Car­ing a se­ri­ous busi­ness

Central Leader - - NEWS - By LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

How many peo­ple do you know that have ended up in hos­pi­tal?

Auck­land Dis­trict Health Board chair­man Lester Levy says ev­ery­one needs med­i­cal help at some point – so ev­ery­one should care about the board’s up­com­ing elec­tions.

‘‘A friend asked me why I do it, and it’s the same an­swer I al­ways give: one day you or some­one you love will need se­ri­ous health care. I want to play a part in that care.’’

Nom­i­na­tions for the seven elected po­si­tions on the Auck­land Dis­trict Health Board (ADHB) open this Fri­day and run to Au­gust 16.

Vot­ing will be held from Septem­ber 25 to Oc­to­ber 12.

There are 20 dis­trict health boards in New Zealand co­or­di­nat­ing the day-to-day busi­ness of the health sys­tem within their bound­ary ar­eas.

The ADHB has a $2 bil­lion op­er­at­ing rev­enue which makes it one of the big­gest busi­nesses in New Zealand, Dr Levy says.

He says the large scale means heavy re­spon­si­bil­ity for board mem­bers, par­tic­u­larly so in tough fi­nan­cial times.

‘‘We’re talk­ing about large and com­plex busi­ness. Peo­ple need to be ready,’’ he says.

Dr Levy has spent a life­time in the health sec­tor in­clud­ing work­ing as the South Auck­land Health chief ex­ec­u­tive, Mer­cyAs­cot Pri­vate Hos­pi­tal Group founder and NZ Blood Ser­vice chief ex­ec­u­tive.

He is also chair­man of the Waitem­ata DHB and will con­tinue as chair­man of both un­til 2015, be­cause he was ap­pointed out of cy­cle in 2012.

He says peo­ple who are in­ter­ested should re­ally con­sider their ca­pac­ity for the role, in­clud­ing health and fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy.

Mem­bers need to at­tend weekly Wed­nes­day meet­ings, take part in com­mit­tees and keep up with read­ing ma­te­rial in their own time in­clud­ing 300-plus page agen­das.

It is a time-con­sum­ing but re­ward­ing job, he says.

‘‘It’s def­i­nitely for peo­ple who have that sense of ser­vice, com­mit­ment and in­ter­est in the area.’’

Votes in the elec­tion are made us­ing the sin­gle trans­fer­able vot­ing sys­tem, with vot­ers rank­ing can­di­dates in or­der of pref­er­ence.

Health fo­cus: Dr Lester Levy wants more peo­ple to care about the Auck­land Dis­trict Health Board’s up­com­ing elec­tions.

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