Southern DHB commissioner called in to cut costs gets pay increase - to $1400 a day

The Government-appointed commissioner at the Southern District Health Board has had her pay boosted to $1400 a day because the cost-cutting measures she'll embark on put her personal and professional reputation at risk.

Kathy Grant's pay was boosted to $1400 per day because cost cutting measures put her reputation at risk. Source: 1 NEWS

The Health Minister sacked Southern DHB members last month following revelations it was facing a $42 million deficit. 

Kathy Grant has been appointed commissioner until 2016 and will receive $1400 a day to get the health board back in the black.

"This is not a quick fix," she says.

Official pay documents obtained by ONE News show her pay is $330 a day more than similar government-appointed commissioners get. 

The documents say the Health Minister argued for extra money after officials told him the personal risk to Mrs Grant's reputation is high because improving the DHB's finances in a short period will ultimately impact her own professional standing.  

Labour's health spokeswoman, Annette King, says the documents send a signal.  

"The paper that has been released implies there is going to need to be a hard look at what services remain in Otago," Ms King says. 

Mrs Grant's pay has been capped at $180,000 a year, effectively restricting her to working between two and three days a week. 

She couldn't be reached for comment about what cuts may be looming, and the Health Minister referred questions about her pay to the ministry.

It confirmed the pay bump was because "there is heightened public expectation and scrutiny of Mrs Grant's ability to improve the DHB's financial position".

Ms King says she'd imagine neuro surgery is "back on the block" at the DHB.

"They've lost their accreditation for orthopedics and their accreditation for intensive care training," she adds.