The Director-General of Health, Chai Chuah, has announced his resignation, stepping down from the role as health boss two-and-a-half years into a five-year term.
The new Government, and in particular Health Minister David Clark, have been highly critical of Chuah from the Opposition benches and Chuah said it was “important for the sector to operate in a unified way”.
Chuah had informed State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes in July, he was considering stepping down.
I have little doubt that the reason for the departure is that the new Minister would have expressed a lack of confidence in him. When this occurs, the State Services Commissioner will normally arrange a departure. It isn’t tenable to have a CEO who doesn’t have the confidence of their Minister.
So it’s a early win for Clark. Chuah was controversial in the sector and had very strained relations with some DHBs. This will make things smoother for Clark.
Finding a replacement may be difficult though. It is arguably the worst job in the public sector because the demand for spending in health will always outstrip supply. There are always new technologies, new drugs, more procedures, more staff needed. The DG of Health has to try and get efficiencies of a system that is often resistant to them.
Of interest is this announcement:
Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced the urgent establishment of a new Ministerial Advisory Group on the Health System.
Dr Clark has appointed Sir Brian Roche as chair of the group. Professor David Tipene-Leach, Muriel Tūnoho, Dr Karen Poutasi and Dr Lester Levy have also been appointed members for a term of two years. They will report directly to the Minister of Health.
“These five individuals are extremely experienced and highly regarded in the health and disability sector.
“I’ve asked them to advise me on lifting the Ministry’s performance and leadership, strengthening relationships across the sector, and helping to deliver the Government’s strategic direction for health. This work is critical to improving the quality of our health services.
I don’t know all the members but Roche, Poutasi and Levy are well regarded and could well play a good role in improving the performance of the Ministry of Health.