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WCC Watch and Hutt Valley

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    • Hope vs Choat
      • 17 Jan 2011
      • WCC Watch
      • Recently in David Choat’s blog he explains that a previous post recalling his observations in his first Capital and Coast DHB meeting led to him receiving a note from Board Chair Dr Virginia Hope (who was recently appointed to both the CCDHB and the Hutt Valley DHB – criticised as a first step towards amalgamation of the two health boards) as a breach of the CCDHB media policy (which effectively says that the Chair should be the person responsible for any comments for the Board) Hope’s explanation is not entirely clear from David’s post, only that it had caused her distress. It would be a fair point to make had Choat attempted to represent the Board exclusively. Yet, if anything, the article reads about what he did and thought at the meeting. I can’t see how what he said would have been any different had Choat been in a public meeting, or in a one-on-one chance meeting with one of his constituents. In fact the post by Choat in question was entitled “Reflections on my first board meeting” Go read the post for Choat’s response, which I think reflects his commitment to transparency with the public on (open) board matters being debated as part of a publicly accountable body. So, what precisely does the policy do – here is a copy (1MB PDF). It was last updated and debated at a meeting in August 2009. The comms manager wasn’t present and Helene Ritchie was the only member to vote against it. Odd. It’s no surprise how unworkable the policy has been in practice. It basically bars any direct interaction with the public by board members. I wonder what kind of world the drafters of this policy were living in when they thought that such restrictions on public debate would actually work. Would it be surprising that Dr Hope doesn’t agree with David’s very blunt but arguably popular slogan “Care not cuts” as a way to deal with the challenges at the CCDHB: “Cuts is really the wrong word. Savings, I think, is a better word” (The Wellingtonian, 6 January 2011) Clearly, any Chair would not want to have to battle the framing of an alternative viewpoint as well as the controversial challenges for an organisation like those faced by the CCDHB, but it also makes me wonder what the Chair’s personal direction will be in the Board’s response to those challenges? Regardless, there appears to be a developing division between the new board member and the new chair. Already, Choat has said that the matter of the media policy will be on the agenda at the next meeting. There doesn’t appear to be much that the Chair could do, but the board (particularly the publically elected members) should be mindful of the public’s need to be informed unfettered by the spin that sometimes happens and refuse to punish Choat. The next meeting is on February 4 at 8.30am (in the Board Room on 11th Floor of the Grace Neill Block, Wellington Regional Hospital on Riddiford Street, Newtown), and you can attend in person to make sure the Board get the point. (More info on the meeting here)
      • Tagged as:
      • huttvalley
      • newtown
      • Newtown, Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, New Zealand (OpenStreetMap)

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