Disenchanted DHB members withdraw
Two Porirua board members, Barbara Donaldson and Margaret Faulkner, are standing down from the Capital and Coast District Health Board this year, citing frustration with ministerial control.
Ms Donaldson, a former hospital administrator, has served a single term on the board.
She said she wanted to concentrate on representing Porirua and Tawa as a regional councillor and on her international health work, monitoring health service quality.
‘‘I feel I can be more use in better ways than on the board,’’ she said.
Ms Donaldson said she felt the board’s role was quite restricted.
‘‘The minister basically approves the budget . . . sets the targets we have to match, decides the direction we can go in,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s much harder to feel you are meeting the needs of your population. You do your best, but it’s within restricted parameters.’’
The Capital and Coast Board out-performed many of its peer boards, but was chronically underfunded to provide tertiary services and had battled a longstanding debt problem, Ms Donaldson said.
‘‘At the same time you are trying to meet targets like a sixhour stay in the emergency department,’’ she said.
Ms Faulkner said there was a mixture of reasons for her resignation and some were political.
‘‘ I have problems. I don’t always agree with the way we are counting achievement and not counting quality,’’ she said.
There had been much debate about council amalgamations, but the same thing was happening to health boards by stealth, she said.
‘‘We have got a direction from the minister that he wants regional services, not just local services,’’ Ms Faulkner.
‘‘To me there is just a lot of unrest about how that will be done.
‘‘Will it be done on client satisfaction and health care?’’
Former Porirua mayor Jenny Brash worked with Ms Faulkner for many years at the board and said she would be a huge loss.
‘‘The amount of work she does is colossal,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s not just a case of skimming through a few board meeting papers.
‘‘She has a lot of wisdom and a lot of experience to base it on.’’
Restricted: Barbara Donaldson
Unrest: Margaret Faulkner