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Source: Association of Salaried Medical Specialists

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists says Canterbury DHB Chief Executive David Meates was put in an untenable position and the people of Canterbury should be angry and upset over his resignation.

Mr Meates’ resignation from both the Canterbury and West Coast DHBs was announced at an emergency Canterbury Board meeting today. Two other members of his executive leadership team have recently resigned and ASMS understands others could follow.

ASMS Executive Director Sarah Dalton says David Meates has been a tremendous leader and his departure is hugely disappointing.

“He has overseen an enviable model of collaboration between management and clinicians which has produced one of the most efficient, productive and innovative DHB systems in the country. He has also provided strong leadership through the challenges of the earthquake rebuild and the Christchurch mosque attacks”.

Canterbury DHB has been under immense pressure to reduce the size of its deficit, which is the largest in the country, primarily due to ongoing earthquake rebuild costs.

Sarah Dalton says David Meates and his executive leadership team have been put in an impossible position by the Board and the Crown Monitor Lester Levy.

“The Board and Crown Monitor have had an obsessive focus on balancing the books and are demanding the DHB implement a massive cost-cutting exercise, which would result in job losses and reduced services for the people of Canterbury. It’s time we asked ourselves what the public health service is actually for.”

She says putting numbers ahead of the people is not a responsible governance strategy for DHB.

“The Board has repeatedly failed to listen to the advice of its senior management and clinical leaders and in my view has acted unethically.  The chair should have the courage to stand up to the Government and speak up for Cantabrians instead of asking DHB management to force cuts to healthcare and facilities that will ultimately leave the health system unfit for purpose – and potentially unsafe”.

“The sorry result of this Board’s failings is the loss of an effective DHB chief executive and a number of his team at a time when the health system can ill-afford to lose strong, experienced leadership,” Sarah Dalton says.