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Who is on the big pay at the DHB?


Big-money salaries on the increase

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The cash-strapped Wairarapa District Health Board has gone from having one person earning from $330,001 to $340,000 in 2017 to having six earning that level or more a year later.

The rundown of employee remuneration on page 77 of the annual report for the year to June 30, 2018, published on December 5, is turning a few heads.

In 2018 there was one person being paid in the band from $330,001 to $340,000, one from $350,001 to $360,000, one from $380,001 to $390,000, one from $450,000 to $460,000 and two were earning $460,001 to $470,000.

A year earlier, there was just one person on $330,001 to $340,000 and none above that.

Who are they? The DHB won’t say.

Chief executive Adri Isbister was paid from $330,000 to $339,999 in the year to June 30, 2018, according to a rundown of pay by the State Services Commission. That was up from $320,000 to $329,999 a year earlier but it is a lot less that other DHB chief executives.

Isbister has resigned to take on the role of deputy director general, disability in the Ministry of Health and takes up the new role at the end of March.

At Wairarapa DHB 62 people were paid above $100,000 in 2018, a big jump from 53 in 2017.

But it’s a modest number compared with Capital & Coast District Health Board with 856 people earning more than $100,000 a year of whom 527 are medical or dental employees.

Lower Hutt District Health Board had 251 people being paid more than $100,000 a year.

Wairarapa DHB isn’t providing a breakdown of clinical compared with non-clinical salaries.

Senior clinicians on the multi-employer collective agreement are paid a base rate of about $100 an hour, which translates to more than $200,000 a year based on a 40-hour week and they receive payments for being on call.

That would seem to be well short of the top levels of pay in the annual report.

Wairarapa DHB is known to employ a lot of locums who generally earn higher pay.

By way of comparison Masterton District Council had seven employees being paid $100,000 to $139,999 and six being paid from $140,000 to $239,999 in 2017.

Capital & Coast’s highest paid person was in the band from $610,000 to $620,000. The year before Debbie Chin left as chief executive on pay from $540,000 to $549,999.

Wairarapa DHB is among several DHBs to get a letter expressing disappointment at their financial position from Health Minister David Clark. He said DHBs last year had the largest boost of funding in 10 years so their finances should be improving, not deteriorating.

Senior Medical Officers at Wairarapa DHB are believed to have raised the issue of funding with chairman Sir Paul Collins, arguing the DHB isn’t as well funded compared with some other regional DHBs.

The fees for the Wairarapa DHB board totalled $215,897 in 2018, up from $208,088 in 2017, but this was less than Capital & Coast.

Generally, personnel costs are rising at Wairarapa DHB. A note to the accounts says salaries and wages in total were $43.228 million in 2018, up from $40.685m in 2017. Since then, there have been several pay settlements which will likely raise personnel costs.

Wairarapa DHB reported a deficit of $5.557 million in the six months to December 31, which is $781,000 bigger than budgeted.


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