Ward named deputy chair of health board

Invercargill businessman Tim Ward has been named deputy chairman of the Southern District Health Board.

Mr Ward was elected to the board in October and was yesterday appointed by Health Minster Tony Ryall to replace Paul Menzies as deputy chairman.

Mr Ward said the health board had grappled with the Otago and Southland merger for the past three years, but the upheaval was finished.

"Our focus is about concreting the structural changes the district has undergone over the past three years," he said.

The next term would not be without challenges but the new board had showed an early commitment to the "Southern Way".

"It is really about putting the patient first, not just in hospitals but across all health services," Mr Ward said.

Financially, the new board will be forced to decrease its $13 million deficit, a challenge Mr Ward identified as its greatest.

He said the health minister had not indicated the health board would receive a decreased budget, but it may lose some discretionary freedom around the distribution of funding.

"The problem with tagged money is that there will be very sound reasons why it is tagged to a particular area but that may not align with the board's priorities," he said.

Joe Butterfield has retained his position as chairman of the board. amanda.parkinson@stl.co.nz

The Southland Times