Meeting absences OK, says chairman

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 05:00 23/11/2012

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The chairman of the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) has no concerns with the attendance rates of members.

CDHB chairman Bruce Matheson said there was an expectation that members would attend meetings, but there were times when people were unable to attend.

His comments came after The Press published a list of attendance rates for board members during the current term. Only one member had attended all 24 meetings, with others having missed between two and 13 since the 2010 elections.

Elected member Aaron Keown, who was also elected to Christchurch City Council in 2010, had missed eight of the 11 meetings held so far this year and five of the 13 held last year.

He told The Press last week that his attendance rates dropped when the CDHB moved its meeting day from Friday to Thursday this year, meaning it clashed with council meetings.

Matheson said yesterday he did not have concerns with members having responsibilities with other organisations.

"Members need to prioritise as may be required. Often involvement with other organisations broadens a member's experiences - adding value to board discussions."

Matheson said he would not discuss an individual's meeting attendances in the media and any issues about attendance would be addressed with the person concerned.

The board had discussed the 2013 meeting schedule at its October meeting and there was no call for the meeting day to be changed before the schedule was approved, he said.

Elected board member Anna Crighton had missed six meetings this term, with most absences caused by a clash in meeting dates with another board she was a member of - the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

"It's extraordinary because they met on the same day as the DHB in 2011," she said.

"I always look at the agendas and see which one has got decision-making which makes it vital for me to be there.

"I think I spread myself fairly well."

Crighton said much of a health board member's work happened outside the boardroom, including attending committee meetings, meeting various health professionals and groups, and acting as a liaison between the DHB and people who had experienced problems within the health sector.

"It's your own initiative to go to these different areas and get a feeling with what the board is about," she said.

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- The Press

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