Spend-up shows how out of touch the Ministry of Health has become
“The huge spend-up by the Ministry of Health’s former Director-General just shows out of touch the Ministry has become with the real world of cash-strapped hospitals and shortages in front line clinical staff,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).
He was commenting on reports that Director-General Chai Chuah spent $31,000 on a nine-day course in the United States and $233,258 to fly overseas facilitators to New Zealand to run workshops for Ministry of Health staff and others (https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/101209726/health-boss-chai-chuah-spent-233000-on-foreign-academics-and-31000-on-course-months-before-he-quit). The Director-General is due to leave the top Ministry role this month.
The workshops were based on the concept of ‘disruptive innovation’, which Ian Powell describes as a nonsense.
“It’s a distraction thought up by people who live in bubbles,” he says. “Chai Chuah became obsessed with technology and over time lost perspective. Technology is an enabler, not a driver of change.”
He says the new Director-General needs to bring the Ministry back into the real world of the public health sector. The Health Ministry and health workforce need to be aligned, not on different planets.
“There are major, ongoing challenges which need urgent attention, including under-funded, the poor leadership culture evident among health bosses, and longstanding specialist workforce shortages.”