Lessons for Waikato DHB out of report

Health Minister Dr David Clark says he expects District Health Boards to be acutely aware of the need for proper oversight and control of executive expenses.

The State Services Commission has released the Ombler Report into allegations of unjustified expenditure at the Waikato DHB. It found that more than half of the former chief executive Dr Nigel Murray’s expenditure on travel and accommodation was unjustified.

“The public rightly expect DHBs leaders to be careful stewards of health funding, and so do I.

“Health funding should be used for health care and prevention. There needs to be clear justification for spending on travel and related costs.

“This report confirms that was sadly not always the case at the Waikato DHB. There was a notable failure of leadership and oversight.

“As Minister I will hold DHB chairs accountable for the spending on their watch. There needs to be transparency around expenses, including written authorisation for significant travel costs and robust processes for manager’s expenses.

“Oversight will also be bolstered by the changes announced last month in the State Sector and Crown Entities Reform Bill.

“To say this has been a disappointing episode for all involved is an understatement, but I have no doubt that lessons have been learned.

“I now expect the Waikato DHB to concentrate on its real job – delivering quality health care for the people of Waikato. I have every confidence that the acting chair Sally Webb will ensure they do just that,” David Clark said.