Clinician's high pay 'from extra hours'

19:50, May 09 2012

The Southern District Health Board will not name the clinician or the specialty of the clinician who is paid between $820,000 and $840,000.

Board management faced questions on the "exceptional" salary, as well as the high rate of adverse events in the district, and possible research into bowel cancer in the southern area during a bi-annual health select committee review at Parliament yesterday.

During the hearing, health board chief executive Carole Heatly said the clinician had been paid for hours worked which were outside the contracted amount.

Labour's health spokeswoman Maryan Street asked Ms Heatly if this was because the clinician was "doing the work of two?"

Ms Heatly answered that the clinician "was doing more than the normal contracted hours."

The review was done by teleconference, with Ms Heatly, deputy chief executive Lexie O' Shea, finance manager Robert Mackway-Jones and board member Malcolm Macpherson standing in for board chairman Joe Butterfield.

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Mrs O'Shea said there was "no question of the challenge of recruitment" the district health board faced, but said that in the last 18 months there had been a shift from hiring more junior clinicians to hiring senior ones.

When asked by the committee if there was any research going into the high rate of bowel cancer in the southern region, Mrs O'Shea said the board was looking into a gastrointestinal centre in the south "as we speak."

She was not aware of a research project being done on bowel cancer in the south specifically, she said. The high rate of adverse events was being addressed through a programme investigating the systems in place.

The Southland Times