Dr. Nigel Murray came to Fraser Health from New Zealand. He's resigned to return there

CEO leaves Fraser Health as big changes loom

Dr. Nigel Murray cites family reasons for return to New Zealand

Dr. Nigel Murray has stepped down as president and CEO of Fraser Health amid an extensive review that is expected to soon bring significant changes to the health region.

Murray served as the top administrator at Fraser for seven years and cited family reasons for returning to New Zealand, where he is in the running for a similar job.

No severance will be paid out because he’s resigning.

Dr. David Ostrow, the former CEO of Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, takes over as interim CEO of Fraser Health.

The announcement is the latest shakeup at Fraser, where the former board chair David Mitchell was removed in April by the provincial government.

The board has since been chaired by Wynne Powell, the longtime board chair of the Provincial Health Services Authority who also chairs B.C. Emergency Services.

Powell said the strategic review committee is finalizing its recommendations for improvements at Fraser.

He wouldn’t reveal details of the findings but suggested they point mainly to smarter use of Fraser’s budget allocation.

“The conclusion they came to is funding is not the major issue,” Powell said.

“It’s not just about change, it’s about helping drive better results and better outcomes. We’ve got to find a way to use the facilities in the best manner possible.”

Powell said he thinks there are opportunities for improvement in community care and long-term care in particular.

“There’s definitely got to be a refocusing of some of the moneys to help the system.”

Health Minister Terry Lake announced the review last fall in response to Fraser’s repeated failure to stay within its budget each year.

Lake at that time said the review could explore a redrawing of health authority boundaries.

Asked if Lower Mainland health authorities will be amalgamated now that Fraser is without a permanent CEO and board chair, Powell said he’s heard “that rumour” but has seen nothing to substantiate it.

Fraser and Vancouver Coastal already jointly procure various services and supplies to save money.

Powell also responded to criticism that the detailed findings of the review team won’t be released, but will instead be summarized within a new three-year strategic plan for Fraser.

He said the working papers of the committee are too complex for their public release to be helpful.

“It’s not a matter of them being hidden, it’s a matter of making sure they’re interpreted correctly,” he said.

During Murray’s seven years at Fraser, the health region’s budget climbed nearly 50 per cent, from $2.1 billion to $3.1 billion.

Even with the increase, local hospitals remain heavily congested and there’s been steady criticism that Fraser gets a lower per capita share of health funding compared to other regions.

Powell said it’s difficult to compare budgets of different health regions, because they perform different tasks.

He said the Vancouver Coastal and Provincial Health Services authorities spend enormous amounts on academic work and research that’s “essential” to improving health care and finding efficiencies.

Just Posted

Elementary b-ball teams receive surprise game visit from ACSS Totems

Two grade 5 co-ed basketball teams were cheered on by players from the highschool Totems team.

Betty Gilbert b-ball boys defeat HD Stafford 38-28

Betty Gilbert’s grade 6 boys opened basketball season with a win against HD Stafford Tuesday.

Langley teams headed to upcoming basketball provincials

Teams from around B.C. converge on the Langley Events Centre for provincial tournaments.

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

Kodiaks up 3-1 in playoff series

The Kodiaks lost against the Ice Hawks Tuesday but have taken the lead in Wednesday’s home game.

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Man wanted for sex trafficking, confinement may be heading to B.C.

Kevin Myrthil, 26, is also accused of assault on a 19-year-old woman at an Edmonton hotel

VIDEO: ‘Heroes’ rescue teen trapped in car in Fraser Valley ditch

Two men sprang into action, holding 17-year-old’s head out of water as they pried open door

B.C. Speaker Darryl Plecas resumes battle with suspended staff

Committee meets at B.C. legislature to consider new allegations

Northern B.C. train derailment due to broken axle could happen again: TSB

CN coal train derailment caused by broken axle can happen again without a different way to inspect

Former B.C. fire chief sues his city after termination

Keith Green’s civil claim says that he believes he was wrongfully terminated

B.C. man injured in police shooting now in wheelchair

“Shots were fired by police and the Kelowna man was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.”

Peter Tork, Monkees’ lovable bass-guitar player, dies at 77

Tork, Micky Dolenz, David Jones and Michael Nesmith formed the made-for-television rock band

Most Read