Interim CEO, new lead for hospital build selected

Mike Barns
Mike Barns
The Dunedin Hospital project has a new programme director after the elevation of its former leader to a new national role.

Mike Barns, who has overseen initial design and consenting applications on behalf of the Ministry of Health, has been appointed to a role overseeing hospital developments nationwide.

As well as the new Dunedin Hospital, last week’s Budget confirmed government funding for building work at Whangarei, Nelson and Hillmorton hospitals.

Substantial funding is also available for capital works for mental health facilities, and the ministry has confirmed it expected to need to do work to either repair or replace facilities at Wakari Hospital.

"Having set the project up for success and creating many forms of innovation, Mike Barns has been asked to help provide leadership for the Regional Hospital Redevelopment Programme," a ministry spokesman said.

"The Ministry of Health and Health New Zealand are keen to ensure that the strategic advances Mike has brought to the new Dunedin Hospital are made available to the range of upcoming capital works projects."

Mr Barns has been replaced by Tony Lloyd as programme director for the new Dunedin Hospital.

Mr Lloyd has a construction background, and was involved with building work at Greymouth Hospital, Burwood, and the Christchurch Hospital acute services building, Waipapa.

The ministry spokesman said piling work had started on site last week and that the change in programme director was not expected to change the project’s timeline.

Meanwhile, Southern District Health Board general manager Hamish Brown has been named interim chief executive of the soon-to-be-disbanded organisation.

Mr Brown, a former emergency nurse who led the successful roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine in Otago and Southland before joining the SDHB full-time, replaces current chief executive Chris Fleming, who is leaving his role on June 30.

Mr Brown’s position will be for an initial period of three months, during which time the board structures will be replaced by those of the new centralised health agencies Health New Zealand and the Maori Health Authority.

"Mr Brown brings a wealth of knowledge of our health system, staff, and community to the interim chief executive role," Mr Fleming said.

"His leadership experience, strategic thinking, empathy and relationship building skills suit the Southern DHB well in our transition to Health NZ."

Mr Fleming expected the change to the system would be a smooth one in the South.

"I believe the transition to Health NZ will be exciting and strengthen the healthcare system for all New Zealanders.

"Mr Brown will provide experienced leadership to navigate the southern region through the changes.”

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