Ryall questioned over top board posts

21:12, Dec 18 2013
Tony Ryall
HEALTH MINISTER: Tony Ryall.

Leading clinicians are demanding answers from Minister of Health Tony Ryall over the controversial removal of the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) chairman and deputy.

Questions have been raised about whether the former chairman of the board, Bruce Matheson, was not re-appointed because he ''stood out against the minister''.

In an opinion piece published by The Press today, Christchurch Hospital medical staff association president Dr Ruth Spearing called for Health Minister Tony Ryall to give the people of Canterbury an explanation over ''why he has removed two key people from our health service''.

Ryall said Matheson had done a "good job", but the Government was trying encourage greater co-operation between DHBs.

"Cross board appointments help encourage greater regional collaboration," he said.

"Last election, Dr Lester Levy was appointed chair for both Waitemata and Auckland, and Dr Virginia Hope was appointed chair for Hutt Valley and Capital Coast.

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"We have seen these DHBs working more closely together to provide better health services for their communities."

Matheson and deputy chairman Peter Ballantyne were both stood down by Ryall this term, despite the post-earthquake successes of the CDHB being recognised on the global stage.

Matheson was replaced with Murray Cleverley, who is a part-time Cera employee and also the chair of the South Canterbury DHB, and Steve Wakefield, Cera's former economic recovery team leader, has taken over Ballantyne's role.

Spearing wrote that it was ''with  great concern  and puzzlement'' that Matheson and Ballantyne had been removed ''with no public explanation''.

Ryall said Matheson had done well in difficult times.

"The Government wants Canterbury and South Canterbury DHBs to work more closely together and Mr Cleverley is the right person to lead that."

The Press