausmann had been working with the DHB since 2003 on possible public/private joint ventures. It is exceedingly clear should never ever have appointed him to the DHB.  With all respect he was probably the most conflicted person in NZ with regard to that particular DHB.  Her decision went on to cause almost all the problems.   If she had left him off the board, his company might today be engaged in a happy partnership with the DHB.

Despite the criticism of Hausmann in the report, I’m prepared to give him some benefit of the doubt and say he did try to do the right thing most of the time.  But his company was so involved with the DHB at so many levels, it was always going to be near impossible – you had DHB managers asking him for advice all the time.  He probably should have been appointed CEO not a DHB member.

If one really needs to point fingers I think DHB management is a place to start. Numerous board decisions were not implemented, and it is the DHB CEO and senior staff who should have been providing the advice to DHB members on handling conflicts. The fact the CEO was tied up in the middle of all the problems made things worse.

Finally the report notes:

As such, the views contained in the draft reports were preliminary views expressed at the time that the drafts were provided. The Panel now considers that a number of these preliminary views were wrong.

That is an extraordinary change for a draft to final report.  I will be very interested in seeing the draft report when it comes out.

And the question once again I would ask if why did Annette King appoint Hausmann?  Officials in MOH and DPMC were concerned.   She did not follow best practice with an interview panel. She ignored the concerns of the current Board Chair. His conflicts were probably bigger than any other person in NZ for that DHB. She claims it is all because she chatted to him at some cocktail function and was impressed by him.

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