Northland District Health Board CEO Nick Chamberlain has spent the third highest of all DHB bosses nationally on travel, training and meetings in three years.

Northland District Health Board CEO Nick Chamberlain has spent $119,487 of taxpayers’ money on travel, training and meetings in three years – the third highest of all 20 DHB bosses.

Only Waikato DHB boss Nigel Murray, who resigned earlier this year partly because of his huge expense expenditure ($218,166) and Lakes DHB boss Ron Durham ($124,335) have spent more. All up the 20 DHB CEOs spent almost $1.2 million between them over the three-year period.

In a response to the expenses NDHB said over and above his CEO role in Northland Dr Chamberlain has held two of the largest chief executive national portfolios for the past three years.

He is the lead chief executive of the Primary Care Steering Group and is the northern region lead for the Employment Relations Strategy Group and has been heavily involved in a number of national employer/ employee negotiations.

Dr Chamberlain was chosen for these lead national roles because of his experience as a general practitioner (Primary Care Steering Group ) and his ability to negotiate with his peers.

In addition to this, Dr Chamberlain is the chief executive representative for the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists National Joint Consultative Committee and the National Resident Medical Officer Engagement Group.

”The chief executive post, along with the additional national responsibilities, requires frequent travel (up to weekly) to Wellington. Dr Chamberlain will whenever possible utilise video conferencing however he is often required in person at the meetings,” The NDHB statement said.

”With only one provider the two Air New Zealand flights each way from Whangarei are not only expensive, the scheduling until recently often resulted in one or two nights’ accommodation required in Wellington to attend full day meetings.”

The DHB said $12,161.55 of the total expenses relates to Dr Chamberlain maintaining his medical and vocational registration, such as an annual practice certificate and college subscriptions. While these are not a requirement of being a DHB CEO, it said it is an advantage that Dr Chamberlain is a doctor given the DHB’s core business.

Dr Chamberlain holds vocational registration in two specialities and professional development requirements include attendance at conferences, courses. He is also required to have a peer group. Dr Chamberlain’s Learning Set is one of his peer groups and comprises six chief executives and two director Generals of Health.

”The Learning Set provides Dr Chamberlain with the opportunity to learn and develop core competencies from a wide range of professionals which not only benefits Northland DHB it also enhances his capability at a national level. All of these expenses are approved by the Board Chair, declared to the State Services Commission and are published on our website,” NDHB said.

Minister of Health David Clark said he wanted evidence the spending of the CEOs was worthwhile.

Source: Northern Advocate

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