no confidence …
The Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) strongly endorses calls by the Member for Bega, the Hon Andrew Constance, for the NSW Minister for Health, the Hon Brad Hazzard, to appoint an administrator to address the failures of governance around the management of the Southern NSW Local Health District, in particular the new South East Regional Hospital (SERH).
While the BVSRRA welcomes the call by Mr Constance, it remains appalled that it has taken almost six months since the district refused to renew the contract of the head of orthopaedic surgery at SERH, Dr Chris Phoon, allegedly due to his failure to adhere to the ‘core values’ of NSW Health, & more than two months after an independent review of the SERH found that its culture was characterised by bullying, harassment & intimidation, & was dysfunctional & toxic.
In making his call, Mr Constance said:
“Let me be clear. I think that the governance between the board & the CEO of the Health District (Southern District LHD) & what has occurred around Bega hospital is where the failure is. A major change is required to fix it once & for all. This is not new. It has been going on for years.”
Notwithstanding his statement, the BVSRRA is disappointed to note that Mr Constance did not specifically call for the resignation of the local health district board & its CEO, or for their dismissal &, as a result, has allowed the uncertainty around the future of Dr Phoon, orthopaedic services at the SERH & the effective management of the hospital to continue.
The BVSRRA notes that the NSW Health Corporate Governance and Accountability Compendium provides a summary of the key governance requirements applying to NSW Health agencies, including local health district boards. Section 3 of the compendium defines the accountabilities of the local health board & the chief executive of the district. Chief Executives are, in the exercise of their functions, accountable to their Board.
Commenting on the appointment of Ms Janet Crompton to the position of CEO, health district chair Jenny Symonds said her appointment reflected the board’s confidence in her ability to successfully consolidate and build on the solid foundations created by the previous CEO, Dr Max Alexander. She also said that:
“Ms Compton’s managerial experience will help us to effectively implement new, improved ways of keeping people well & out of hospital, & working in partnership with local providers to build innovative programs & services that best suit the needs of the Local Health District.”
The BVSRRA believes that it is manifestly clear that the board & the CEO have not only failed to meet their fundamental obligations as enunciated by NSW Health but also their own publicly stated objectives, as clearly evidenced by recent events. Furthermore, the BVSRRA believes that the board & CEO of the southern district local health district should resign immediately or be dismissed John Richardson Secretary/Treasurer Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association