2 Mar 2012

Vote of no confidence in Whanganui DHB bosses deferred

7:39 pm on 2 March 2012

A bid to oust the chairperson and chief executive of the Whanganui District Health Board has been deferred.

A board member Clive Solomon, who is also a surgeon, had threatened to hold a vote of no confidence in Kate Joblin and Julie Patterson, over their proposal for specialist maternity care to be concentrated at Palmerston North Hospital.

However, Mr Solomon said he would defer that motion because of the positive tone of a board meeting held on Friday afternoon.

The board agreed to put the proposal to the community for public consultation.

It also established a sub-committee to improve the recruitment and retention of maternity specialists to retain some level of service in Whanganui.

Existing maternity services will remain at Whanganui Hospital at least until the board meets again to make a final decision on 25 May.

Nursing staff at Wanganui Hospital had earlier demonstrated their support for Ms Joblin and Ms Patterson by writing to a local newspaper saying the change would not put patients at risk.

The letter said Mr Solomon's vote of no confidence was an unsettling distraction for staff.

Mr Solomon had said the DHB was kept in the dark about the maternity services proposal, and was misled about the options available.

Another member of the Whanganui DHB, Philippa Baker-Hogan, resigned from a committee in protest over the plan to shift services to Palmerston North.

She said she was not properly informed about the plans.

But she did not support the bid to oust Kate Joblin and Julie Patterson which she said was a side-show that could give the Government an excuse to remove the board and replace it with commissioners.