Taranaki DHB chief executive resigns

Taranaki District Health Board chief executive Tony Foulkes has resigned.
Andy Jackson

Taranaki District Health Board chief executive Tony Foulkes has resigned.

Taranaki DHB chief executive Tony Foulkes, who had nine months off work last year following an accident, has resigned.

After 12 years at the helm of one of Taranaki's largest employers Foulkes, who was responsible for a budget of more than $300 million, will leave at the end of the month.

The DHB would be looking to appoint a permanent replacement as soon as possible, chairwoman Pauline Lockett said.

"In the meantime Rosemary Clements will be acting chief executive."

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Clements had been in the role since Foulkes had an accident about 12 months ago. He had been off work for most of the year before going back to work part time. 

It was not the first time Foulkes, whose salary was in the $380,000 to $389,999 bracket, had an extended period off work. In January 2012 he had a crash on his bike seriously damaging both wrists and leaving him with one arm in a sling and the other in plaster.

Foulkes said he went back to work fulltime at the end of last year.

"Obviously last year was a tough year and I'm delighted to have made a full recovery. Health wise I'm feeling really good."

He'd been working through his decision with the board and had decided now was the best time now for him to make his move, he said.

"There is a strong team at the DHB to carry on."

 It had been a great privilege to have worked alongside so many talented and dedicated people in Taranaki, he said.

"Clinical staff working in hospitals, PHOs and many community settings should rightly be acknowledged for the amazing work they do. However I've always been struck by the huge range of non-clinical and support staff as well as friends, families and carers who all play a vital role in working together to help one another in our community.

"It's not easy at times, but people matter and people care, so want to play their part - that's what I've loved about working in health and particularly here in Taranaki."

After 23 years in senior health management roles Foulkes said he would always be close to health.

"However I am keen to extend my skills and work in the area of community development and human rights, including in an international context."

He wouldn't say what he would be doing, but said he had some exciting ideas and plans that were still to be confirmed.

Lockett said Foulkes was one of the longest serving DHB chief executives in New Zealand.

"He has made a major contribution to the growth and development of health services for the Taranaki community as CEO, and has shown great drive and determination in addressing the many challenges along the way. "

Foulkes first came to Taranaki in 1996 for a two year stint as manager for Central and South Taranaki services and he returned to the province in 2003 after working at MidCentral DHB as chief executive, she said.

"He was instrumental in securing the support of the Ministry of Health, government, staff and the community for Project Maunga, the major campus redevelopment at Taranaki Base Hospital, and successfully led the project through design, build and opening."

His inclusive and supportive leadership style had enabled a number of innovations in Taranaki, she said.

"And the development of a well respected high performing organisation, focused on doing the best for patients. He continues to advocate strongly for further integration of hospital and community based services, and further development of Maori health services to better serve our community."

 - Stuff

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