9 November 2001 Media Statement
Appointment of Principal Medical Advisor
Health Minister Annette King says the Ministry of Health will shortly advertise a new position, the Principal Medical
Speaking at today’s Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) annual conference in Wellington, Mrs King said
the position would be available for a senior clinician on secondment from a district health board.
“The successful applicant will be directly responsible to the director-general, with a personal reporting line to me,
and will become an ex officio member of the director-general’s executive team.”
Mrs King said she learned of the concept in conversation with the Australian Minister of Health. “I could see how
valuable the position could be both to the Ministry and to me. The director-general, Karen Poutasi, enthusiastically
supports the concept, and from informal consultation I have done within the health sector there has been considerable
backing for this innovation too.
“One crucial role of the new position will be to provide an independent clinical interface between the Minister, the
Ministry and DHBs. The person can act as my agent, or the director-general’s agent, in managing or investigating
identified and significant clinical issues.
“If, for example, there appears to be a difficulty in terms of surgical capacity at a particular hospital, or people are
waiting significantly longer for certain procedures in one part of the country than they are in another, then the
Principal Medical Advisor is the person who can go to the hospital concerned, discover precisely what the problems are,
and what solutions may be needed.
“The Principal Medical Advisor will provide a clear insight, unburdened by other administrative responsibilities and
unburdened by other loyalties.”