Auckland DHBs expanding shared services collaboration

Boards will remain separate; non-clinical services to be shared; New organisation seeks IS general manager

The three district health boards in Auckland and the Northland district health board are merging their non-clinical services into one organisation, to be known as healthAlliance New Zealand Ltd, but the boards themselves are not merging, contrary to an earlier report on the Computerworld website. The merger covers healthAlliance, the shared services organisation for the Waitemata and Counties Manukau District Health Boards; the Auckland District Health Board; and the Northland District Health Board. The three member DHBs all currently have CIOs, but HealthAlliance New Zealand Ltd advertised the position of general manager, information services over the weekend. The job description states: "As General Manager Information Services, you will report directly to the CEO and lead a team of approximately 200 staff." The IS general manager's job description includes stablishing and leading shared IS for the customer DHBs; reviewing and developing existing shared services arrangements; and identifying opportunities for collaboraton. The shared services operation is the latest large scale public sector merger following the creation of the Auckland Supercity.

Barry Vryenhoek has been appointed as the new chief executive of the organisation and will start his role on March 14.

Vryenhoek has held several corporate services and operations leadership roles with the NZ Army, where he is currently General Manager of Corporate Support and Chief Financial Officer (Army).

The support functions provided by the new healthAlliance will be for non-clinical services namely procurement and supply chain, finance, information services, staff service centre (payroll processing), business solutions and the Auckland Regional Internal Audit Service, according to Michelle Noakes, business communications specialist at healthAlliance.

The three are listed in the MIS100 report on the top IT using organisations in New Zealand. According to the 2010 report, the screen numbers for each of the organisations are 7894 for healthAlliance; 6410 for the Auckland District Health Board; and 2942 for the Northland District Health Board. The figures include all desktops, laptops, servers, terminals, thin clients and smart phones that are centrally supported. When planning began for the merger, the new entity was initially referred to as the Northern Region Shared Services Organisation.

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