Wellington Scoop

Six health board candidates “stood out” in survey, says association

News from PHA
A scorecard rating the Capital and Coast DHB candidates was released last night by the Wellington branch of the Public Health Association. Voting is now open in the local body elections, allowing residents to vote for elected DHB representatives for the coming term, as well as local government candidates.

“Health touches all of us, and the DHB is under pressure to cut costs, so voting for competent DHB candidates who will make wise decisions is vital,” says Jude Ball, Chair of the Wellington branch. “The DHB candidate profiles in the election handbook give voters little to go on, so the Association has provided our own evaluation, based on a survey of candidates.”

“It’s great to see that out of the 20 candidates, there are some extremely experienced and competent individuals standing,” says Ms Ball.

“Based on our assessment of their survey responses, six candidates stood out as being particularly strong: Eileen Brown, Grant Brookes, Roger Blakeley, Fran Wilde, Ian Scott and Sue Driver. All of them have extensive relevant experience and knowledge. They understand that health is not just about hospitals, and they prioritised preventive health measures including support for water fluoridation, in the survey.

“Eileen Brown and Grant Brookes are both particularly strong on equity, and emphasised the importance of improving outcomes for disadvantaged groups. Both have a nursing background.

“The strongest candidates in terms of governance experience are Fran Wilde and Roger Blakeley. Although neither of them has health sector experience, they demonstrated a good understanding of the issues and put a strong emphasis on prevention, as did Ian Scott and Sue Driver.”

The scorecard rates candidates on their governance and health sector knowledge and experience, and their alignment with Public Health Association policies in three key areas: water fluoridation, population health and equity. “The ratings give a sense of the candidates’ alignment with Public Health Association policies and values. The PHA is about promoting good health for everyone, based on evidence-informed public policy, and easy access to appropriate services, regardless of income or ethnicity,” says Ms Ball.

“We acknowledge there are limitations to scoring candidates’ positions based only on survey results, especially for complex issues like equity. But, given the lack of information and debate about the DHB election, we hope this might be a conversation starter.”

“Our scorecard rates candidates on the issues that are important to us as an organization, but we have published candidates’ full survey results on our website so that voters can see what candidates have to say on other issues that might be important to them, for example mental health care or the living wage.”

The scorecard, with details about how the scores were calculated, and the candidates’ survey answers in full are available on the Public Health Association website www.pha.org.nz

The scorecard was released following a ‘meet the Capital and Coast DHB candidates’ event, hosted by the Public Health Association. The meeting was well attended, with 15 out of the 20 DHB candidates present, and four giving apologies and providing a written statement. Questions from the audience focused on issues of fluoridation, mental health care, and the challenges faced by the DHB.

Candidates talked the need for more funding, and many promised to advocate strongly to the Minister, if elected, to increase the DHB’s budget. Several candidates spoke convincingly of the importance of community engagement, and the need for a strong focus on prevention, including two long-standing DHB members who are standing for re-election, Sue Kedgely and Helene Ritchie. Porirua’s Deputy Mayor, Ana Coffey, talked of the need for a community voice at the DHB table, and said she would represent Porirua, if elected.

The Public Health Association is a voluntary organisation whose goal is to improve the health of all New Zealanders by promoting public health and influencing public policy. The Wellington branch has about 70 members who work in research, policy, health promotion, and in front line roles in health and social services.

Attachments (also available at www.pha.org.nz):

1. The scorecard

2. Process and criteria for scoring candidates

3. Candidates’ survey responses in full

1 comment:

  1. lola, 22. September 2016, 7:45

    Propaganda. The real health outcomes, not those published by the govt, speak for themselves.