Kevin Atkinson has been appointed chair of the Hawke’s Bay DHB by Health Minister Tony Ryall.
That’s terrific news for those who believe the point of having elected DHB’s is to ensure some measure of accountability to the community. Having an elected chairman — especially one who rolls up his shirtsleeves, intelligently questions the DHB bureaucracy, and welcomes interaction with the public, all Atkinson trademarks — will make a big difference in terms of DHB responsiveness.
Interestingly, our DHB is one of only five in the country (out of twenty DHB’s) where Ryall appointed an elected member as chair. Ryall has been quite outspoken about the DHB’s requiring top echelon leadership going forward. His action is a real credit to Atkinson, made all the more rewarding given the sorry “interruption” in DHB democracy in Hawke’s Bay.
Ryall also appointed Ngahiwi Tomoana as deputy chair … another endorsement of local leadership for our DHB. Hopefully that’s a signal that the Minister wants more attention paid to the health care needs of Maori in HB.
Congratulations to both!
Addendum: Mayor Barbara Arnott, HB businessman Dan Druzianic, and Wairoa deputy mayor Denise Eaglesome were also appointed to the Board. Here’s the DHB’s media release.