From a land down under

Earlier this month, Fraser Health Board chair Gordon Barefoot was "pleased" to announce the appointment of New Zealand physician and health administrator Nigel Murray as the authority's new chief executive office. But, down under, at least one Kiwi is pleased to see the back of him. Prior to his new appointment, Mr. Murray had been the chief negotiator for New Zealand's 21 district health boards. And, in that capacity, he had been involved in labour talks with the country's senior doctors - talks that have been at a stalemate. Asked for comment on Mr. Murray's departure, Association of Salaried Medical Specialists executive director Ian Powell - who speaks on behalf of those doctors - said "good riddance." This, according to Radio New Zealand, whose health correspondent noted "senior doctors disliked (Mr. Murray) intensely." The following is a complete copy of that article.

Senior doctors say the sudden surprise resignation of a district health board leader may provide for a break-through in their stalled pay talks.

The spokesman on industrial relations for the district health boards - Southland DHB chief executive Nigel Murray - resigned on Wednesday and leaves for a job in Canada at the end of the month. Mr Murray says that he has "pressing family requirements" and is not elaborating; he's taken a job as president and chief executive of the Fraser Health Authority in British Columbia.

Mr Murray has been in charge at Southland DHB for about a year and led the DHBs' side in talks with junior doctors that ended last year in a settlement after a bitter strike. He forged a deal with nurses that was ratified last week, and was heading talks with senior doctors that are at a stalemate.

Wairarapa DHB chief executive David Meates will now be the lead negotiator.

Senior doctors said last night through their spokesman, Ian Powell, that they're pleased to see the back of Dr Murray - "good riddance" were their words.

Radio New Zealand's health correspondent says senior doctors disliked him intensely.

But the DHBs say nothing will change and reiterate that a wage settlement needs to be around 4% all up on an annualised basis for a three-year term - not any higher. They say the doctors want just over 7% - that's disputed by the doctors.

3 Comments

New Zealand for Fraser Health; South Africa for Children and Family Ministry. Must be that candidates in the Northern Hemishphere have heard of the Campbell government's habit of tearing up contracts.

'Senior doctors said last night through their spokesman, Ian Powell, that they're pleased to see the back of Dr Murray - "good riddance" were their words.'

In my view there is another import whose back we'd like to see and to whom we would like to say "good riddance". MCFD is a place of sorrow and despair and nothing useful or positive has been accomplished these past 18 months.

Maybe the Fraser Health Authority - and by extension the B.C. Minstry of Health - could use a man who's willing to take on the doctors.
What does Les Vertesi say?

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