Speaker phone is not first-rate

Listening to a board meeting over speaker phone has its challenges, such as actually being able to hear what is being said.

And that is what Taranaki District Health Board deputy chairwoman Sally Webb had to deal with at the last board meeting when the airport was shut and she was unable to make it to New Plymouth.

Webb, an appointed member of the board, is deputy chairwoman. She is also chairwoman of the Bay of Plenty DHB and lives in Whakatane.

For her first two meetings she flew in the day before and stayed overnight, courtesy of the DHB.

She had a guided tour of the new hospital, but wasn't able to get to the opening, she said.

But has been down to Hawera, to talk to "stakeholders".

Webb wouldn't discuss differences between the district health board in the Bay and the Taranaki DHB.

"It's really hard and bad practice to compare different organisations."

And it was too early for her to be able to say what she thought of the health sector in Taranaki.

However, she said the Taranaki DHB had good robust discussions and the relationship between the board and management team seemed to be really strong.

And she was impressed with the reports.

Living outside the region does not impact on her ability to do the job, she said.

"Most regions have joint members."

Health is about people, but she isn't there to represent the people of Taranaki. There are people who have been elected to the board who do that.

She comes to it from a health sector prospective.

"I have a range of skills that I bring from long history in the health sector." These include financial acumen and experience in governance.

Webb was a member of the Minister of Health's Ministerial Reference Group in 2009, and a director and interim chief executive officer of the Health Funding Authority.

Taranaki Daily News