Health Minister Dr David Clark has appointed a Crown Monitor to support Canterbury DHB and ensure that Cantabrians continue to have high quality, sustainable health services.
"I expect DHBs to improve their financial positions and to demonstrate they have a pathway to maintain financial sustainability," says Dr Clark.
"Canterbury has the largest deficit of any DHB in the country, forecasting to end the 2018/19 financial year with a deficit of $103.4 million and increasing in future years. That's not sustainable, and it's why I haven't approved this year's annual plan.
"Clearly there have been unique health challenges in Canterbury, including the aftermath of earthquakes and the terror attack, which the DHB has handled superbly.
"Christchurch Hospital campus also has capital redevelopment needs. The DHB and the Ministry of Health have been working hard on a masterplan and business case.
"This will need a significant investment from the Government, and the DHB must be in a financial position to support this work."
Dr Lester Levy has been appointed as Crown Monitor, starting immediately.
"I've asked Dr Levy to bring his considerable experience to the Board table, to strengthen performance and planning, and maintain direct communication with Government," Dr Clark said.
Dr Levy was previously Chair of Waitemata, Auckland, and Counties Manukau DHBs. A Crown Monitor has already been put in place at Waikato and Counties Manukau DHBs.
The Wellbeing Budget provided $80.5 million more per year in operating funding for Canterbury DHB. Canterbury is also one of four DHBs that will be part of the next phase of the national bowel cancer screening programme.
Under the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act, the Minister can appoint a Crown Monitor to assist a DHB improve its performance.
A Crown Monitor can attend DHB Board meetings and have access to all documentation provided to the Board.
A Crown Monitor observes the Board's decision-making, conveys the policies of the Government so they can be reflected in Board decisions, and advises the Minister on any matters relating to the DHB.
Dr Lester Levy biography:
Dr Levy is an experienced director and health executive. He is currently the Chair of Auckland Transport and the Health Research Council.
He has previously held roles on the Ministerial Advisory Group for Health and as Chair of Auckland, Waitemata and Counties Manukau DHBs.
He is Professor of Digital Health Leadership at the Auckland University of Technology, the Independent Chair of Tonkin + Taylor, and a number of other smaller private entities.
He was previously the Chief Executive of South Auckland Health (now Counties Manukau DHB), New Zealand Blood Service and the Mercy Ascot Hospital Group.
Dr Levy was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to health and education and has received a King's Fund International Fellowship.
He was nominated as one of the three finalists at the 2016 Deloitte Top 200 Business Awards for the Excellence in Governance award.
Dr Levy has a Master of Business Administration, as well as a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.