15 Jul 2014

DHB standing by new chief executive

9:23 pm on 15 July 2014

The Waikato District Health Board is rejecting criticism about the appointment of its hotly debated new chief executive.

The Labour Party and a union say the person the DHB has chosen is divisive and his work record in Canada has not been adequately checked.

The DHB said recently it had appointed former Southland DHB chief executive Nigel Murray to replace Craig Climo, who leaves on Friday.

Dr Murray led employment talks that ended in a junior doctors' strike in 2006, before leaving to head the Fraser health authority in Canada.

Labour and the senior doctors' union say a damning Canadian government review of Fraser revealed shortcomings, that Dr Murray is divisive, and the DHB should have studied this before appointing him.

But DHB chairperson Bob Simcock said they've spoken with people Dr Murray has worked for and with in Canada, Auckland and Southland, and received positive comments.

Mr Simcock said the shortcomings revealed by the Canadian review relate to growing health pressures generally, not to Dr Murray's performance.

Dr Murray begins work in Hamilton on 21 July.