Capital & Coast and Hutt Valley DHBs announced today that they have voted to replace its two interim chief executives with a single chief executive covering the Wellington region.

The two DHBs already work closely together and have a single chair and there has been speculation about mergers on and off for years, but a spokesperson said there were definitely no merger plans on the cards.

The DHBs said in a statement that the appointment of a single chief executive would support the DHBs to better support health service planning across the wider Wellington region from Kapiti to  the Hutt Valley.

“This is about both boards being clear in the vision they want – a unified health service across the region that provides better and fairer access to the same excellent healthcare services,” said joint DHB Chair Andrew Blair.

He said following the boards’ decision there would now be an opportunity for staff and key stakeholders across the two DHBs to discuss how best to ensure a smooth adjustment and transition to a single CE model.

“To a large degree the process is underway,” said Blair. “The two interim chief executives – Julie Patterson at CCDHB, and Dale Oliff at HVDHB – will work with senior leadership at both DHBs and the Boards to help pave the way while a single chief executive is appointed.”

There has been a reshuffle of interim CEOs across the region since former CCDHB chief executive Debbie Chin resigned in July 2017 and left the role in December that year when the former Hutt Valley DHB CEO Dr Ashley Bloomfield stepped in. At the time, Blair said recruitment was well advanced for the new CCDHB chief executive and Bloomfield was not an applicant. When Bloomfield left in June to take up the Ministry of Health Director General role, the former Whanganui DHB chief executive Julie Patterson became interim chief executive of CCDHB.

Hutt Valley DHB’s chief operating officer Dale Oliff has been in the role of interim chief executive since December last year.

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