Charters was only short-term posting, says health minister

Mark Charters, former health department chief executive

Mark Charters, former health department chief executive

Have your say

The Health Minister insists that the appointment of his now departed chief executive was always only meant to be a two to three-year posting.

Mark Charters announced he was stepping down due to ‘personal reasons’ after less than a year as the boss of the Manx NHS.

Health Minister Howard Quayle

Health Minister Howard Quayle

He had been spearheading a new strategy of integrated health care, based on a model pioneered at the Canterbury District Health Board in New Zealand.

Mr Charters has been replaced by former Treasury chief financial officer Dr Malcolm Couch, who took up his new role on Monday.

Howard Quayle told iomtoday: ‘Mark left for personal reasons.

‘His position was only likely to have been a two or three year appointment anyway. He was brought in for his foresight and looking into the future.’

New health chief executive Malcolm Couch

New health chief executive Malcolm Couch

He added: ‘At the end of the day the department has 2,800 people working for it. It’s not all about one person.

‘It’s about having a good team around you and I do.’

Dr Couch graduated in medicine from the University of Sheffield in 1988 and also has bachelor and doctorate degrees in medical science.

He was appointed as chief financial officer in April 2013 after serving as the Isle of Man’s assessor of income tax for eight years. Dr Couch has played a key role in the development of the island’s international reputation, as well as leading Government’s efforts to rebalance public finances.

The Health Minister described Dr Couch as an ‘excellent replacement’ who ‘should be able to hit the ground running’.

One of the reasons why Mr Quayle asked him to take on the role was because for the last few months, he has been looking for new financial structures for the department.

‘He’s been very keen and interested in the integrated healthcare model,’ he said.

There was a radical shake-up of the department last year when three top bosses left on the same day.

Chief executive David Killip, his deputy Lesley Keenan and director of health care delivery Norman McGregor Edwards all retired at the end of March last year.

When asked whether management changes were being made too quickly, Mr Quayle insisted: ‘The department needed freshening up when I took over.’

He said that since then, some staff appointments had been of people with ‘outstanding pedigree’.

And he said that one of the reasons for that, was they were attracted by the changes being made to the Manx NHS.

Mr Quayle said that he was pleased with what had already been achieved by his department. But he said there was much work still to be done.

‘Department waiting lists have gone down 10 per cent since I took over,’ he said.

‘It’s not where I want to be but it’s a step in the right direction.

‘All that’s been achieved with no additional funding. The reduction has purely been by becoming more efficient and ploughing savings into waiting lists. ‘I still want significant improvements. That’s what I’ve tasked the management team with.

Back to the top of the page