I’ve begun reading the monthly reports prepared by CEO Chris Clarke at the District Health Board for his new minders … Sir John Anderson & fellow Commissioners.

Last month, Clarke gave a surprisingly rosy assessment of the DHB’s financial situation, noting that a $2.7 million “operational unfavourable variance” was just a bit over 1% of overall revenue. He termed the result “quite good.” I say “surprisingly” because, as you’ll recall, financial mismanagement was a chief reason, supposedly, that the elected Health Board was terminated.

Now this month, here’s what Clarke reports with regard to the DHB’s multi-year strategic plan:

“The DHB is required to review its District Strategic Plan (currently in its 3 rd year) and if major changes are required, to consult on those changes including a formal health needs assessment. ELT’s initial high level review indicates the DSP is still the ‘right plan’ and is consistent with the strategic direction of the Ministry of Health and most, if not all, DHBs. It also reflects international developments.”

Clarke further remarks that he doesn’t expect further internal review will yield amendments to the three-year-old plan that require outside consultation.

So, if I’m reading this right, the CEO says the DHB is essentially on the right course financially (“quite good”) and strategically (“right plan”). The DHB is not sick after all.

I’m confused. Why then did we amputate the elected board? Are we to believe that the DHB is financially and strategically sound in spite of them? Or has there been some kind of miracle recovery in the last few months … perhaps a remission from the cancer of elected Board incompetence?!

Yeah right!


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